A large variety of eukaryotic small structured POLIII-derived non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs) have been described in the past. However, for only few, e.g. 7SL and H1/MRP families, cellular functions are well understood. For the vast majority of these transcripts, cellular functions remain unknown. Recent findings on the role of Y RNAs and other POLIII-derived ncRNAs suggest an evolutionarily conserved function of these ncRNAs in the assembly and function of ribonucleoprotein complexes (RNPs). These RNPs provide cellular `machineries’, which are essential for guiding the fate and function of a variety of RNAs. In this review, we summarize current knowledge on the role of POLIII-derived ncRNAs in the assembly and function of RNPs. We propose that these ncRNAs serve as scaffolding factors that `chaperone’ RNA-binding proteins (RBPs) to form functional RNPs. In addition or associated with this role, some small ncRNAs act as molecular decoys impairing the RBP-guided control of RNA fate by competing with other RNA substrates. This suggests that POLIII-derived ncRNAs serve essential and conserved roles in the assembly of larger RNPs and thus the control of gene expression by indirectly guiding the fate of mRNAs and lncRNAs.