Your society's name

Discover the rules about using and changing your registered name.

Your ‘registered name’ is the name appearing on the Mutuals Public Register.  

The requirements for each type of society are set out in mutuals legislation.  

Generally, you must include your registered name: 

  • in all notices, adverts and other official publications 
  • in all business correspondence  
  • on your website  
  • in all business documents  

Most societies are also required to display their registered name at: 

  • their registered office  
  • every other office or place in which business is carried out 

The requirements for societies under friendly societies legislation differ.  

Registration number 

We give each society a mutuals registration number. This appears on the Mutuals Public Register. There is no legislative requirement to display this number. Many societies do however choose to do so to help people identify them.  

Trading names 

Trading names, or ‘business names’ are names used by societies that are different from their registered name. We do not record trading names on the Mutuals Public Register. There are requirements restricting the use of certain words in trading names. If your name contains a word requiring the FCA to give a view (eg ‘bank’), read this page for further details.  

You must still include your registered name as set out above, even where a trading name is being used. 

Referring to registration with the FCA 

We do not require societies to use a particular form of words to refer to their registration under mutuals legislation.  

Many societies use the following format (deleting the squared brackets): 

[Registered society name] ([Registration number:]) is registered under [Registration Act].  

For example: 

Example Society Limited (Registration number 0123) is registered under the Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies Act 2014. 

Societies should not say they are ‘authorised’ or ‘regulated’ by the FCA as this risks giving the impression a society is authorised under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (FSMA).  

If your society is authorised under FSMA (check the FCA Register), separate requirements exist in the FCA Handbook.  

Changing your name 

You can only change your registered name by: 

  • members approving the change in the way set out in the mutuals legislation you are registered under; and  
  • submitting that requested change to us for registration  

Name changes only take effect once we have registered them. 

Appearing on Companies House 

The Companies House index of names contains the names of different types of legal entities alongside companies. Mutual societies appear listed on the Companies House index. Mutual societies are not companies. You do not need to notify Companies House if you register a name change with us. We provide that notification. 

Notifying others of a name change 

HMRC provide further details on how to notify them of a change of name.  

Depending on the activity you carry out, you may need to notify other organisations if you change your name. For example, if you are licensed by your local authority, you may be required to notify them. 

Trade marks

Your registered society name is not automatically protected as a trade mark. Registration of your name with us is separate from trade mark protection. Trade marks are registered by the Intellectual Property Office. You may want to check the register of trade marks before submitting a name to us for registration.