WASHINGTON – The compliance technology company Trace International has launched what it bills as the first global, commercial beneficial ownership registry.
The creation of the database comes after the Treasury Department's issuance earlier this month of a long-awaited rule that will require banks to determine the main principals of companies opening an account. It also coincides with the recent release of a second data dump in the Panama Papers, a document leak that implicated the law firm Mossack Fonseca in a web of global tax evasion schemes.
"After the Panama Papers broke we realized we needed to provide companies with a way to make this information available to the public, if they chose to," Alexandra Wrage, the president and founder of Trace International, said in a press release Wednesday. "While some countries are establishing their own national registries or advocating for their development, TRACEpublic is the only global registry and allows companies to voluntarily distance themselves from the reputational stigma of secret companies."
Trace's registry will allow companies to input their beneficial ownership information in a database. And with just the name of a company or owner, others will be able to search through the data.
"Although identifying the beneficial owners of third party intermediaries, joint venture partners, distributers, suppliers and agents is a basic due diligence requirement, in most countries this information cannot be easily obtained," the press release says. "Calls for greater transparency and full disclosure underscore the need for a global registry of beneficial ownership."