One of the most common questions we get asked at 1st Formations is ‘Do I need to include a middle name when appointing a company director?’ Whilst you are under no legal obligation to include this information on the company formation application, director appointment form, or register of directors, we always advise that you should.
The decision of whether to include or omit middle names may seem inconsequential. However, there are a number of situations where leaving out this part of a director’s name can be problematic. Let’s take a look at the reasons why.
Why you should include directors’ middle names
Companies House (the registrar of companies in the UK) does not need you to include a director’s middle name when making an appointment during or after the company formation process. They simply ask you to provide their full forename(s), surname, and any former name(s).
Nevertheless, we strongly recommend that you do provide middle names, where applicable. The reason is that third parties (primarily banks) often request that companies record the full name of any person they appoint as a director. Generally, the same applies to shareholders, people with significant control (PSC), and company secretaries.
At 1st Formations, we have seen numerous cases where banks and lenders were unable to assist directors, simply because their full name was not present on the register of directors. Consequently, they had to update their details at Companies House before being able to proceed with their application.
What does ‘full name’ mean?
An individual’s ‘full name’ is their whole, legal name. It includes their full first name (forename), middle name(s) or initial(s) if any, and their full last name (surname).
Usually, a person’s full name is the name stated on their passport or driver’s licence. If they have not changed their name since birth, their birth certificate will also include their whole, legal name.
Some people don’t use their legal name on a day-to-day basis, or even on bank accounts and utilities. Instead, they may use a shortened form of their forename (e.g. Jim instead of James; Kate instead of Katherine), or they might even be known by their middle name.
Nevertheless, it does not matter whether a person has been known by another name since birth. When dealing with banks and other such institutions, you must always provide your full, legal name as it appears on your formal ID.
This reduces risk and makes the identity of the person apparent by unambiguous reference during compliance checks.
Common issues when a director does not register their full name
As a general rule, a director’s name should match what appears on their passport and/or drivers’ licence. The same is true for shareholders, PSCs, and company secretaries. By erring on the side of caution, you will minimise the risk of encountering the types of issues outlined below.
1. Opening a business bank account
Most limited companies use business bank accounts. When you apply to open an account, the bank will follow its standard compliance procedures. This includes running a business credit check, verifying the company details at Companies House, and checking the identity of directors and shareholders.
Problems usually arise when the identification of a company director or shareholder does not match the details held at Companies House. In such instances, the bank is likely to reject your application.
Most banks also run personal credit checks on the company’s shareholders and directors. This could be problematic for the same reason.
You can try to offer a valid explanation and other proof of identity, but this rarely makes any difference. Financial institutions are uncompromising on this issue. Therefore, the only way to avoid or rectify the problem is to register the full, legal name of every company director and shareholder.
2. Business loans
When you apply for a business loan, the finance provider needs to determine whether your company is a viable risk for lending. As part of the finance application process, they will carry out a business credit check on your company.
They will also check all of the information you provide on the application with credit reference and fraud prevention agencies. This is standard procedure and involves looking at the business and the people behind it.
Red flags will be raised if a company director or shareholder has a poor credit score, adverse information, or their name does not match the Companies House register. In such instances, the provider is more likely to reject your finance application.
The reason for such scrutiny is that the success or failure of a business largely lies with its directors. And many business loans require a director’s guarantee. Therefore, if a bank is unable to verify the identity of a company director, they’re unlikely to approve a loan.
Out-of-date or inconsistent information on the Companies House register can also make your business appear unreliable in general.
3. Providing a director’s guarantee
Providing a director’s guarantee is commonplace when a company applies for a business loan. This is especially true for new and small companies and those with a poor credit history.
With a director’s guarantee, the company director is ultimately responsible for repaying the loan if the business defaults. It is a huge responsibility, but often the only way in which some companies can obtain loans.
As part of the application process, the lender will run a personal credit check on the director. They will also need to verify that the director’s details at Companies House match the details on the loan application and guarantee form.
If there are any discrepancies, the financial provider is unlikely to approve your loan and guarantor application.
4. Accepting bank transfers
If you use a personal bank account for your company (rather than a business bank account), you may have problems receiving online bank transfers from new clients. To ensure they are sending money to a legitimate business, they might check your directorship details on the Companies House register. Issues could arise if the name on your bank account is not an exact match.
5. DBS checks
If the nature of your business involves working in regulated activity with children or vulnerable adults, directors and employees may have to undergo Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks. These were previously known as CRB checks.
You will encounter problems obtaining a DBS certificate if the name on your application and ID does not match the name registered at Companies House.
The DBS application also asks you to provide any names by which you have been previously known. This includes names changed through marriage, deed poll, and decree nisi.
To avoid issues, you must ensure that your full name – as it appears on your passport or driver’s licence – is registered at Companies House and matches the name you enter on the DBS application.
6. False-positive identification
Insurance, banking, and finance institutions employ robust fraud detection and prevention methods to protect their businesses and customers. However, false-positive identification is still an issue when carrying out fraud checks.
The risk of such problems occurring is more likely if you do not include the middle name of a company director during their appointment. The less information provided, the higher the chance of being falsely identified as someone else of the same name.
To minimise the risk of your application being delayed or rejected due to a false-positive identification, you must ensure that directors’ full names are registered at Companies House.
What other information do I need when appointing a company director?
For each person that you appoint as a company director, you will need to provide the following personal information:
- Full name – forename(s), middle name(s), and surname
- Former name(s)
- Date of birth
- Main residential (home) address
- Service address (also known as a correspondence address)
All of this information will be recorded at Companies House. However, the director’s home address and the day of their birth will not be included on the public register.
The only instance in which a director’s home address is publicly available is when it’s used as a service address or registered office. To protect their privacy, it is best to use a professional registered office address and service address.
Director’s former name(s)
Former names are any names that a company director has used for business purposes in the last 20 years. This includes maiden or married names and names changed by deed poll.
There is no legal requirement to provide former names. However, as is the case with middle names, leaving out such information can cause problems with banks and other third parties.
How do I update the name of a company director?
Changing and updating the name of a company director is a relatively easy task. You will need to complete form CH01 – Change the details of a director and file it at Companies House, either online or by post.
The information required on the form includes:
- Company registration number
- Company name in full
- Director’s current details on the Companies House register – month and year of birth, title, full forename(s), surname
- Date of change of details you are reporting
- Director’s new name
You can also use this form to change other details relating to a company director, including their service address or residential address.
Change company director details through 1st Formations
At 1st Formations, you can change and update the details of a company director for free using our Online Company Manager facility.
- Existing customers – sign in to your client account with your username and password to access your Customer Dashboard
- New users – create an account for free to import your company onto our system and update a director’s name online
You can use our Online Company Manager to view and update essential company data, file confirmation statements, and access a range of professional services to manage your company and ensure compliance.
So, there you have it…
There is no legal requirement for a company director to provide their middle name. However, to avoid issues during the course of running the business, you should always include any middle name(s) when you are appointing a director.
We hope that you have found this post helpful. If you have any questions about this topic – or limited companies in general – please leave a comment below or contact our company formation team for help.