The House of Finance has 15 fundamental Business Concepts


This article identifies and describes the fifteen most essential entities in the Financial Industry Business Data Model and their core relationships with each other. We propose to represent the business of Banking and Investment via these fundamental concepts, their specializations and relationship hierarchies.

For Data Architects the fundamental Business Concepts are the navigation into the data model and the means to convey the design to team-members and non-technical users.

For Ontologists new to the Financial Industry Business Ontology (FIBO) , the article provides top-down structural and business content view of the design.

The business concepts with their icons and the overview diagram are the central theme of FIB-DM training and education PowerPoints, Videos, and onsite classes. With Reference at the top the conceptual diagram looks like a house. This article discusses the considerations for declaring fundamental concepts and relationships.

This page is still work-in-progress. Please check the FIB-DM website or LinkedIn showcase for alert, once finalized.

FIB-DM / FIBO on one page

A diagram of the Financial Industry Business Data Model 15 fundamental concepts
The House of Finance with its 15 fundamental Business Concepts

For Data Architects (and Ontologists), this is a one-page diagram to introduce Business people to the ontology and its derived data model. The picture shows the most significant supertype entities, by the number of entity subtypes (rdfs:subClassOf), participation in associations and associative entities (rdfs:subPropertyOf), and subjective business significance.

I believe icons, rather than boxes help non-technical users to memorize, recognize, and internalize the concepts. The symbols in the diagram are the ultimate supertypes of the data model. In other words, entities that do not subtype to any other entity. In the FIBO these are classes that are a direct subclass of owl:Thing.

Definition of the fifteen concepts

The fifteen fundamental concepts are the Thing in Role (TIR), Reference (REF), Arrangement (ARR), Autonomous Agent (AA), Agreement (AGR), Commitment (COM), Document (DOC), Legal Construct (LC), Contractual Element (CE), Occurrence (OCC), Location (LOC), Service (SVC), Time (TI), Product (PRD), and Account (AC).

# Mnemonic Topic Description
1   The icon for the Thing in Role (TIR). FIBO Definition A thing-in-role is a relative concept that ties some thing to a role it plays in a given situational context.
  TIR Business Content The Thing in Roles (TIR) takes the center spot in the house of finance.
In retail banking and investment services, a person – one record in Autonomous Agent – can be a client of the Financial Institution (FI), and obligor, creditor, guarantor, beneficiary, investor party to agreements. Furthermore, a person as an employee of the FI can fulfill responsibilities like relationship manager, corporate officer, or internal auditor. The person may be an employee or agent for a relevant external entity regulating the FI or providing services. For Organizations and Legal Entities, the associations between Autonomous Agent and Thing in role becomes many-to-many. To prove financial services and to act as an agent, the FI creates many Legal Entities. Likewise, the legal entity may support several functional roles. The Thing in Role is not limited to Legal Persons and Organizations. A financial instrument, for example, can be Underlier for a derivative or constituent in a basket or index. The diagram shows the Reference referring to the Ting in Role, for example, with a customer or client ID. As a Regulatory Agency, the TIR governs a jurisdiction, subtype of Location. The Thing in Role has the identity of an Autonomous Agent; it issues documents. The Financial Institution provides Products and services and is a party to Agreements.
  Thing in Role FIB-DM Hierarchy With more than 270 subtype entities, the thing in Role forms the most extensive hierarchy in the Financial Industry Business Data Model.
  fibo-fnd-pty-rl:ThingInRole FIB-DM Associations  
2   FIBO Definition A concept that refers to (or stands in for) another concept.
  REF Business Content  
  Reference FIB-DM Hierarchy  
  fibo-fnd-rel-rel:Reference FIB-DM Associations  
3   FIBO Definition An organizing structure for something
  ARR Business Content  
  Arrangement FIB-DM Structure  
  fibo-fnd-arr-arr:Arrangement FIB-DM Associations  
4   FIBO Definition An agent is an autonomous individual that can adapt to and interact with its environment.
  AA Business Content  
  Autonomous Agent FIB-DM Structure  
  fibo-fnd-aap-agt:AutonomousAgent FIB-DM Associations  
5   FIBO Definition A negotiated and usually legally enforceable understanding between two or more legally competent parties.
  AGR Business Content  
  Agreement FIB-DM Structure  
  fibo-fnd-agr-agr:Agreement FIB-DM Associations  
6   FIBO Definition A legal construct which represents the undertaking on the part of some party to act or refrain from acting in some manner.
  COM Business Content  
  Commitment FIB-DM Structure  
  fibo-fnd-agr-agr:Commitment FIB-DM Associations  
7   FIBO Definition Something tangible that records something, such as a recording or a photograph, or writing that can be used to furnish evidence or information.
  DOC Business Content  
  Document FIB-DM Structure  
  fibo-fnd-arr-doc:Document FIB-DM Associations  
8   FIBO Definition Something which is conferred by way of law or contract, such as a right.
  LC Business Content  
  Legal Construct FIB-DM Structure  
  fibo-fnd-law-lcap:LegalConstruct FIB-DM Associations  
9   FIBO Definition General and special arrangements, provisions, requirements, rules, specifications, and standards that form an integral part of an agreement or contract.
  CE Business Content  
  Contractual Element FIB-DM Structure  
  fibo-fnd-agr-ctr:ContractualElement FIB-DM Associations  
10   FIBO Definition Instances of OccurrenceKind are types of events, each having a description. An Occurrence is a happening of an OccurrenceKind. Each Occurrence has a DateTimeStamp, which identifies when the Occurrence happened, and a Location (possibly virtual), that identifies where the Occurrence happened.
  OCC Business Content  
  Occurrence FIB-DM Structure  
  fibo-fnd-dt-oc:OccurrenceKind fibo-fnd-dt-oc:Occurrence FIB-DM Associations  
11   FIBO Definition Anything that can be defined as the answer to a question of the form, Where is…?
  LOC Business Content  
  Location FIB-DM Structure  
  fibo-fnd-plc-loc:Location FIB-DM Associations  
12   FIBO Definition A type of economic activity that is intangible is not stored and does not result in ownership; a service is consumed at the point of sale.
  SVC Business Content  
  Service FIB-DM Structure  
  fibo-fnd-pas-pas:Service FIB-DM Associations  
13   FIBO Definition Time Instant is a temporal entity that is a member of a time scale, with no extent or duration. Time Interval is a segment of the time axis, a location in time, with an extent or duration
  TI  Business Content  
  Time FIB-DM Structure  
  fibo-fnd-dt-fd:TimeInstant fibo-fnd-dt-fd:TimeInterval FIB-DM Associations  
14   FIBO Definition A commercially distributed good that is (1) tangible property, (2) the output or result of a fabrication, manufacturing, or production process, or (3) something that passes through a distribution channel before being consumed or used.
  PRD Business Content  
  Product FIB-DM Structure  
  fibo-fnd-pas-pas:Product FIB-DM Associations  
15   FIBO Definition A container for records associated with a business arrangement for regular dealings or services (such as personal or professional services, banking)  
  AC Business Content  
  ACCOUNT FIB-DM Structure  
  fibo-fbc-pas-caa:Account FIB-DM Associations  

FIB-DM entities and number of subtypes

The table is a list of FIB-DM entities sorted by the number of their subtypes. You can re-create a list-report of PowerDesigner inheritances, ERWin subtypes, or the equivalent in your data modeling tool. Two notes:

First, Occurrence and Time are cover two ultimate subtypes. There is no and there shouldn’t be a common supertype for the entities.

Second, I omit Language and Convention from the Fundamental Business Concepts in favor of Account. This is a subjective assessment of the business significance.

#ConceptEntityNumber of Subtypes

Association Matrix

The table shows the fifteen concepts and their associative entities. The values are a rollup of ultimate parents and ultimate associative entities. For example, the cell TIR (Thing in Role) and fibo-fnd-rel-rel:provides with a value of 49 is the total of all relationships of TIR subtype entities with provides subtypes. I used this matrixand business considerations to choose significant relations for the concept doagram.

For ontologists, the Configurable Ontology to Data-model Transformation (CODT ) derives associative entities from the domain, range, and class restrictions. I think it is hard if not impossible, to formulate a SPARQL query showing object properties with all their class relations. Please comment with a query (and don’t forget, owl:inverseOf, owl:hasValue, and OR etc.)

Count of RelationshipsBusiness Concept              
fibo-fnd-rel-rel:has4753537145279116 109 65123520
fibo-fnd-rel-rel:refersTo731473 67551531131330285
fibo-fnd-rel-rel:comprises  1635 214 212255  14161
fibo-fnd-rel-rel:provides 51   131  2413 4988
fibo-fnd-rel-rel:hasPart9  7 4   12 15  350
fibo-fnd-rel-rel:governs7 9  21452 2  1143
fibo-fnd-rel-rel:confers2 12  7118       40
fibo-fnd-rel-rel:holds1 11  1       2125
fibo-fnd-rel-rel:involves  1  118 3 11 117
fibo-fbc-fct-ra:isRegisteredBy  1        8  514
fibo-fbc-pas-fpas:relatesTo         8 2   10
Grand Total73139015318655452358730915682571253