FID Trust International

You will find the relevant law in the Companies Act 1985 and in the Company and Business Names Regulations. In relation to commonhold associations and RTM companies, further restrictions are contained in the Commonhold Regulations 2004, and the RTM Companies (Memorandum and Articles of Association) (England) Regulations 2003 and the RTM Companies (Memorandum and Articles of Association) (Wales) Regulations 2004.

In relation to community interest companies (CICs) the relevant law in the Companies (Audit, Investigations and Community Enterprise) Act 2004 is referenced on the CICs website at www.cicregulator.gov.uk.

The following words imply national or international pre-eminence:

  1. British - approval of this word in your company name will depend on how it is used. Normally the Secretary of State would expect the company to be British owned. You would need to show that the company is pre-eminent in its field by providing supporting evidence from an independent source such as a Government department or a trade association.
  2. England, English, Scotland, Scottish, Wales, Welsh, Ireland or Irish - if you wish to use these words as a prefix to your company name, the rules are similar to those for 'British'.
  3. European - names which include this word will not be approved if they unjustifiably imply a connection with official bodies of the European Union. If there is a genuine connection with an official body, the name may be allowed if the appropriate body supports the application.
  4. Great Britain or United Kingdom - if you wish to use these expressions as a prefix, or to use 'of Great Britain' or 'of the United Kingdom' as a suffix, then the criteria are the same as for the 'British'.
  5. International - if you wish to use this word as a prefix, you need to show that the major part of the company's activities is in trading overseas. If you wish to use it as a suffix, then approval will usually be given if you can show that the company operates in two or more overseas countries.
  6. National - the criteria for use of this word are the same as for 'British'.

The following words imply business pre-eminence or representative or authoritative status:

  1. association, federation or society - if you wish to use one of these words, your company would normally be limited by guarantee.
  2. authority, board or council - if you want to use any of these words, you should ask us for advice. If the company is to be registered in Scotland, contact Companies House in Edinburgh.
  3. institute or institution - approval for use of these words is normally given only to those organisations which are carrying out research at the highest level or to professional bodies of the highest standing.

The following words imply specific objects or functions:

  1. assurance, assurer, insurance, insurer, re-assurance, re-assurer, re-insurance or re-insurer - if the name is needed for an underwriting company the Companies House will check it.. However, if you want to use the name for a company that will only provide insurance services, then you should include the appropriate qualification, for example 'agents', 'consultants' or 'services', in the name.
  2. benevolent, foundation or fund - names that include any of these words will be refused if they unjustifiably give the impression that the company has charitable status. If the company is limited by guarantee and has a non-profit distribution clause in the memorandum of association, then the name will normally be approved.
  3. charter or chartered - names that include these words will be refused if they unjustifiably give the impression that the company has a Royal Charter. If the words are used to qualify a profession, the Companies House seek the advice of the appropriate governing body before considering whether to give approval.
  4. charity - approval for a name including this word normally depends on the company being registered with the Charity Commission. A company's objects should be charitable and the memorandum should contain a non-profit distribution clause.
  5. chemist or chemistry - if you want to use these words, you should ask for advice from Companies House in Cardiff. If the company is to be registered in Scotland, contact Companies House in Edinburgh.
  6. co-operative - if you wish to use this word, your company's Memorandum and Articles of Association should follow the rules generally associated with co-operatives in the UK.
  7. Friendly Society or Industrial and Provident Society - if you want to use them in your company name, you should first ask Companies House in Cardiff. If the company is to be registered in Scotland, contact Companies House in Edinburgh.
  8. group - if use of this word implies several companies under one corporate ownership, then you will need to provide evidence of a parent and/or subsidiary association with two or more other British or overseas companies. If the name clearly shows that the company is to promote the interests of a group of individuals, then the name will normally be approved.
  9. holding(s) - a company wishing to use this word must be a holding company as defined under section 736 of the Companies Act 1985.
  10. patent or patentee - a name including either word will only be approved if it does not contravene the Copyright, Designs and Patent Act 1988.
  11. post office - the Companies House are likely to seek advice on applications that include these words.
  12. register or registered - the name will not be registered if it unjustifiably implies a connection with HM Government or a local authority. If such a connection actually exists, the name may be allowed if the appropriate body supports the application.
  13. Sheffield - if you wish to use a name that includes the word 'Sheffield', you will need to establish details of the company's location and its business activities and also consult the Company of Cutlers in Hallamshire.
  14. stock exchange - names including this expression will normally be refused unless there are special circumstances.
  15. trade union - names including this expression will normally be refused unless they conform to legislation relating to trade unions.
  16. trust - the word 'trust' can be used in many different senses. You should seek the advice of Companies House in Cardiff. If the company is to be registered in Scotland, contact Companies House in Edinburgh.