Multiple Trading Names and Consumer Confusion

In previous articles we have looked at the importance of ensuring FCA approval is granted before any ‘sensitive’ names are used.

It is worth just looking at how the FCA view the use of any trading name, particularly where a firm is using several names.

All trading names must be on the Financial Services Register so any person can track who the underlying regulated entity is. They should also be notified to the ICO to sit alongside your DPA registration.

The FCA are of the opinion that multiple trading names can become increasingly difficult for consumers where, for example, a firm has many trading names on the Financial Services Register.

In light of requirements for disclosure, transparency and fair treatment of customers, adding multiple trading names may lead to disclosure statements being confusing. It may mean your firm is not fulfilling the requirement of being clear, fair and not misleading.

We would urge all firms to look at any trading names they have registered and check to see if they are still used and, if not, have a spring clean.

During our regular compliance audits, we come across many firms with multiple trading names and we often find that these are out of date, historic, long forgotten about and no longer used. In these cases, it is important that they are removed from the Financial Services Register and any stationery you hold, including any website references.

Also, if you have appointed representatives (ARs), do not forget to check any stationery they have to make sure it is styled correctly.

About the author

Terence has over 35 years' experience in the Financial Services environment, covering general insurance, investments and mortgages.

Before joining RWA, Terence worked for a large PLC insurance brokerage in Manchester, overseeing some 20 acquisitions. He served as Compliance Director at RWA from 2011 to 2018 and has worked with insurance broking firms of all sizes across the UK. He has a particular interest in Financial Crime and the protecting the insurance broker. Terence previously served as Executive Chairman of the Association of Professional Compliance Consultants (APCC), the professional body for the compliance consultancy sector.

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