Difference Between Equity Shares and Preference Shares

A company's ownership is represented by its equity shares. Preference shares, however, have a higher claim on the assets and earnings of the business. Additionally, the primary distinction between preference and equity shares is the ability to vote and the right to receive dividends and assets from the corporation. Preference shareholders have preferential claims over the company's assets and earnings, whereas equity shareholders can vote. The distinctions between preference and equity shares are enumerated in this article. Let's first review equity and preference shares before comparing them to equity shares.

What are equity shares?

Equity shares signify ownership in a company, where investors contribute capital in exchange for a stake in the company's ownership. They typically enjoy voting rights in crucial company decisions, along with potential capital appreciation and dividends.

What are preference shares?

On the other hand, preference shares offer investors preferential rights over common shareholders concerning the company's profits and assets. Preference shareholders are more entitled to receive dividends than equity shareholders, and in the event of liquidation, they prioritise receiving assets over common shareholders.

Here's a breakdown of the key differences between equity and preference shares:

Definition: Equity shares denote ownership in a company, while preference shares grant preferential rights over company profits and assets to shareholders.

Return: Equity shares offer potential capital appreciation, whereas preference shares provide regular dividend income.

Dividend Pay-out: Equity shareholders receive dividends after preference shareholders are paid theirs.

Dividend Rate: Dividend rates for preference shares are typically fixed, while equity dividends vary based on earnings.

Shares: Equity shareholders may receive bonus shares, unlike preference shareholders.

Capital Repayment: Preference shareholders are repaid before equity shareholders during company liquidation.

Voting Rights: Equity shareholders have voting rights, while preference shareholders generally do not.

Participation in Management Decisions: Equity shareholders participate in management decisions through voting, while preference shareholders typically do not.

Redemption: Equity shares cannot be redeemed, while preference shares can be.

Convertibility: Preference shares can often be converted into equity shares, unlike equity shares.

Capitalization: Equity shares typically offer a higher chance of capitalization compared to preference shares.

Types: Equity shares include various types like ordinary, bonus, rights, etc., while preference shares come in convertible, non-convertible, redeemable, etc., forms.

Financing: Equity shares serve as a source of long-term funding, whereas preference shares serve as a source of medium to long-term financing.

Mandate: Companies are required to issue equity share capital, while not all companies have to issue preference share capital.

Investment: Equity shares are generally considered lower risk, while preference shares are more suitable for risk-averse investors.

Company's Obligation: Companies are not obligated to pay dividends to equity shareholders, whereas they must pay dividends to preference shareholders.

Liquidity: Equity shares are highly liquid and traded on the stock market, while preference shares are less liquid.


Finally, understanding the differences between equity and preference shares is critical for new investors . Equity shares indicate ownership positions in a company, with the possibility for capital appreciation and dividends, as well as voting rights in crucial decisions. Preference shares, on the other hand, give holders preferential rights to the company's profits and assets, prioritizing dividend payments and asset distribution in the case of liquidation.

If you're looking to invest in equity shares or seeking guidance on equity investments, MoneyEdge's Equity Plus Services will provide valuable financial guidance. Our team of financial advisors will assist you in making informed decisions aligned with your financial goals.


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