The process of changing a business name in Singapore
8 minute read
Have you considered changing a business name in Singapore? If you have, keep in mind that this should not be taken lightly. You will not be pleased to hear that a company name change is not a straightforward and easy process.
However, there are situations where making this change is a must.
Your original name may not be good enough for the future. Sometimes branding cannot be done properly without a name change. As a result, various businesses have to change industries or even completely revamp their business.
Moreover, we have to remember that the first thing people see when they encounter your Singapore business is its name. It is only then that they place focus on the visuals and the rest.
If you need to change the name of your Singapore company, keep reading. Below you will find everything you need to know regarding this process.
Choose a new name for your business that complies with the ACRA rules
Choosing a good name should be a priority, as it defines your business’s image. However, it is equally important to choose an appropriate name that complies with the law.
The adhering government body for these purposes is ACRA (Singapore Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority). Under Section 17 of the Business Names Registration Act, ACRA can and will exercise its right to reject a company name that is:
- Undesirable – company name that is obscene or religious in nature
- Identical to an already reserved name – reserved business names are names already approved by ACRA but not registered because the business entity behind the reserved company name has not been incorporated yet
- Identical to other registered business names
- Prohibited by order of the Minister for Finance in Singapore
ACRA allows companies to register names that are identical to some other company names. However, this can only happen if the other business is being dissolved. It must have no operations and the business activities have to stop.
Additionally, a certain period of time has to pass in order to register a trade name that was used before for a business no longer carrying on its operations. Time periods depend on the type of legal entity of the other business.
To check if your proposed company’s name is already in use by another business, you can do your own research using search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc.). However, it is advised to use the entity search function on the BizFile+ website.
Submit the change of company name to ACRA
To apply for a new company name in Singapore, follow this step-by-step guide to company name application:
- First of all, go to www.bizlife.gov.sg and click on ‘File eServices.’ Then find the ‘Local Company’ section and click on it.
- This should redirect you to File eServices for ‘Local Company.’ Click on ‘Start a new Local company’ and select ‘Application for New Company Name.’
- You will then be asked to log in using your SingPass or CorpPass.
- Once you click on ‘Next’, you shall see the checklist page that provides important information before you start the process.
- You should then select ‘Company Type.’ Click on the checkbox if the company has acquired approval from the Registrar to register without the addition of the word ‘Limited’ or ‘Berhad’.
- Enter ‘Transaction No.’ and then head to the ‘Proposed Entity Name’ box. Select ‘Suffix’, enter ‘Primary Activity’, and click on ‘Search Primary Activity.’ Then simply select the activity.
- Type in ‘Activity Description.’ Select ‘Yes’ if you have obtained in-principal approval from a government agency.
- Pick the ‘Government Authority’ and upload the attachment. Once you do that, click on ‘Add IPA’ and you will see that the details of ‘Government Agency’ will be displayed.
- Click on ‘Add Officer’ and select ‘ Position held.’ Choose your category and select the ‘Identification Type.’
- Move on to fields where you should enter the ‘Identification Number’, ‘Name’, ‘Date of Birth’, and ‘Contact Information.’
- Choose the address type and enter the address detail. Then click on ‘Add Officer.’
- You will see that the details of the Position entered are shown. Then click on ‘Submit.’
- Check and verify all the details in the Preview page and then click on ‘Confirm.’ If you want to make changes, click on ‘Exit Preview’ and make the changes.
- Finally, click on ‘Pay Now’! You should be directed to the final page that is the acknowledgment page where you can see and print out your receipt.
If ACRA decides to approve the new name, you are required to pass a special resolution for the change of company name.
In order to pass a special resolution, you need to take care of the following steps:
- Prepare the written resolution to change the company name.
- Pick a date for a general meeting.
- Inform all shareholders about the date of the meeting and the proposal to pass the resolution to change the company’s name.
- At the meeting, members who collectively hold at least 75% of the voting rights have to agree to the resolution to change the company name.
- A copy of the resolution has to be submitted to ACRA within 14 days of its passing. This may be done online (BizLife+).
Following the filing with ACRA, your company name change will be updated. Notice of company incorporation under your new company name shall be issued and the change will be effective once the notice has been issued.
Check your company’s name online on BizFile+ to see if the change has been made.
Keep your customers, website, and suppliers updated
Finally, you have to inform your customers and suppliers about the change. This especially applies to your suppliers and partners.
However, these are not the only things that you need to take care of.
First, refresh your business logo. You will be doing business under a new name and your old logo makes no sense. Redesign the logo so that it matches your new name. You can even go for a whole new logo, which would be the best solution in this case.
Then, revisit your marketing strategy. Changing the company name will require you to change your marketing efforts. A good marketing strategy empowers business owners to make wiser choices about reaching new customers, improving their reputation in the community, keeping loyal clients, and so on.
Additionally, you will have to change your online address. Buy a domain that matches your new company name. This is an important part of your web address and it also plays a pivotal role in making a good first impression.
Once you do that, you should make the necessary updates to your business website. Everything has to be well-aligned and consistent.
Finally, assess your social media image and update your local listings. Take an inventory of your business listings on directories like Google My Business and update them. Claim and update listings to include your new name, phone number, address, and website URL.
Adopt a new social media identity but keep the followers. Keep in mind that Twitter and Instagram allow companies to easily change their name if it’s not already in use. Facebook, on the other hand, requires businesses with more than 200 followers to submit documentation before allowing a page name change.
Ready to change your business’s name?
Are you ready to change your Singapore company name? If you are still unsure, reread this mini-guide again. And remember that you should take some measures before you start the process.
You should have a clear strategy, the budget for it, and most of all, you need to fix what doesn’t work. Even though it plays a significant role, a new name does not necessarily fix a broken business. So even if you decide to change your company’s name, try to figure out if your name is the only thing that is doing your business harm.