Key Differences between Preference shares vs Ordinary shares

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preference shares vs ordinary shares
preference shares vs ordinary shares

What is Preference shares vs Ordinary shares

Preference shares vs ordinary shares is commonly asked term in the world of stocks. When a company decides to raise capital by issuing shares, it can issue two types of shares – ordinary shares and preference shares.

Although both types of shares represent ownership in the company, they differ in various aspects, including voting rights, dividend payments, and priority in the event of bankruptcy.

Below, we will discuss the differences between ordinary shares and preference shares in detail.

What is a Stock / Share

A stock or share represents a unit of ownership in a company. When a company issues shares, it is essentially selling a small portion of itself to the public. The shareholders who purchase these shares become owners of the company and are entitled to certain rights, such as receiving dividends and participating in voting at company meetings.

In essence, when you buy a stock or share in a company, you become a part-owner of that company. Your ownership stake in the company is proportional to the number of shares you own relative to the total number of outstanding shares.

The value of a stock or share can fluctuate based on various factors, such as the performance of the company, market conditions, and investor sentiment. Investors can buy and sell shares on stock exchanges, and the price of a share is determined by the supply and demand of the market.

What are different types of shares

  1. Ordinary Shares
  2. Preference Shares
  3. Cumulative Preference Shares
  4. Non-Cumulative Preference Shares
  5. Redeemable Shares
  6. Convertible Shares
  7. Deferred Shares

What is Preference shares

These shares give shareholders priority over ordinary shareholders in terms of dividend payments and asset distribution in the event of bankruptcy.

Preference shareholders receive a fixed dividend payment, which is usually a percentage of the face value of the share. Preference share holders don’t have voting rights.

What is Ordinary Shares

Ordinary shares is also known as common shares, these are the most common type of shares that a company issues. These shares represent ownership in the company and provide shareholders with the right to vote at company meetings and receive dividends.

What is Stock Futures

Stock futures is the derivatives trading system, where you can trade a stock underlying asset for the predetermined price predictions of future. The price of a stock futures contract is based on the current market price of the underlying stock, and the future contract’s price will rise or fall in accordance with changes in the underlying stock price. Stock futures are typically used for hedging or speculative purposes, as traders can use them to refer a price of a stock to buy or sell for that underlying stock.

What are Convertible Shares

Convertible shares can be converted into another type of security, such as ordinary shares, at a predetermined price and time. This gives shareholders the option to convert their shares into a different security if they believe it will provide a better return on their investment.

Main differences between Preference shares vs Ordinary shares

Preference sharesOrdinary shares
Have voting rightsNo Voting rights
Dividends are paid at firstDividends are paid at last
Lower riskHigher risk
High priorityLow priority
Fixed dividendsVariable dividends

Key Point: Preference shares holders have an edge over ordinary investors in terms of dividend % and priority of payback during crisis

Types of Shares in USA

In the United States, there are two main types of shares that companies can issue:Preference shares vs ordinary shares

  1. Common Shares:
    • Common shares, also known as ordinary shares, represent ownership in a company and give the shareholder voting rights at shareholder meetings.
    • They also entitle the shareholder to a portion of the company’s profits, in the form of dividends, if and when they are paid out by the company’s board of directors. Common shares are the most widely held type of share and typically carry no special privileges or restrictions.
  2. Preferred Shares:
    • Preferred shares, also known as preference shares, are a type of share that typically offer higher dividend payments than common shares and have priority over common shares in the event of a company’s liquidation.
    • Preferred shares also may have certain other rights and preferences, such as the ability to be redeemed by the company or the ability to convert into common shares at a predetermined price or ratio. Preferred shares usually do not provide voting rights or have limited voting rights.

In addition to these two main types of shares, there are also various classes of shares that a company may issue, each with different voting rights, dividend payments, and other rights and preferences.

These may include Class A shares, Class B shares, and so on. The specific characteristics of each class of shares will be set out in the company’s articles of incorporation and bylaws.

Below are different types of Preference shares and their definition

What are Cumulative Preference Shares

These shares ensure that if a company is unable to pay dividends in one year, the amount owed is carried forward to the next year.

This means that if the company is profitable in the following year, the cumulative preference shareholders will receive their missed dividends before any other dividends are paid.

What are Non-Cumulative Preference Shares

These shares do not carry forward any unpaid dividends to the next year. If the company is unable to pay dividends in one year, the cumulative preference shareholders lose out on those dividends.


In conclusion, Preference shares vs Ordinary shares, are two different types of shares that companies can issue to raise capital. While both types of shares represent ownership in the company, they differ in various aspects, including voting rights, dividend payments, and priority in the event of bankruptcy.

Ordinary shareholders have voting rights, receive dividends after preference shareholders, and bear more risk. Preference shareholders, on the other hand, receive fixed dividends, have limited voting rights, and are paid out first in the event of bankruptcy or liquidation.

When deciding which type of share to invest in, investors should consider their risk appetite and investment goals.

If you read the article this far, regarding Preference shares vs ordinary shares, it means you’re an investor and looking to explore the opportunities in the world of stock market by looking for meaningful investment options. If you’re looking to invest in the Artificial Intelligence companies. We highly recommend to read “The best AI stocks in USA share market”, you will have a lot of insights.

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