Top 10 firms sign up to access original company data

CITY firms Allen & Overy, Eversheds and Slaughter and May have installed an information service which allows users to access from their desktop exact copies of the original accounts and annual returns of all 1.4 million private companies in the UK.

The service, called Pioneer, has been developed for intranet systems and provides information such as company profiles, four-year financial summaries, annual reports, the names, home addresses and former directorships of company directors, and information on holding companies, subsidiaries and sister companies of private UK companies. It also provides access to international bonds through a joint venture with the International Securities Market Association (ISMA), and access to an Asian data information service which gives information on 13 different companies in the Far East.

Andy Black, the marketing director of Perfect Information – the company which developed Pioneer – said its existing online data service already includes public companies and is also being expanded to include private company information.

Its "watch-out" feature also alerts users to any new documents released by companies.

The database is updated within five days of the documents being released from Companies House.