Ordinary and Preference Shares

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What is Ordinary Shares
An ordinary share defines a single unit of equity ownership of a corporation, where the holders of the ordinary shares receive the right to cast a vote in decisions involving important corporate matters. Such votes are available to each ordinary shareholder in correspondence to the number of ordinary shares held within the company. Ordinary shareholders are the last to receive dividends, and are only entitled to funds which remain after dividends on preferred shares are paid. Ordinary share holders may not receive dividend payments every year, and payments to ordinary shareholders depend on reinvestment decisions made by the company directors. In an event of the company facing liquidation, the ordinary shareholders will be the last to receive their share of funds, after the creditors and preference shareholders are paid. As such ordinary shares are riskier than bonds or preference shares. Ordinary shares are also referred to as ‘common stock’. What is Preference Shares

A preference share contains features of equity and debt as the dividend payments to preference shareholders are fixed. The types of preference shares include cumulative preference shares – in which dividends including those in arrears from past terms are also paid, non-cumulative preference shares – where the missed out dividend payments are not carried forward, participating preference shares are where the holder receives dividends and any additional funds in times of financial stability, and convertible preference shares is where an option is available to convert shares into ordinary shares. Preference shares are offered preference in relation to ordinary shares, where the preference shareholder receives dividends before ordinary shareholders are paid out. Preference shareholders are paid a fixed dividend and have the first claim on the assets and earnings. As such, preference shareholders receive their share of the firm’s residual value before ordinary shareholders in...
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