7 Types of Shares in Business


Type of shares

Shares represent units of ownership in a company, giving shareholders a claim on part of the company’s assets and earnings. Understanding the various types of shares is crucial for both investors looking to diversify their portfolios and businesses aiming to attract investment.

What Are Shares?

Shares, also known as stocks or equities, represent units of ownership in a company. When an individual buys shares, they essentially purchase a portion of the company, becoming a shareholder. This ownership entitles them to a share of the company’s profits, typically distributed as dividends, and grants them certain rights, such as voting on important corporate matters during shareholder meetings. The value of shares can fluctuate based on the company’s performance, market conditions, and investor sentiment.

By holding shares, investors can potentially benefit from both income (through dividends) and capital appreciation (through an increase in share price). Shares are a fundamental component of the stock market, enabling companies to raise capital for growth and operations while offering investors an opportunity to participate in the company’s success.

This article delves into the different types of shares, their characteristics, and the advantages and disadvantages each type offers.

1. Ordinary Shares

Definition: Ordinary shares, also known as common stock, represent equity ownership in a company. They are the most common type of shares issued by companies.


  • Voting rights: Typically, ordinary shareholders have one vote per share, allowing them to influence company decisions, such as electing the board of directors.
  • Dividends: Dividends on ordinary shares are variable and not guaranteed. They depend on the company’s profitability and decision by the board.
  • Capital growth potential: Ordinary shareholders have residual claims on the company’s assets after debts and preferred shareholders are paid. This means the potential for capital growth is high.

Advantages and Disadvantages:

  • Pros: Potential for significant capital gains and voting rights, giving shareholders a say in corporate governance.
  • Cons: Higher risk due to variable dividends and residual claims on assets only after other obligations are met.

2. Preferred Shares

Definition: Preferred shares offer preferential rights over ordinary shares, especially regarding dividends and asset claims.


  • Fixed dividends: Preferred shareholders receive fixed dividends, paid before dividends to ordinary shareholders.
  • No voting rights: Generally, preferred shareholders do not have voting rights unless specified otherwise.
  • Priority in assets: In the event of liquidation, preferred shareholders are paid before ordinary shareholders.

Types of Preferred Shares:

  • Cumulative vs. Non-cumulative: Cumulative preferred shares accumulate unpaid dividends, which must be paid out before any dividends on ordinary shares. Non-cumulative shares do not have this feature.
  • Convertible vs. Non-convertible: Convertible preferred shares can be converted into a predetermined number of ordinary shares. Non-convertible shares cannot.
  • Participating vs. Non-participating: Participating preferred shares may receive additional profits beyond the fixed dividend. Non-participating shares do not.

Advantages and Disadvantages:

  • Pros: Fixed dividends provide reliable income, and priority in asset claims offers greater security.
  • Cons: Limited capital growth and typically no voting rights.

3. Redeemable Shares

Definition: Redeemable shares can be bought back by the issuing company at a future date.


  • Redemption terms: Specified at the time of issuance, detailing when and how the company can buy back the shares.
  • Fixed or floating price: The redemption price may be fixed or determined by a formula outlined in the share terms.

Advantages and Disadvantages:

  • Pros: Flexibility for companies in managing their capital structure, and potentially higher dividends to compensate for the redeemable nature.
  • Cons: Uncertainty for investors about the redemption timing and price, and the potential for forced sale.

4. Non-Redeemable Shares

Definition: Non-redeemable shares cannot be bought back by the issuing company.


  • Permanent capital: Represents a long-term investment in the company without the option for the company to buy back the shares.

Advantages and Disadvantages:

  • Pros: Stability for investors who prefer a long-term commitment and consistent presence in the company’s equity.
  • Cons: Limited liquidity and a fixed investment period, reducing flexibility for the investor.

5. Treasury Shares

Definition: Treasury shares are previously issued shares that the company has repurchased and holds in its treasury.


  • No dividends or voting rights: Treasury shares do not confer dividends or voting rights while held by the company.
  • Uses: Often used for employee compensation plans, mergers and acquisitions, or to reduce dilution.

Advantages and Disadvantages:

  • Pros: Provides the company with flexible tools for strategic purposes and can boost earnings per share by reducing the number of shares outstanding.
  • Cons: No direct benefits to shareholders and potential concerns over market manipulation.

6. Growth Shares

Definition: Growth shares belong to companies expected to grow at an above-average rate compared to other firms.


  • Reinvestment of profits: Companies typically reinvest profits into the business rather than paying dividends, aiming for long-term capital appreciation.
  • High price volatility: Share prices reflect high growth expectations and can be volatile.

Advantages and Disadvantages:

  • Pros: High potential for capital gains, making them attractive for long-term investors looking for significant returns.
  • Cons: Higher risk due to volatility and potentially no dividends, depending on the company’s reinvestment strategy.

7. Income Shares

Definition: Income shares provide regular income through dividends.


  • High dividend yield: These shares offer attractive dividends, appealing to income-focused investors.
  • Stable companies: Typically issued by mature, established companies with stable earnings.

Advantages and Disadvantages:

  • Pros: Regular income through dividends and generally lower risk compared to growth shares.
  • Cons: Limited capital growth potential and dependency on the company’s performance and dividend policy.


Understanding the different types of shares is essential for making informed investment decisions. Each type of share offers unique benefits and risks, catering to various investment goals and risk tolerances. By diversifying their portfolios with a mix of different share types, investors can balance their need for income, growth, and security.