Sensitive business names

See a list of sensitive words relating to financial services and learn how to request our view if you propose to use of any of these terms in your business's names.

List of sensitive words

If you plan on using one of the following words or expressions (including their plural and possessive forms) in your business name, you must seek our view first:

  • assurance
  • assurer
  • banc
  • bank
  • banking
  • Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)
  • friendly society
  • fund
  • insurance
  • insurer
  • mutual
  • Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA)
  • reassurance
  • reassurer
  • reinsurance
  • reinsurer
  • underwrite
  • underwriting
  • unit trust

Why you need our view

Using these sensitive words related to financial services in a business name may give a misleading indication of what the business does. This applies to any business name, even if you're not a financial services firm.

We will only provide a view and we can object to the use of a sensitive name.

The decision as to whether or not a sensitive business name may be used is taken by the Secretary of State. However, they will take our view into consideration. This covers both registered names and trading names captured by the:

Please note, businesses that were lawfully trading under a sensitive name before 1 October 2009 are generally allowed to continue to use that name.

How to request our view

Follow these steps before registering a company name, changing an existing business name or beginning trading under a business name containing a sensitive word or expression.


Prepare your request

Make sure you can explain in full the background for using the sensitive word(s).

You'll need to set out:

  • the rationale for the request
  • what activities the firm carries on or will carry on
  • any other relevant information

The sensitive word should reflect the regulated activities that your firm is authorised to carry out. For example, if your firm wishes to use the word ‘insurer’ in its name, you'll usually be expected to hold permission for one or more relevant insurance-related regulated activities.


Submit your request

You can either:

After submitting your request we may ask for more information, especially if the name contains ‘fund’ or ‘underwriting’.

We aim to reply within 10 business days of receiving your request, but it can take longer.


Apply to the Secretary of State

Separately, you'll need to apply to the Secretary of State via Companies House to use a sensitive business name.

If you're a regulated firm and you've received consent from the Secretary of State, please submit a ‘firm details notification’ via Connect for the updates to be reflected on the Financial Services Register (FS Register).

Find out more about keeping your firm’s details up to date.

How to avoid delays

It's important that you submit the information we ask for in full and respond to us within the requested deadlines.

Here are more ways to avoid delays to your request:

Requesting a reconsideration of our view

You may request us to reconsider our view, taking into account any additional supporting information that you provide.

We will then decide if our initial view was correct, or if we should have reached a different view.

To request a reconsideration:

Please title your correspondence ‘Review – (proposed business name)’. We'll aim to reply within 10 business days of receiving your request, but it can take longer.

Page updates

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