10 reasons why KYC professionals rely on OpenCorporates

Millions of OpenCorporates company datapoints are utilised every month – either for free via our open website or at scale via our paid-for API and Bulk Data subscriptions.

Many of those using the data are professionals working in: Know Your Customer (KYC), third party risk management, business onboarding or similar compliance related roles.

Their challenge is to understand their prospective customers, suppliers or other third parties quickly (particularly at the legal entity level) – to root out bad actors, maintain the integrity of the financial system and protect their organisation from risk.

So why do KYC professionals rely on our White Box company data? And why on our recent webinar was OpenCorporates described by one of our API clients as “almost always the first stop when you are doing research on a company”? 

This blog post outlines 10 reasons why.

1. Openly available

Whilst our data is available on a commercial basis at scale, it is all openly available on our website to anyone who needs to search record-by-record. Many KYC professionals first start using our data in this way. Open access like this contributes to a trusted business environment without excluding those who cannot afford access. 

It also makes our data even better. The many eyes who look at the data every day can identify potential anomalies – creating strong data-quality feedback loops stretching to official registries and then back to our dataset. 

But we’re not happy sitting still either. We actively campaign about the need for access to high quality open company data around the world – so everybody benefits. For example: we’ve fought hard for the PSI Directive to be implemented fully, so everybody in the EU benefits from open company data.

2. Provenance: We tell you when & where data was collected from – so you can use it confidently

96% of attendees in the same webinar said it was important to know when and from where the company data they use to make risk-based decisions was collected from. If you know when and from where company data was collected, you can make more informed decisions about how to use it – and can change your processes accordingly. OpenCorporates provides full provenance for all our company datapoints. Unlike us, most traditional company data providers do not tell you the provenance of their data – leaving you in the dark.

3. Multi-jurisdictional insight – in one place

Today, OpenCorporates covers 140 jurisdictions’ worth of company data in one place. This means you can search across data from all those jurisdictions’ company registries at once. If you do not know where a legal entity is registered, or if you are looking to uncover related entities in other jurisdictions to the one you searched for – then this cross-jurisdictional insight is invaluable, particularly in regions such as the US where there is one registry per state.

4. Search in ways not possible elsewhere

Unlike many company registers, you can for example query our data for:

  • Officers:
    Useful if you’re trying to identify if a person holds an officer role with other companies.

  • Registered company address:
    Revealing other companies registered at a particular address. 

Veteran investigator Graham Barrow’s masterclass on how to use OpenCorporates’ data to investigate companies illustrates how useful some of these searching capabilities can be. One of Graham’s recent investigations also specifically utilised the ability to search the OpenCorporates database by the registered address of companies.

5. Saves you time

Whilst there is always a time and place for manually consulting a company registry to double check information, OpenCorporates’ global coverage means KYC analysts don’t need to consult many different registers in turn when starting their research. Instead, they can aggregate information from around the world in one place – negating lots of manual effort. Plus given we provide data provenance – including links back to the original registry – tracing back to the official record is easy.

6. High quality data

OpenCorporates’ data comes exclusively from official sources. As a result, the data is more reliable than that collected by many traditional business information companies, whose Black Box data business model is premised on data collected from a range of unreliable sources – often including data bought from other providers, resulting in data quality issues that can perpetuate. 

7. Easy to use and understand

Each country’s company registry has a different approach to: the data they make available, what they name each datapoint and what each means – which can take time to decode even if you leave aside the language barrier. We’ve done the difficult job of digging into all of this and standardising the data we offer in a single global schema so it’s easy to understand and use.

8. Due diligence can scale

Our API and Bulk Data provide structured company data that you can utilise programmatically to power automated workflows time after time. This is ideal for integrating into a company’s client lifecycle management system, or to use when building a RegTech tool. For example, our API helps Encompass to automate KYC due diligence.

9. Proven impact

Users of our data can have confidence that the data also has social utility and has been used to fuel some of the world’s most high-profile investigations. For example, Global Witness used our data to investigate corruption in Myanmar’s multi-million dollar jade industry, and more recently the data has been used to investigate alleged fraud amongst covid-relief loans for small businesses in the US.

10. Innovation gets a head start 

RegTechs, financial services firms and government agencies are increasingly adopting technology to aid their anti-financial crime activities. Our data enables organisations to start experimenting with and adopting new technology solutions quicker, as you can skip the step of collating and standardising legal entity data from across the world, because we’ve already done the hard work for you. The way FNA uses our Bulk Data to power their network analytics platform is an illustrative example of this.

Need access to company data for KYC?

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