Will being physically present help open my UK bank account?

This is for a UK company to open a UK based bank account.

As with many bank account opening matters, it is not a simple question around whether it would be beneficial to be present to be in the UK to open an account.

The main question when opening a bank account is do you reside in the UK? If the answer is no, then there are lots of Anti Money Laundering questions to be answered. The reason for opening a UK business account has to be the main question and a detailed response is needed to satisfy the regulations of opening a business account. The biggest asset is having someone based in the UK which establishes a sense of security from the bank account opening teams prospective.

Paul Beare is usually appointed to our client’s bank mandates, with pre-approved limits. This satisfies “someone on the ground” in the UK, as he is usually appointed as Company Secretary of the company.

In real terms – yes it would be quicker to get the bank account open if the shareholders, and signatories were in the UK in terms of the bank being able to obtain the required identification papers – utility bills, bank statements etc.

In an ideal situation, an employee of the bank would photocopy these documents, and state that they had “seen the originals” rather than these papers being notarised and then the notary being identified as genuine. The bank will independently contact the notary to confirm they did meet with X individual on Y date. This actually takes up a considerable amount of time and manpower.

In terms of the form completion, it isn’t necessarily quicker to complete the banking forms by physically being present in the UK, as most of the time this is now completed online – and “digital” signatures can be accepted for this.

This is a general information note, and should not be taken directly – every situation is different, mainly because of the ownership structure. For further information regarding your bank account opening, then do get in touch.