Contributing to the Global Economy

Approaches to Beneficial Ownership Transparency: The Global Framework and Views from the Accountancy Profession

IFAC & CPA CAnada | May 26, 2020


The fight against financial crime is too important not to get it right.

Timely access to accurate beneficial ownership information plays a critical role for law enforcement and other authorities in identifying, preventing and prosecuting money laundering, terrorist financing and tax evasion, among other financial crimes. Jurisdictions around the world are examining the extent to which, how, and by whom, beneficial ownership information is collected, centralized, reviewed and published, consistent with global standards.

This report seeks to ground the discussion with evidence-based and practical perspectives, including those of professional accountants who are engaged with beneficial ownership information. It reviews how existing and new models for registries are meeting international standards and reflecting the evolving landscape.

Through this research, we hope to inform the discussions in many jurisdictions as they assess effective approaches to the transparency of beneficial ownership information.

The global accountancy profession, with its strong public interest mandate, is a committed partner in the fight against financial crime. IFAC and CPA Canada are eager to continue to demonstrate how the profession, working alongside government, law enforcement and other stakeholders, can best work to combat money laundering and other financial crimes.


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"The global accountancy profession, with its strong public interest mandate, is a committed partner in the fight against financial crime."

– Kevin Dancey, CEO, IFAC

"Enhancing the transparency of beneficial ownership information should strengthen anti-money laundering regimes and help in seeking out lawbreakers and their proceeds of crime."

– Joy Thomas, President & CEO, CPA Canada


Accountants routinely interact with beneficial ownership information as part of their day-to-day activities. This makes the legal framework around beneficial ownership information of direct relevance to the accountancy profession.

The global accountancy profession supports initiatives to increase the transparency of beneficial ownership for entities and legal arrangements in a way that enables competent authorities to determine beneficial ownership in a timely manner.

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