ILP Lab calls for more openness of data in the UBO-register

The ILP Lab has published a report about the parameters of disclosing data as open data in the UBO-register, whilst respecting the privacy, personal integrity and other legitimate interests, including potential security risks, of persons recorded in the register. The UBO-register is the register for Ultimate Beneficial Owners (UBO) that must be established pursuant to the 4th EU Anti-Money Laundering Directive (Directive (EU) 2015/849). This Directive aims to combat financial and economic crime by creating transparency about the UBOs of a company.

The report argues that to achieve the purpose of the EU Fourth Anti-Money Laundering Directive, it is more effective to establish the UBO-register without access restrictions, such as a paywall and registration duty, and with a possibility to search the register by name of the UBOs. This is also the viewpoint adopted by the United Kingdom and Denmark. The main argument against such an open register, namely that the privacy of UBOs is at stake, does not convince. UBOs who are in serious danger already have the right to have their information removed. Moreover, a paywall cannot guarantee the privacy of UBOs, because their data will still be accessible after a (small) payment. By contrast, eliminating such access restrictions will probably increase the efficiency of the register, as more people can access the information and check the data for accuracy and reliability. Once the register is open it will also be possible to link similar datasets with each other and detect irregularities, which serves the purpose of the Directive.

The report was written by Sjoerd Peters and Gonnie Smelting, in partnership with theĀ Open State Foundation. The report has been presented to several policymakers that are engaged in the Dutch implementation of the UBO register, including the Ministry of Finance, relevant people at the Dutch Chamber of Commerce and members of the Senate (Eerste Kamer) of the Dutch Parliament. The report has also been submitted to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), which places special importance to UBO transparency. You can download the report here.