Beneficial Ownership Visualisation System

Vocabulary and Icons

The BOVS “vocabulary” specifies the types of Parties that can appear at the Nodes in a BOVS diagram.

Beneficial Owners

The following types of Parties are types of Beneficial Owner, and so must appear at the start of all Chains in a diagram.


A single private individual. Note that the plural in the context of BOVS is “Persons” not “people”.


A country, state, or governing body with recognised sovereignty; or a department, ministry or fully controlled instrument of such a governing body.

States are indicated with the State icon. A specific State is indicated either with:

  • The flag of that State. If you use this style at all, you must use it for all States that have a flag.
  • The State icon, with the addition of a textual abbreviation for that State written inside the icon.

State body

An element of government with executive responsibilities or a body overseeing or administering elements of public policy.

Owned Entities

The following types of Parties are Owned Entities, and so never appear at the start of a Chain.


Any legal construction that a Party could have an interest in, such as a Company, Trust, Partnership, Contract, etc.

“Entity” is the most generic term for all the types of Party which can be owned. All of the Parties in this table are kinds of Entity.


Any incorporated entity such as a limited company, public company or charity.

You may use the Label “Organisation” with the Organisation icon, or, if you are able, and want, to be more specific than Organisation, you can use a more specific label like “Company” or “Charity”.


A legal arrangement or relationship in which a person or entity (“trustee”) owns and manages property or assets, entrusted by a person or legal entity (“settlor”), not for their own use and benefit, but with a fiduciary responsibility to act for the benefit of persons or entities specified (“beneficiaries”), as described under the terms of the trust (e.g. a trust deed).

Legal arrangement

A legal arrangement is a vehicle created between parties, associating one or more natural or legal persons together in an ownership or control relationship, which lacks separate legal personality, such as a trust or certain types of partnerships.

Public listed company

Publicly listed companies are companies that offer some or all their shares of stock to the general public to trade on securities markets through a stock exchange.

Investment fund

An investment fund generally refers to a type of collective scheme that pools together money from different investors, both individuals and institutions, to invest in different types of assets, including real or financial assets.

You may choose just to identify all Owned Entities just as “Entities”, or select certain types of Parties (e.g. Companies) for which you will identify their type more specifically.


Assets can only appear at the end of a Chain.


An item of property owned by a person or company, regarded as having economic value. For instance, bank accounts and real estate are Assets.


We provide icons for the above types of Party in our Resources section. You are free to use either these or your own icons. However, if using your own icons, they must closely resemble the BOVS icons.

Next page: Parties (Nodes)