FCA has noted an increase in firms misusing trading names. It has updated its website to clarify that:
- using an unauthorised entity’s name as a trading name will not circumvent the appointed representatives regime – if an entity is carrying on regulated activities it must be authorised or else become an AR – so the unauthorised firm would commit a criminal offence and the authorised firm might be breaching FCA rules; and
- firms must not use names that would mislead consumers, for example by suggesting a firm carries out activities for which it doesn’t have permission, suggests that FOS or FSCS is available when it is not or suggests the firm is associated with an unconnected firm.
FCA also reminds firms that there are certain sensitive words that cannot appear in firm’s names unless FCA has approved the use.