Sensitive Words in Company Names That Imply Status

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

association, federation or society - if you wish to use one of these words, your company would normally be limited by guarantee. Each member should have one vote and the constitution should contain a non-profit distribution clause. This provides that any profits should be used to further the objects of the company and not be paid to the members as dividends. If you form your company using SFS our M&A include the required information and clauses so that your name will be accepted.

authority, board or council - if you want to use any of these words, you should seek further guidance from Companies House. If the company is to be registered in Scotland, contact Companies House in Edinburgh.

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. You will need to show us that there is a need for the proposed institute and that it has appropriate regulations or examination standards. You will need evidence of support from other representative and independent bodies.

The following words imply specific objects or functions-

assurance, assurer, insurance, insurer, re-assurance, re-assurer, re-insurance or re-insurer - if the name is needed for an underwriting company, we will normally seek further advice. 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.

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.

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, we will seek the advice of the appropriate governing body before considering whether to give approval.

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.

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.

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. If you need further advice you should contact Companies House in Cardiff. If the company is to be registered in Scotland, contact Companies House in Edinburgh.

Friendly Society or Industrial and Provident Society - we will refer names which include these expressions to the Registrar of Friendly Societies for advice. 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.

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. THis will need to be evident from the M&A of the company.

holding(s) - a company wishing to use this word must be a holding company as defined under section 736 of the Companies Act 1985.

patent or patentee - a name including either word will only be approved if it does not contravene the Copyright, Designs and Patent Act 1988.

post office - we are likely to seek advice on applications that include these words.

register or registered - we treat every application for use of these words on its merits. Generally, we will seek advice from the appropriate governing body if names that include these words are linked with a professional qualification. 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.

Sheffield - if you wish to use a name that includes the word 'Sheffield', we will need to establish details of the company's location and its business activities. We will also consult the Company of Cutlers in Hallamshire.

stock exchange - names including this expression will normally be refused unless there are special circumstances.

trade union - names including this expression will normally be refused unless they conform to legislation relating to trade unions.
trust - the word 'trust' can be used in many different senses. Each application is dealt with on its merits but the main uses of this word are as follows:

charitable trust - these companies need to have charitable objects and a non-profit distribution clause in the memorandum of association. You will be asked for confirmation that you have made, or will make, an application for registration as a charity with the Charity Commission. Scottish companies wishing to use the expression 'charitable trust' will need to apply to the Inland Revenue in Edinburgh as the Charity Commission has no jurisdiction in Scotland.

educational trust or artistic trust - such companies should have a non-profit distribution clause in the memorandum of association and the name should reflect the nature of the trust. The promoters should be of high standing in the field.

enterprise trust - these companies must have a non-profit distribution clause in the memorandum of association and they must be able to provide evidence of support from, for example, local authorities, businesses or banks.

family trust - such companies must be non-profit distributing and the objects must reflect the nature of the trust. Names of family trusts will usually be approved if the name as a whole identifies the company as such.

financial trust or investment trust - if you wish to use these expressions, you will need to provide a written assurance that substantial paid-up share capital or other funds will be achieved within a reasonable period after incorporation.

pensions or staff trust - the names of such companies must include the name of the parent company, and the objects of the company must include the operation of pension funds.

unit trust - if you wish to use this as part of your company name, you should seek the advice of Companies House in Cardiff. If the company is to be registered in Scotland, contact Companies House in Edinburgh.

For further information or advice on any company names do not hesitate to contact the team at SFS.

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