Nominees are persons or companies who agree to act in a particular role or function on behalf of a company.
In the context of registering and setting up a UK limited company, the situations where nominees are usually employed are those of director, secretary and shareholder. Whether a nominee is used in one, two and all three of the above roles will depend on the requirements of a particular purchaser. It will also depend on the on the willingness of a person or persons providing the service to act in those capacities.
There is generally a perception that acting as a nominee director carries greater risk to the person providing that service than would be the case if they were acting as the company secretary.
Company formation agents often provide nominee services as add-ons to their regular incorporation services and packages. At the time of setting up a company, an option may exist to purchase nominees to act as either a company officer or as a subscriber. In such cases the company formation can proceed with those persons in place from the date of incorporation.