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How to Change a Company Name

Posted by Stephen on April 29, 2024

How to Change a Company Name Image

Our Resolutions to Change Company Name are for use when you want to change your company’s name.

It is not uncommon for a company to change its registered name from the name registered at incorporation. This may be for many reasons, but it is commonly done as part of a rebranding exercise.

Most online company incorporation service providers offer a ‘done for you’ service. However, since the process is very straightforward, you may prefer to do it yourself and save money. In this guide, we will explain precisely what you need to do if you do want to complete the name change yourself.

A company can change its name at any time, but can’t change its registered number. This number will remain the same as the number allocated to the company on its incorporation.

Steps to change a Company Name

Steps to Change Company Name Image

Section 77 of the Companies Act 2006 sets out the rules for changing a limited company’s name in England and Wales.

A company can change its registered name by either of the following:

  1. by passing a special resolution of the shareholders; or
  2. by resolution of the board of directors (if permitted by the company’s Articles).

Most companies incorporated after 2006 will have the default ‘Model’ Articles of Association, while companies incorporated between 1985 and 2006 will usually have the ‘Table A’ Articles. Both of these standard forms of Articles of Association require that a “special resolution” of the shareholders is passed to approve the change to a new company name.

So, if you have the standard format Articles of Association, you will need to use the document titled “Shareholder Special Resolution”.

It is common (and best governance practice) for the board of directors first to pass a board resolution to approve the change of company name and then for the shareholders to pass the special resolution. Effectively, the board proposes the change of name, and the shareholders then formally pass it, making it a 2-step process.

We include both document templates for this 2-step process in our company name change template pack.

Once the shareholder special resolution has been passed, form NM01 (available free of charge from Companies House) must be completed and sent to Companies House with the relevant fee. This is done either by an online filing or by post. Form NM01 acts as the application to request that Companies House processes the change of name and records it on the Register of Companies. As of the date of this guide, the fee is £8 if filed online and £10 if filed by post.

Before Changing Company Name

Company Change of Name Points to Consider Image

Before you decide on the new company name, you should check that no one else uses the same or a similar name. If a registered company uses the same or a very similar name, then Companies House will reject your application to record the name change.

The government offer some helpful guidance when choosing a new company name here. You can also use the free search tool (Company Name Availability Checker) at Company’s House to check for existing name matches. Also ensure you do not use prohibited or sensitive names for your company, unless you have approval for the latter. See the government article here.

In addition, keep in mind that many businesses use trading names that are different from their registered names and which they may have registered as trademarks.

The Intellectual Property Office offers a free trademark search tool for checking for conflicting trademark registrations.

Lastly, decide if you will use the whole ‘Limited’ reference or the abbreviated ‘Ltd’ reference. Both are acceptable.

Completing the Change of Name Resolution Templates

Change of Name Resolutions Image

Both the board and shareholder resolutions to change a company name are straightforward and similar in format. For both of the resolution document templates, you need to complete the following sections:

  • Company name.
  • The date the resolution was sent for signature.
  • The new name of the company.
  • The names of the director(s) or shareholder(s) signing the resolution. 

When completing the resolution to change the name, ensure that the company name and number you add at the top of the document match the information held at Companies House. Also, ensure that this information is added correctly to form NM01 when you fill it in.

Once you have chosen all the options and filled in all the details, remove any square brackets that might still exist in the documents. Now either print and post, or email, the documents to the relevant parties for signature.

Your New Certificate of Incorporation on Change of Name

Company Change of Name Certificate Image

If Companies House accepts your application submitted using form NM01 they will issue a ‘Certificate of Incorporation on Change of Name’ (often referred to as simply the ‘certificate of change of name’). This document will have the following information:

  • The company number.
  • The new name.
  • The date that the change of your company name occurred.

The Companies House Name Register

Company House Names Register Image

The original name will remain on the Companies Register following the company name change. It will show up underneath the listing of the new company name when someone searches for your company on the register.

Suppose you must retrieve the original certificate of incorporation or the name change certificate. In that case, you can find them in the company’s ‘Filing History’ section details on Companies House.

Many online services can help you change your company name. However, following the steps in this guide makes it extremely easy to do yourself.

You can download our resolution to change the company name template pack, complete the special resolution or the board resolution as appropriate, and then fill in form NM01 and log into Companies House to submit the form with your fee. It’s that simple!

What to do After Changing Your Company Name

After the new name has been accepted by Companies House, you can launch your new brand. All paperwork and accounts with the old name on should be changed. Advise your customers and all relevant suppliers and other authorities (e.g. ICO, landlord, insurers, HMRC, banks). Your website and any marketing material should be updated to the new name.

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