Historically playing a leading role in global affairs, the United Kingdom (“UK”) is a leading trading power and financial center and has often been a popular destination for company formation. As of 2018, over 5.7 million private sector businesses were recorded in the UK. Multinational corporations have often utilized the UK as their European base and its financial markets are an integral part of the global economy. Although having recently left the European Union, the economic foundations set by UK company law remain strong, ensuring that UK company formation remains an attractive prospect for international businesses and individuals.
The UK company formation process has been well-established. The requirements surrounding UK company formation are not as stringent as many initially assumed. A UK company must have at least 1 shareholder and 1 director, although the position of company secretary is optional. In addition, the UK does not impose minimum capital requirements although it is recommended to inject at least GBP 100 into a company.
Unlike many countries where a physical office address is required for company formation, the UK does not require one. A UK company must at least maintain a registered office in the UK in which all communications and notices may be addressed. For purposes of company formation in the UK, a virtual office may be utilized.
While there are very few restrictions on who can be a shareholder for a UK company, there are more rules governing who can be a company director.
Firstly, a company director of a UK company must be either a real or ‘natural’ person. In addition to being a ‘natural’ person, company directors must be over the age of 16. However, it is recommended to have company directors above the age of 18 to the extent that they are expected to sign contracts on behalf of the company.
So long as the company director is a real person and over the age of 16, the assumption is that anyone (including non-British citizens) can be a company director in the UK. This does not apply to individuals who are undergoing bankruptcy proceedings or has been disqualified from being a company director in the past.
In the UK, no general business licenses are required. However, licenses or permits may be necessary to conduct certain activities in specific industries. Please contact the FastLane group for any questions regarding your business operation concerns.