1. Home
  2. Media centre
  3. ONE responds to UK Government announcement on company ownership transparency

ONE responds to UK Government announcement on company ownership transparency

The UK Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has today announced new measures to improve the transparency of who really owns and controls UK companies.

Welcoming confirmation that the Government is to proceed with an open, publicly available register of beneficial ownership, Diane Sheard, UK Director at ONE said:

“The UK’s introduction of a public register of who owns and controls companies is a major step forward in the fight against corruption.  Until now, a veil of secrecy has made it possible for money to be siphoned across borders, robbing poor countries of their own resources that could be spent on lifesaving health interventions, education or vital infrastructure.

“Vince Cable has shown that the Government is keeping its G8 promises. However, if this legislation is to be effective, the UK needs to act now to introduce the same level of transparency for trusts. Otherwise we are closing the door to corruption while leaving a window wide open.

“The UK Government should work closely with other EU Member States to ensure that the current revision to the EU’s Anti-Money Laundering Directive includes public registers of who owns companies, trusts and similar legal vehicles.”

Notes to editors

1. ONE is campaigning for the UK Government to commit to make information about who owns and controls companies, trusts and similar legal vehicles established in the UK, its Crown Dependencies and Overseas Territories, public. ONE’s brief on why we are calling for action to tackle phantom firms is available here.

2. Making information public about who owns and controls companies and trusts will:

  • Give citizens and journalists in developing countries access to the data they need to follow the money and root out corruption;
  • Help to improve data quality by enabling more people to scrutinise the data, and identify, check and correct inaccuracies;
  • Enable banks and other financial institutions to perform due diligence more effectively;
  • Ensure that businesses know who they are doing business with; and
  • Contribute to more effective law enforcement – investigations, prosecutions and the return of stolen assets.

3. More than 100 ONE members submitted their own views as part of BIS’s consultation in October 2013.

4. Almost 75,000 people have signed our petition that calls on European leaders to pass robust transparency rules on company and trust ownership at part of the EU Anti-Money Laundering Directive, currently under negotiation in Brussels.

5.  About ONE – ONE is a campaigning and advocacy organisation of more than 3.5 million people taking action to end extreme poverty and preventable disease, particularly in Africa. Cofounded by Bono and strictly nonpartisan, we raise public awareness and work with political leaders to combat AIDS and preventable diseases, increase investments in agriculture and nutrition, and demand greater transparency in poverty-fighting programmes. ONE is not a grant-making organisation and does not solicit funding from the public or receive government funding. ONE is funded almost entirely by a handful of philanthropists and foundations. We achieve change through advocacy. Our teams in London, Washington DC, Johannesburg, Brussels, Berlin and Paris educate and lobby governments to shape policy solutions that save and improve millions of lives. To learn more, go to ONE.org.