Setting up a UK bank account

Any new company in the UK that is beginning to will require a UK bank account to conduct business. It is not a legal requirement to have a UK based bank account to trade in the UK however for practical reasons it makes sense to have a locally domiciled business account rather than using a personal or overseas account. Setting up a UK bank account for overseas owned companies can be very onerous and frustrating when you try and handle the process yourself, without prior experience of the UK banking regime.

What’s involved in the process of opening a UK bank account for a UK resident and a non-UK resident?

If undertaken without experience or knowledge of opening an account in the UK the process will be painful, frustrating and can be lengthy depending on the ownership structure of the UK company. It is possible to open a UK based account for a UK company as well as an overseas company – in various currencies.

UK banks must undertake customer due diligence, prior to setting up a bank account for their new customers. This is part of the anti-money laundering (AML) regime and is a key requirement of the Money Laundering Regulations 2007 in the UK.

With the revolution in fintech, we have partnered with two of the leading fintech banks in the UK to provide you a smooth bank account opening service without the usual difficulties of providing notarised translations of your ID and documents used to prove your address.

How long does it take to open an account?

For UK based clients, historically it has taken 2-4 weeks to open an account in the UK, but with our fintech banking partners we can open an account sometimes within 24 hours and usually within 2-3 working days.

For our non UK based clients, in our experience, it can take anywhere from two to six months but with our support, it will take approximately two months from start to finish to establish a UK based bank account.

If a client’s turnover expectations exceed £2.5million then they do not have to be a UK resident director to open an account however if the projected turnover is under this amount the bank will require a UK resident director.

If companies attempt to open a UK bank account themselves, the unfamiliarity of the UK system will cause frustration resulting in companies trading in a home-jurisdiction based bank account, leading to FX conversions ending in more headaches for the accountant involved in preparing year-end accounts. Let us handle the strain for you, we know what we’re doing!

Our Approach

We handle the bank account opening process on behalf of our clients and work with multiple banking partners. Every aspect is handled – data gathering, form completion, liaison with the banking partner. Our clients only see the forms once they are completed and ready for “wet” signing by those individuals required. Sometimes “wet” signing is not required and the entire process is digitally completed.

For non-UK resident clients, we are usually appointed as Company Secretary with our address acting as your Registered Office – this supports the bank account opening process, as there is a UK based officer of the Company – the bank’s favour this where there are no UK based resident directors or shareholders.

As a professional services firm, we are also required to carry out checks on our clients before we can act on their behalf. These checks, known as “Know Your Client” procedures, consist primarily of identification of the client, the source of their funding and their ultimate beneficial owner(s).

Speak to a Business Advisor Today

Get in touch with us to discuss setting up your UK bank account