Roles & Responsibilities Of A Company Shareholder

shareholder meaning

Collectively, the shareholders are the owners of the company, since each share of stock entitles the owner to a say in how the corporation is run. Shareholders elect a board of directors to make the company’s major decisions, such as the number of shares to be issued to the public.

As these assets generate profits and as the profits are reinvested in additional assets, shareholders see a return as the value of their shares increases as stock prices rise. If the corporation chooses to pay an annual dividend, then shareholders will receive a cut of the profits every year. They’re more likely to issue growth stocks, in which all of the profits are reinvested.

Shareholder vs. Stakeholder: What’s the Difference?

Even preferred shareholders are paid before any potential remaining funds are distributed to common shareholders. Shareholders are a subset of the larger stakeholders’ grouping, but don’t take part in the day-to-day operations of the company or project. Most small businesses are private corporations owned by a small group of owners and investors.


Eddie’s project illustrates that there are two kinds of stockholders. The first type is a common stockholder in which a shareholder purchases common stock and is able to vote to elect the board of directors. Eddie has purchased Pear Products common stock, so he has been able to vote on issues, such as stock splits, where a company splits current stock into multiple shares. In fact, during the time of the project, his stock split into two shares.

Preferred stockholders receive a steady dividend before a common stockholder. This worries Eddie because if Pear Products has financial difficulties in the future, then he will not get his money back until preferred stockholders receive their money first. Eddie explains that although preferred stockholders are first in line to get paid, they cannot vote on any company issues. One of the greatest drawbacks of being a common stock investor is the volatility that accompanies the equity markets.

In this case, shareholders are banking on the fact that the right corporate management will help the company grow and generate even more profit. It’s this potential for future success that will help determine the stock price on the open market.

shareholder meaning

In addition, Eddie received dividends that were declared by Pear Products and amount to quarterly payments paid to the shareholders based on profits. A company that has preferred stock issued must make the dividend payment on those shares before a single penny can be paid out to the common stockholders. Ownership in a Portion of the Company.Previously, we discussed a corporate liquidation where bondholders and preferred shareholders are paid first. However, when business thrives, common shareholders own a piece of something that has value. Common shareholders have a claim on a portion of the assets owned by the company.

A shareholder, also referred to as a stockholder, is a person, company, or institution that owns at least one share of a company’s stock, which is known as equity. Because shareholders are essentially owners in a company, they reap the benefits of a business’ success. These rewards come in the form of increased stock valuations, or as financial profits distributed as dividends. Conversely, when a company loses money, the share price invariably drops, which can cause shareholders to lose money, or suffer declines in their portfolios’ values.

What’s the Difference Between the Equity Market and the Stock Market?

  • When investors buy shares of a company’s stock, they acquire ownership rights to the organization.
  • A corporation’s bylaws outline the specific rights of shareholders.

Ultimately, the decision of how of often dividends will be paid out is left to a company’s board of directors. Shareholders are the people who own shares of stock in a company.

Private corporations manage their stocks in a ledger maintained by the corporate secretary. It can be difficult to value these shares if the company is young or unproven. Shareholders play both direct and indirect roles in a company’s operations. They elect directors who appoint and supervise senior officers, including the chief executive officer and the chief financial officer. Investors stay away from companies that cannot meet earnings expectations but invest in stocks that consistently beat expectations.

If you decide to ride out extreme volatility, there’s no guarantee it will resolve to the upside, so you could ride it out only to experiencing a financial loss. A stock dividend is a proportionate distribution of additional shares of a company’s stock to owners of the common stock. In other words, you will receive additional shares of stock when a company declares a stock dividend, in contrast to a cash dividend.

And if the shareholder holds onto a growth stock for long enough, he could eventually sell it for a significant gain. For U.S. stocks in particular, there are no “set in stone” rules dictating the frequency of dividend payouts. That is to say, corporations have the freedom to set their own payout policies regarding both the size and timing of their distributions.

Shareholders who exercise their power are usually institutional shareholders with a large financial interest in the company. If an institutional investor buys a large amount of a company’s shares to gain control of the company, the institutional investor is engaging in a hostile takeover.

There’s no real way to escape the ups and downs that stock investors endure. When you invest, you hope to share in a company’s profits, but you become subject to its financial losses as well. If the price movements are too much for you as a common shareholder, you may wind up selling a stock without seeing it through to its full potential.

Common vs. Preferred Shareholders

You get certain rights as a shareholder, such as invitations to shareholder meetings and the ability to vote on issues that affect the direction of the company. You may also receive dividends or special incentives to invest in more shares. Companies depend on shareholders to buy their stocks to raise money for growth, research, development and marketing. The importance of shareholders to a business causes some managers to cater to the desires of shareholders without considering how they affect employees. In some cases, shareholders can pressure firm directors by refusing to reelect them, effectively excluding employee interests.

Shareholders, managers, board of directors and employees all have separate powers that act as checks and balances within the organization. Lastly, it is important for business people to understand the importance of a shareholder activist. This is a person who utilizes their rights as a shareholder of a publicly-traded corporation to force social change, such as the elimination of sweatshop use for a company. Eddie did share with his class that he is ranked unfortunately behind preferred stockholders by Pear Products.

What it means to be a shareholder?

A shareholder, also referred to as a stockholder, is a person, company, or institution that owns at least one share of a company’s stock, which is known as equity. Because shareholders are essentially owners in a company, they reap the benefits of a business’ success.

Shareholders possess certain rights to a company’s assets and dividends. If a company goes bankrupt, a bankruptcy court may award shareholders the rights to receive money from the liquidation of the company’s assets.

Shareholders take on greater risk as they receive next to nothing if the firm goes bankrupt, but they also have a greater reward potential through exposure to share price appreciation when the company succeeds. In contrast, preferred stocks generally experience less price fluctuation. When you take an ownership position in the stock of a company, you effectively become one of the owners of the business.

When investors buy shares of a company’s stock, they acquire ownership rights to the organization. A corporation’s bylaws outline the specific rights of shareholders. In most cases, shareholders acquire rights to vote in members of a corporation’s board of directors, and to vote on certain issues that impact the organization. The voting power of shareholders is dependent on the number of individual shares owned.

Unlike common shareholders, they own a share of the company’s preferred stock and have no voting rights or any say in the way the company is managed. Instead, they are entitled to a fixed amount of annual dividend, which they will receive before the common shareholders are paid their part. A bankruptcy situation is regretful for equity and debt investors alike, but the fallout can be especially punishing for common stock shareholders. Once a company becomes insolvent, it is usually required by a bankruptcy court to use remaining assets to pay creditors. Typically, this means that a company’s suppliers are paid first, followed by holders of the company’s debt.

If you’re a dividend investor, you can be in for some unwelcome surprises as a common stockholder. Corporations aren’t obligated to use their profits to provide you with cash-dividend incentives. When there is enough cash flow from which to pay dividends, preferred shareholders — another investor type — take priority for receiving those distributions. Common shareholders are still part owners of the business, and if the business can to turn a profit, common shareholders benefit. The liquidation preference we described above makes logical sense.