A Singaporean company may opt for a name change for any of a variety of reasons. This article mentions some of these possible reasons as to why such a move may be made. It also details the process of how the name of a Singaporean company may be changed to a name which is desired by its owner.

Changing Singaporean Company's Name

When setting up a company in Singapore, one is required by law to follow all legal requirements. These legal requirements are invoked during the company registration process. The laws and regulations regarding company registration require that the owner or owners of the company must identify a suitable company name. The approval of company names is controlled by the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) of Singapore. This regulatory authority defines the rules regarding the selection of company names. The primary objective of the rules as stated by ACRA is to ensure that companies do not copy or replicate already existing names which are already part of a list of companies which have been certified by ACRA. However, an already registered company may intend to change its name for any of various reasons.

 

Reasons Why Companies Change Their Name

Companies can change their names for any of various reasons. Some of these reasons may be directly related the company’s strategic policies. Singaporean company may change its name for any of the following reasons: 

 

Rebranding 

Sometimes, companies select different approaches to reach their target markets. These approaches may include product promotion strategies such as rebranding, advertising, or even indirect selling. Rebranding may involve a repackaging of either the company’s products or the company itself. A company may rebrand its products or its name as part of its general promotion strategy. In Singapore, any business owner who intends to change a company name is required to file an application specifying the change of company information with ACRA as part of the business requirements that exist there. 

 

Accuracy of Representation 

At times, chosen company names fail to present the ideas, products, or culture that a company intends to sellWhen such is this case, it becomes necessary to change the name of the company so that a more accurate representation of the company and its image will be portrayed. Some business entities use the business image they portray to gain control over consumer markets. This subsequently allows customers to identify with certain products, thus creating brand loyalty. In such a scenario, a suitable company name should automatically create a connection with the company’s customers. Therefore, for more accurate representation, a company might occasionally have to change its name to a more suitable name of its own selection. Nevertheless, the new name must be approved by ACRA before it may enter official use. 

 

Change of Business Partners / Mergers 

A change of business partners is an occurrence which may happen at any given time. Depending on the agreement which has been made between new and existing partners, a company may need to change its name after the change of business partners takes place. This is especially important if the name of the company uses the individual names of partners. For this reason, a change of business partners may require a company to change the name under which it operates. 

Similarly, when two companies merge, both companies should agree to select a name that represents the collective interests of both companies. However, in circumstances in which companies of different sizes are involved mergers, it is not necessary for the larger company to change its name to suit the interests of the smaller company. 

Of course, before you go about changing your company’s name, you need a company of your own. In this regard, we at Paul Hype Page & Co can be of assistance. We will guide you through every step of the company incorporation process. With our help, you will find yourself in charge of your own Singapore-based company without any issues. 

 

Process of Changing a Singaporean Company’s Name

The owner of a Singaporean company is required to follow the due process as described by Singaporean company laws before executing a company name change. The Singaporean company laws mention three steps that companies should use for the changing of their names. 

Want to Start business in Singapore
Want to Start business in Singapore

Choosing an Appropriate Name 

Prior to filing for a name change with ACRA, the company owner needs to choose an appropriate name to replace the original name. This should be an independent company decision and free from any external influence. The company owner must make sure that the wrong name is not chosen; choosing such a name would defeat the purpose of changing the company’s name. Therefore, company owners need to deliberate on the best and most appropriate name before proceeding to ACRA to make the name change official.  

 

Applying for Approval with ACRA 

The Singaporean Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) oversees the process of business name changes. Its main role in this regard is to ensure that companies do not encroach on other companies’ names to gain an unjust business advantage. ACRA maintains a list of certified company names which acts as a cross–referencing tool for the name registration process.

After identifying an appropriate company name, the owner proceeds to ACRA offices to file for a name change. On receiving the application, ACRA processes the application for the name change before providing legal documentation for the authorizing or rejecting of the name change. The process of authorizing the name change follows the same procedure as that of registering a new company name.

 

Communicating the Name Change to Other Shareholders 

In the event that ACRA approves the name change, the owner is to communicate the decision to other shareholders. This may require the calling of a general meeting to discuss the extent of changes that will take place due to the change in company name. The new name is approved if 75% of shareholders with voting rights vote in its favor.  

 

In order to fully execute name change, all necessary details must be communicated to the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS). IRAS needs to record the following details about the company: tax reference number, previous name registered under ACRA, and new name registered under ACRA. IRAS then produces an email notification confirming that the name change has been duly completed. 

The verification of the name change with IRAS is not a requirement because IRAS uses ACRA’s list of companies to direct its revenue collection. Therefore, if ACRA has approved the name change, IRAS is likely to be made aware of such changes. Nonetheless, it is recommended that company owners should confirm the name change with IRAS if they do not receive an email notification two weeks after ACRA has approved the name change.  

However, after changing the company name, a company is required to execute a wide range of changes including but not limited to information stated on websites, social media accounts, letterheads, rubber stamps, brochures, and advertisements, among others. This would thus allow the general business community to be made aware of the name change.

Regulations Related to Company Name Changes 

Although companies are allowed to freely allowed to change their names as they see fit, there are laws and regulations that restrict practices involved during the process of a name change. These regulations mainly revolve around the viability of a company name and the use of foreign company names with regard to registration of companies in Singapore.  

Any name chosen by a company should be desirable as implied by Section 7 of the Business Names Registration Act which states that company names should not interfere with religious or cultural settings. Company names must also be unlike those of already certified companies. Under the Business Names Registration Act, company names should also avoid the use of names such as ‘university’ or ‘academy’ which may require additional licensing. Companies are, however, allowed to use dissolved company names as long as they meet the guidelines dictated under the Business Names Registration Act. 

Companies are allowed to use foreign names other than native language names during registration. The Business Names Registration Act allows companies to freely use any names desired as long as they meet the guidelines prescribed by the Act. However, foreign companies can change their names in specific scenarios that differ from those prescribed for Singaporean companies. A foreign company is only allowed to change its name if the headquarters of the said company initiates a name change based on the local regulations of the country where the headquarters are located. However, the foreign company must communicate the name change decision to ACRA within 30 days after the name change has been initiated.  

A company name change can be overruled if a cou