Company Name

Every company or business entity will require a company name. This is so that the business can differentiate itself from others and also for others to find and identify the business easily.

Having a desirable company name is important to for the company’s image building. Once you have an intended company name, you can proceed to check its availability and usability with the Singapore Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA). After ACRA has approved the name, you will be able to reserve it and use it to set up your new company.

Choosing a good Company Name

Following section 17 of the Business Names Registration Act, ACRA will refuse the use of a company name if it is:

  • Undesirable
    • For example, the intended business name contains vulgarities
  • Identical to other company name
    • If the intended company name is already in use by another company or another company has a name similar to the intended name, ACRA may not allow the use of the intended company name.
    • This is to avoid any unnecessary misunderstandings between companies, suppliers and/or clients due to the similar name
  • Identical to another reserved name(s).
    • If the intended business name is similar to another company’s intended business name, it will be refused by ACRA as well.
    • This is to avoid any unnecessary misunderstandings between companies, suppliers and/or clients due to the similar name
    • The intended business name will be allowed for use if the other company decides not to incorporate or use the company name.
  • Prohibited company names
    • For example, company names containing the names of government agencies
    • For example, It is similar to established Names or trademarks such as Coca Cola and Temasek

Before the incorporation, the availability of the company name can be checked on ACRA by you and/or your company secretary. Once you have an intended company name that is available for use, the name can be reserved for your new company.

Do note that: Availability of the company name does not mean that you will be able to Reserve a company name. See FAQ below for more information.

Reserving a Company Name

Reservation of a company name can be done through an application with ACRA.

Once you have an available company name, you will be able to reserve the name to proceed with your incorporation.

A company name needs to be reserved first before the incorporation can proceed. This is to ensure that the name will be kept for your use and to avoid any unnecessary conflicts, such as if the company name is used by another incorporation while you are completing the incorporation procedure.

During the reservation process, ACRA will request for your intended company name, intended business activity and information on the intended directors and shareholders of the company.

A company name reservation may not be be approved if:

  • ACRA deems that the name of the business may be likely used for unlawful purposes or for purposes prejudicial to public peace, welfare or good order in Singapore
    • For example, the intended business name sounds similar to a welfare society or organization
  • One of the intended directors/shareholders submitted require further investigation by ACRA
  • The intended business activity is deemed by ACRA as requiring specific licenses

Once the name has been successfully reserved, the name will be reserved for 6 months. You will then have 6 months to complete your incorporation. The incorporation will be able to proceed once the remaining requirements for incorporation have been met as well. 

If the company is not incorporated or set up by the end of the reservation, the reservation will be removed and the the company name will be made available again for others’ use.

 

FAQ

What is the difference between Availability of the intended company name and Reserving a company name? Why does availability not equate to successful reservation of the company name?

The availability of the company name acts as a pre-incorporation name checker. In general, it will check to make sure that the intended name is not similar to other companies’ names and does not contain any prohibitive or undesirable keywords.

After the name has been deemed as available, during reservation, more stringent checks by ACRA will take place. The company’s intended business activities and shareholders/directors will have to be submitted during the reservation as well. Based on these information, ACRA will then decide whether or not to approve the company name reservation.

For example, the name “John Architectural Services Pte. Ltd.” may be available for use when checking on the availability of the company name. However, during the name reservation, the reservation may not be approved due to the keyword “architectural” or the intended business activity related to architecture. This is because architectural firms in Singapore require licensing. Therefore, ACRA may not approve the reservation until further checks or declarations are completed.

What happens if ACRA does not approve my company name reservation?

If there are any details requiring further checks from the authorities, your name reservation may be referred. During this process, your name reservation status will be set as referred and the application will be passed on to other authorities or government agencies for further checking and approval.

For example, in the case of  “John Architectural Services Pte. Ltd.”, the reservation application will be passed on to the Board of Architects (BOA) Singapore due to the proposed name and business activities containing the word “Architectural”.

For more information on the relevant referral authorities and some of the keywords involved, check on ACRA here.

ACRA and the relevant referral authorities may request for additional documents to be submitted for their checking. After the relevant documents or clarifications have been submitted, ACRA and the relevant referral authorities will review the case and make a final decision on the application.

This process may take from 14 to 60 days to complete.

If the reservation is rejected, you will have to re-consider your intended company name, business activity or directors/shareholders involved and make a re-application to ACRA.

 

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Have more questions regarding company incorporation in Singapore? View more FAQs or Send us an enquiry below!

 

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