Semantics For Finance Users

FIB-DM is enormous, with 3,040 normative entities as of January 2024, and still growing.

The Fundamental Concepts are the bridge to understanding the design and content.

This education module provides an overview of the fifteen concepts. A reference sheet for each concept shows.

  • FIBO definition
  • Concept hierarchy
  • Significant associations

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The House of Finance has 15 Fundamental Concepts

An introduction to the data model and ontology content and methodology for Finance Users, Data Architects, and Ontologists

An introduction to the data model and ontology content and methodology     for Finance Users, Data Architects, and Ontologists Jurgen Ziemer    OCC

Understanding the model, scoping and designing with Finance users

FIB-DM is enormous, 1875 entities as of October 2019, and still growing, there may be 2500 entities in a year from now.

The Fundamental Concepts are the bridge to understanding the design and content.

Concept Maps are the bridge between Data Architect and Finance Business user.

15 Fundamental FIB concepts

This introduction for all audiences provides an overview of the fifteen concepts.

•             FIBO definition

•             Concept hierarchy

•             Significant associations

All Fundamental concepts are ultimate supertypes defined in FIBO Foundation, a package in the Open Source FIB-DM Core.

Some subtype entities for Securities, Swaps, and Indices are in the commercial version.

You can download PowerPoint on the FIB-DM website and comment on LinkedIn.

The Fundamental Concepts are for all audiences.

                As a Data Architect or Modeler, you want to understand the FIB-DM design and content to scope and customize the model.

You want to use Concept Maps for reviews and joint design with your Business clients.

                As a Finance user and subject matter expert, you find 15 concepts and their icon diagrams easy, non-technical business notation. The fifteen concept charts are for business users.

As an Ontologist can use the very same FIB concepts to understand, scope            and customize the FIBO. Just like the DA, you can use the concept maps, rather than complex graphs to work with the business.

This lesson within the education path

Autonomous Agent

15 Fundamental FIB concepts

Scoping our first Data Model from FIB-DM

Next: Detail modules for all 15 concepts.

This module: Introduction to the methodology and concepts.

Previous: Practical, hands-on exercise using five of the concepts.

Semantic Enterprise Information Architecture

FIB concept maps have an agreed vocabulary

A concept map is a diagram that depicts suggested relationships [arrows] between

concepts [circles].

The Financial Industry Business (FIB) concept map has standardized icons for concepts and an agreed vocabulary for labels.

The concepts and vocabulary establish a direct correspondence between the map and the data model.

Finance user

The 15 concept mnemonic icons, and abbreviations  

Each FIB concept is an in-depth business taxonomy

Agreement taxonomy, for example, has 79 classification items.

You use the MS-Excel workbook or other representations and visualizations to research the taxonomies:

Identify items that fit your business requirements.

Do not create synonyms!

Work with your Data or Business Architect to extend the taxonomy as needed.

FIB-CM Relationships come from the vocabulary of more than agreed 200 names.

Our first data model Bank, the Bank Call Report had:

JPM Chase          $176 billion


Corporation        has Issued Capital            Monetary Amount

Autonomous Agent (AA)                               Reference (REF)

Stock     Monetary Corporation   Amount

Concept Map Relationship

has Guarantor

has Headquarters Address

has Holding Period

has Identity

has Indicator Value

has Inforce

has Initial Interest Accrual Date

has Initial Interest Payment Date

has Initial Principal Payment Date

has Initial Stub

has Interest Calculation Schedule

has Interest Payment Day

has Interest Payment Frequency

has Interest Payment Terms

has Interest Rate

has Interest Rate Reset Schedule

has Issued Capital

has Jurisdiction

has Legal Form

has Lender

has Lifecycle

has Listing Date

has Majority Controlling Interest Party

has Market Identifier Code Status

has Measurement Unit

has Nominal Capital

Use the MS-Excel workbook to research relationship names.

A search for “Capital” finds has Issued and Nominal Capital

Relationships pertain to designated concepts

The Pivot of Relationships and Fundamental FIB Concepts confirms that has Issued Capital has at least one connection from Autonomous Agent to Reference.

Complete the conformed Concept Map

Use the MS-Visio template with the FIB Concept stencils or any Concept Map diagramming tool.  

Some PowerDesigner modelers create a custom model and map to the FIBDM conceptual data model.

Who does this, the Business Analyst, Data Modeler, or Finance user depends on your organization and the people on the project.

15 Concepts, their taxonomies, and relationships express 80% of the business, data requirements, and high-level design.

Data Model and Concept Map

The business introduction stated a direct correspondence between the FIB Concept Map and FIB Data Model.

The Semantic Enterprise Architecture called the FIB-CM a simplified conceptual data model in sync with FIB-DM.

Indeed, just like we derive a Physical Data Model (PDM) from a Logical Data Model (LDM), we can derive the Conceptual Data Model (CDM) from the Concept Map (CM). And we should reflect CDM changes in the CM.

The controlled vocabulary of the FIB-CM comprises of FIB-DM base, and associative entities, and associations.

The MS-Excel workbook derived from Data Model list reports!

Fundamental Concepts are Ultimate Supertypes

Row Labels          Count of Subtype             CM

fibo-fnd-pty-rl:ThingInRole          278         TIR

fibo-fnd-rel-rel:Reference            235         REF

fibo-fnd-arr-arr:Arrangement     85           ARR

fibo-fnd-aap-agt:AutonomousAgent        81           AA

fibo-fnd-agr-agr:Agreement        79           AGR

fibo-fnd-agr-agr:Commitment    58           COM

fibo-fnd-arr-doc:Document         53           DOC

fibo-fnd-law-lcap:LegalConstruct              49           LC

fibo-fnd-agr-ctr:ContractualElement       42           CE

fibo-fnd-dt-oc:OccurrenceKind  26           OCC

lcc-cr:Location   24           LOC

fibo-fnd-pas-pas:Service               18           SVC

fibo-fnd-dt-fd:TimeInterval          17           TI

fibo-fnd-dt-fd:TimeInstant           17           TI

fibo-fnd-pas-pas:Product              15           PRD

fibo-fbc-pas-caa:Account             13           AC

fibo-fnd-dt-oc:Occurrence           11           OCC

In the data model, the 15 Fundamental Concepts are entities that are not subtype of any other entity.

They are the most important supertypes, ranked by their number of subtype entities.* 

70% of FIB-DM base entities (non-associative) are a subtype of the 15 concepts.

* Astute observers notice that Time Interval and Time Instant are combined into one concept although they don’t have a common supertype. Language and Convention didn’t make FIB-CM, although they have more subtypes than account. Also, the metrics will change with model customizations and the next FIB-DM release.

The list of 15 concepts is qualitative judgment.

The FIB Taxonomy is the subtype hierarchy

The business user sees a taxonomy depicted as a diagram, a list or pivot in MS-Excel, or any other taxonomy visualization tool. 

That taxonomy derived from the data model.

It is OK to omit entities from the user taxonomy. For example, we may remove the Written Contract, if it adds no explanatory value.

However, we must not add classification items

to the taxonomy, unless we also add them to FIB-DM

FIB Concept Map Relationships are data model Associations and Associative Entities

The Excel tab below is the data underlying the business user matrix for the controlled relationship vocabulary.

It is a combination of data model relationship and entity subtype list reports.

The user doesn’t need concept or relationship hierarchies in the  FIB Concept Map notation. You, the data modeler, resolve the intricacies of how and where concepts associate in the data model. 

Additions to the controlled vocabulary of concept map relationships must reflect in the data model as new associations. 

Approaching an extensive model

A common approach is middle-out. Working on a specific requirement, like the Bank Call Report exercise, we investigate the subject up the subtype hierarchy.


Or we follow the FIBO module, FIB-DM package structure, and with it the development history.

BTW, the Ontologist has it more comfortable because she can examine and query sample data.

The Fundamental Concept approach is top-down. We examine the concept

•             Business content

•             Subtype hierarchy

•             Associations

Ontology and Data Model hierarchies are the same

The only difference is in the diagram notation.

FIB-DM concept diagrams can help you to understand the FIBO rdfs:subClassOf, Class hierarchies.


The concepts and vocabulary directly correspond to the ontology graph.

Concept relations derive from FIBO rdfs:range, rdfs:domain, and owl:Restriction.

Create concept maps to communicate your design with Finance users!


       © Jayzed Data Models Inc. 2019    

Guide to the Reference Charts Concept Name (Abbr.) Subtypes

 Autonomous Agent (AA) 

                Thing in Role (TIR)

 Reference (REF) 

                Arrangement (ARR)

 Location (LOC) 

                Commitment (COM)

 Contractual Element (CE) 

                Time (TI)

Time Instant: A temporal entity that is a member of a time scale, with no extent or duration

Time Interval: a segment of the time axis, a location in time, with an extent or duration

•             Time Instant subtypes reflect precision, Date, datetime, and timestamp.

•             The Time Interval can be a Duration (e.g., 10-year) or the period  

Semantic Enterprise Information Architecture

References and further reading

The FIB-DM website

•             scalable SVG diagrams of the complete subtype hierarchies

•             Diagrams of the Concept Maps

Follow the FIB-DM LinkedIn page for news, updates, and to read and share comments.

Watch FIB-DM Education videos on YouTube.

FIBO references on the Enterprise Data Management Council website © Jayzed Data Models Inc. 2019