Preferred Stock vs Common Stock

  This blog post will explain the key distinctions between Preferred Stock vs Common Stock  types of investments so you can make smart portfolio decisions.  We’ll discuss topics like rights and privileges, voting power, dividends, and liquidation preferences to give you a comprehensive understanding of investing in preferred vs. common stock.

By the end of this article, you should have a much better understanding of what type of investment best suited for your goals!


What are preferred shares?


Preference Sharing  Also call reference shares, they are a type of security issue by a company that allows investors to take advantage of certain rights and advantages over ordinary shareholders.

Preferred shares act similarly to debt securities in that they offer the investor a fixed dividend payment schedule and priority in the event of a sale of assets or liquidation of the company. They have a greater right to dividends and assets than common stocks, making them attractive investments for those seeking returns with some security.

Offering these shares can also benefit companies by giving them access to additional funds without the need to take out loans or issue bonds. Preference shares typically classified into cumulative and non-cumulative categories depending on whether the dividend can be deferred.


As such, investors should carefully weigh their options when considering whether to invest in preferred stock or common stock .

What are ordinary shares?


Common Stock is a financial instrument that gives the investor a stake in the company. Common shares entitle holders to vote on critical corporate decisions, participate in dividend distributions and potentially benefit from capital appreciation of their shares.


This type of stock is typically riskier than preferred stock, as holders do not have any rights to the assets or dividends until all other creditors are paid. Ordinary shareholders have the right to vote.

Common shares represent an equity interest in a business, which means that profits are shared through capital appreciation or dividends, depending on their ability to generate profit. Common stocks generally do not have fixed dividend yields like preferred stocks.

Still, Common Shareholders benefit when there is long-term growth within a company because they earn higher capital gains on their Common Shares than preferred shareholders.

It’s important to remember that common stocks have no set time frame and can be held for years or even decades, providing consistent returns over time.

Common shares are the most common shares issued by a company and represent the primary form of ownership. These Shares also allow holders to receive capital gains when they are sold on the stock exchange at a higher price than purchased. Corporations may choose to issue preferred or common shares based on their size and complexity.


How are common and preferred shares different?


Here are some differences between preferred and common stock.


Preferences compartment –

Preferred shares  used by companies to raise capital that comes with a right to fixed dividends.

Preferred Shareholders do not have the right to vote in the operation of the company.

They cannot make decisions about the direction or strategy of the company.

Preferred shareholders are not eligible for additional incentive shares of the company.

Common shares –

Ordinary Shareholders have the right to vote on corporate decisions and may receive dividends when declared by the corporation. There is no fixed dividend payment amount and dividends are not guaranteed.

Common Shareholders may receive capital appreciation when their shares sell for a higher price than they  bought on the stock market.

Common shareholders may be eligible for additional incentive shares of the company, depending on company performance or other factors.

Types of preferred shares


The different types of preferred stock are:

  • Cumulative Preference Shares: These shares entitle their holder to a cumulative dividend if the company does not pay them on the promised dates.
  • Non-cumulative preferred stock: These shareholders  entitled to a lost dividend only if the company pays it.
  • Preferred Participation Shares: Such shares entitle their holders to a fixed dividend and give them the right to participate in the company’s profits.
  • Non-Participating Preference Shares: These shareholders do not have the right to participate in the company’s profits.
  • Convertible preference shares: They are convertible into common shares on specific dates or at the discretion of the board of directors.
  • Non-Convertible Preference Shares: These shares cannot be convert into common shares.
  • Redeemable Preferred Stock: These preferred shares may be redeem on a specified date or at the discretion of the board.
  • Non-Redeemable Preferred Stock: These preferred shares cannot be redeem.

Types of common shares


Here are some types of common stock:

  • Right Shares: These are the shares issue to existing shareholders in proportion to their holding.
  • Issued shares: These are those issued by a company in favor of any person other than its current shareholders.
  • Subscribed shares: Those issued in favor of the shareholders who have subscribed them.
  • Equity shares: These are the most common type of common stock with voting rights and variable returns based on a company’s performance.
  • Free shares: They  issued in favor of existing shareholders without charging a price or any payment.
  • Own shares: These are the shares that have  repurchased or repurchased by the company from its shareholders.

Who Issues Preferred Stock?


Basically, high-ranking officials of a company, such as the Board of Directors, Promoters, or Founders, can issue preferred shares when they want to raise capital.

The issuance and allocation of preferred shares  regulated by the Corporations Law and other regulations applicable in different countries.


Who issues common shares?


The board of directors has the power to issue common shares in order to increase capital or dilute ownership among different interested parties. They may also issue new shares to existing shareholders as a bonus for employee stock options or other reasons.

Common shares  issued through an Initial Public Offering (IPO), where the shares  offered to the public. In addition, private placement is another method of issuing common stock, which involves selling the securities to one or more institutional investors, such as venture capitalists or hedge funds.


The board also has the authority to issue special classes of shares, such as non-voting and restricted voting shares, with limited rights attached. Sometimes a company may issue stock options or warrants to its employees.

Preferred Stock vs. Common Stock: Which is Better?

There is no perfect answer to this question, as it depends on the risk appetite and personal goals of the individual investor.

Preferred shares offer greater security and stability than common shares because they provide regular income in the form of dividends throughout the life of the investment.

On the other hand, common stocks can provide higher returns if a company performs well, but they also carry a higher risk of loss due to fluctuations in the stock market.

Therefore, it is important that investors understand their own investment objectives and risk profile before deciding which type of stock to invest in.

Both preferred stock and common stock can be viable investments depending on the individual’s personal circumstances.

Frequently Asked Questions about Preferred Stock vs. Common Stock:

What is an important difference between a common share and a preferred share?

The main difference is that preferred stock gives priority to dividends over common stock and to the return of principal when the company goes into liquidation.


What types of common shares are there?

The most common types of common stock are right shares, issued shares, subscribed shares, labor shares, bonus shares, and treasury shares.

Who can issue preferred or common shares?

Preferred shares are typically issue by high-ranking officials in a company, such as the Board of Directors, Promoters, or Founders. Common shares  issued through an Initial Public Offering (IPO) or private placement.


What is the best type of stock to invest in?

The best type of stock to invest in depends on an individual’s risk appetite and personal goals. Preferred stock offers greater security and stability, while common stock can provide higher returns if the company performs well.

Ultimately, investors must decide what type of stock to invest in based on their own circumstances.

Are preferred stocks high risk?

Preferred stock is generally less risky than common stock.  So it prioritizes dividends and return of capital when the company goes into liquidation. However, investors should consider any other risks associated with investing in any type of stock.


Understanding Preferred stocks vs. common stocks are excellent investments that  tailored to the needs of different investors. Preferred shares provide a steady stream of income. So common shares offer the potential for higher returns if the company performs well.

However, investors should understand their own risk profile before determining what type of stock to invest in. It is important to remember that there is no single solution to investing; what works best for one person may not be appropriate for another.

Ultimately, by taking the time to research and evaluate your investment objectives, you can make an informed decision about whether preferred or common stock is right for you.

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