Trading names

Learn what you should and shouldn’t do when registering a trading name that’s different from your firm’s registered company name.

You can add trading names to the Financial Services Register (FS Register).

The FS Register displays firms’ names, and anyone can check these details. This helps consumers check they’re dealing with an authorised firm. You should only add genuine trading names that your firm uses.

To add a trading name, you'll need to:

Using sensitive words in your trading name

Including certain sensitive financial services terms may be misleading depending on your firm’s business.

You must seek a view from us before trading under or registering a business name containing sensitive words.

Preventing consumer harm

Where a trading name is used in communications with customers, it should be clear, fair and not misleading.

A trading name could mislead if it suggests that:

Trading names and regulatory breaches

Registering a trading name with us has no legal effect.

Adding a third party as one of your firm's trading name does not:

  • change that person’s regulated status
  • mean that an unauthorised person can carry out regulated activities

If that person carries out regulated activities without being authorised or exempt, it’s likely that they'll be carrying out unlawful unauthorised business.

Registering a trading name is not an alternative to becoming authorised or appointed as an appointed representative.

It's a criminal offence for a person who isn’t authorised or exempt to carry on regulated activity in the UK – with a potential penalty of 2 years’ imprisonment, a fine or both.

The authorised person that registered the trading name may also be breaking our rules, because inappropriate registration of trading names could mislead consumers with the risk of causing harm.

Actions we can take

We supervise how trading names are used. If we find firms aren’t following our rules, we will act.

This can include:

  • fines
  • removing trading names from the FS Register
  • securing compensation for consumers
  • stopping firms from trading – or preventing them from trading without getting our prior written consent

Page updates

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