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How to Choose a Name for an Offshore Company?

Selecting a name for a foreign company, including an offshore entity, is one of the initial stages in the business registration process. The chosen name should not only be presentable and reflect the nature of the company’s activities but also comply with the legislation of the country where the structure is incorporated. Whether registering an offshore or local company, the rules and regulations are the same for everyone and must be adhered to without exception.

Name for an Offshore Company
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How to choose a suitable name for an offshore company?

The name directly influences the recognition of the company. Therefore, give preference to words that are easy to pronounce and remember. These can be:

  • Words that describe the business or the offshore registration location. For example, the name LEGO is derived from the Danish expression “Leg Godt,” which means “play well.”
  • Slightly modified names of well-known things, but not exact copies. For instance, in 2012, a platform for digital gift cards was launched in San Francisco called Gyft. The founders simply changed one letter in the word “gift.”
  • Abbreviations or combinations of founders’ or family members’ names. For example, the name IKEA is an acronym formed from the initials of the founder’s name (Ingvar Kamprad), the name of the family farm where he was born (Elmtaryd), and the hometown (Agunnaryd). The name Adidas also consists of the founder’s first name and last name initials (Adolf Dassler).
  • Simply appealing words that resonate with the founders.

Indeed, choosing a name for an offshore company is not an easy task. In addition to the founders’ names, the name of an offshore entity can also be associated with:

  • results of product usage (beauty, prestige, wealth, comfort)
  • main attributes of the product or service
  • expected benefits for clients
  • company’s location (country, city, nearby rivers, mountains, and other famous landmarks).

One company whose name is associated with the results of product usage is Uber. The name originates from the German word “über,” which means “above”, “over”. In addition, this word has a slang meaning “super”.

Studying the names of competitor companies and understanding the preferences of your target audience can also be helpful. The key trends in company names are brevity, simplicity, and clarity.

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Choosing an offshore company name: what should be considered?

The chosen name must comply with the country’s legislation where the offshore entity is being registered. What requirements regarding the names of offshore companies should potential business founders take into account?

The name of an offshore company has to be unique 

Nearly all countries require the company’s name to be unique, meaning it should not coincide with names already presented in the Companies Registry of the country where the offshore company is being established.

In some countries, the uniqueness of a name can be verified independently through specialized government services. In other jurisdictions, this can only be done through registrars who will conduct their own checks for name uniqueness.

Typically, two to three name options are submitted to the registrar in case one of them is already taken. If it turns out that all options are non-unique (which is extremely rare), new names will need to be devised.

When purchasing a ready-made offshore entity, there is no need to come up with a name as it is already registered under a name provided by the registrar.

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The company name must not violate the legislation

Before proceeding with the registration of an offshore company, it is crucial to carefully study the requirements established by local laws regarding company names. In most countries, these requirements are quite similar:

  • Using vulgar or offensive language is prohibited.
  • The name should not insult local customs, culture, or religion.
  • The name should not be overly similar to those already registered.
  • If an abbreviation is used, its expansion should be provided.
  • There should be no mention of licensed activities if the business is not involved in such areas (e.g., banking, trusts, insurance, etc.).
  • If foreign words are used, a translation should be provided.

In most jurisdictions, words implying a connection to authorities or privileged status are also prohibited, such as imperial, church, government, queen, royal, and others. The purpose of this restriction is to avoid misleading counterparties regarding the offshore company’s status.

Certain other words can only be used if the appropriate license is obtained, such as bank, insurance, stock exchange, e-commerce, public accountant, and so on.

Choose the suffix for the name

The offshore company name should end with a word indicating the legal form of business organization (Incorporated, Societe Anonyme, Corporation, Limited, etc.). Abbreviations or acronyms can be used (PLC, LTD, LLC, LDC, LLP, IBC, BC, LP, SA, AG, Inc., Corp., GmbH, etc.).

In classic offshore jurisdictions like Belize, the British Virgin Islands, or Seychelles, there are usually several options for selecting the suffix. However, in certain jurisdictions, such as Hong Kong, each type of legal entity corresponds to only one specific suffix. For example, the names of private limited companies must end with the word “Limited.”

Consider the suffix when evaluating how your offshore company name will sound. If you have a specific suffix in mind, verifying with the registrar whether it is allowed in the chosen offshore jurisdiction is advisable.

Evaluate how the name is perceived in countries where the business will be conducted

Study the cultural and linguistic characteristics of the countries where your company will be represented. There are cases where a name that is well-received in one country may sound awkward, offensive, or humorous in others.

If you have international partners, ensure that the name does not evoke any negative associations for them. While it is unlikely that they would reject an attractive deal based solely on an off-putting name, first impressions also matter.

An offshore company name is only the first step toward success

It is worth noting that the more straightforward an offshore company name is in terms of spelling and pronunciation, the less likely errors will occur when dealing with documents, collaborating with financial institutions, and engaging with future business partners. However, each case is unique, and creativity may be more critical in your situation.

However, even the most colorful and attractive name for a business entity does not guarantee success. It is essential not only to choose a proper name for your offshore company but also to select the country for its incorporation and, most importantly, the banking account, which can be opened in an entirely different jurisdiction.

To properly set up an offshore structure and have everything in one package instead of piecing it together, it is advisable to seek assistance from our experienced specialists.

We offer:

  • Country selection for registering an offshore company tailored to your objectives, goals, and field of activity.
  • Selection of a company name as a mandatory requirement when incorporating a structure offshore.
  • Opening a bank account, both primary and backup, to diversify your company’s capital and effortlessly manage assets in various currencies and countries.
  • Registration of an offshore company or the purchase of a ready-made business with a complete set of documents, office space, legal address, professional officers’ services (if applicable), as well as the services of an accountant, auditor, and tax consultant.
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