Governments and regulators are releasing huge amounts of data. Collecting, publishing & linking it to company data will give us the global picture of the finance sector.
We believe there is a social contract between citizens (represented by the state) and companies. The state permits companies to carry out activities like banking or debt collection; in return, these companies agree to meet certain standards of behaviour: for example, only lending to people who can afford the debt, or backing their promises with a certain amount of assets.
This social contract is backed up by legislation, and the legislation usually includes reporting obligations. But there's not always funds or political will to follow up on these reports. The result? A mountain of data, collected as a legal duty, which usually languishes forever in the archives.
OpenCorporates' mission is to bring this data into the open. This is a gargantuan task, so we thought we'd start with a single step: gather data about which companies are permitted to carry out what financial activities, where. It will be, to our knowledge, the first time anyone has attempted anything like this.
Collecting and examining this data could answer questions like:
- Which countries have the highest concentration of debt collection agencies?
- Which countries have the most financial services outsourced to them?
- Which banking networks are licenced to operate in the largest number of countries?
- Which non-banking corporate networks appear to operate the most like banks?