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Ordinary Shares vs Common Shares (All You Need To Know)

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What is the difference between ordinary shares vs common shares?

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Let me explain to you the meaning of ordinary and common shares once and for all!

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Ordinary Shares vs Common Shares Overview

You’re reading about different companies online and you read about ordinary shares and common shares.

This makes you wonder…

What do ordinary and common shares mean anyway?

Since you are not the only one wondering about the difference between ordinary shares and common shares, I wrote this post to help answer this common question.

Keep reading as I will break down the meaning of ordinary and common shares.

Differences Ordinary Shares vs Common Shares 

What is the difference between ordinary shares and common shares?

In fact, ordinary shares and common shares are different terms used to refer to the same thing.

When you buy shares of stock on a stock exchange, most of the shares that are traded are common shares (or ordinary shares).

Voting Rights

Both common shares and ordinary shares refer to a type of stock that grants its holder the right to vote on important company matters.

Typically, every share of stock grants its holder one right to vote.

For instance, if you have 100 common shares, you will have 100 votes.

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Dividends

Both ordinary shares and common shares may entitle its holder to dividends if the board of directors decides to pay dividends.

Unlike preferred shares, common shareholders are not entitled to receive dividends.

If the company’s board of directors declares dividends, the common shareholders will receive them.

However, the shareholders cannot force the company to pay dividends.

Residual Rights

Ordinary and common shareholders have a residual claim in the company.

This means that by owning ordinary shares in a company, you own a portion of the company.

If the company does well over time, the value of your shares goes up.

On the flip side, if the company does not do well, the value of your shares goes down.

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Types of Share Classes

Ordinary and common shares represent one type of class of stock in a company’s share capital.

As a company evolves, it can choose to set different classes of shares giving its holders different rights and privileges.

Different types of shares will provide their holders different rights and privileges, such as:

  • Non-voting shares
  • Executive shares
  • Preference shares
  • Deferred shares
  • Common shares (or ordinary shares)

Non-voting shares are shares that do not grant their holder the right to vote on company matters.

Executive shares are typically shares that give their holders multiple voting rights per share.

Preference shares are shares that regularly pay dividends to their holders without granting any voting rights.

Deferred shares do not grant their holder the right to dividends for a set period or until certain conditions are met.

Finally, common or ordinary shares give their holders the right to vote and receive dividend payments after dividends to preference shareholders have been paid.

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Ordinary Shares vs Common Shares FAQ

What is the difference between ordinary and common shares?

Ordinary and common shares are both the same thing.

Both ordinary and common shares represent equity interest or ownership in a company.

As a shareholder, the ordinary shares give the shareholder the right to vote and potentially receive dividends if the company chooses to pay one.

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What are common shares?

A common share represents a fraction of ownership in a corporation.

For example, if a company has 100 million shares outstanding, owning 1 million shares gives you 1% ownership of the company.

What are ordinary shares?

Ordinary shares, also known as common shares, represent a fraction of ownership in a corporation.

Ordinary shares and common shares are different names to describe the same type of stock.

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Takeaways 

So there you have it folks!

What is the difference between ordinary shares and common shares?

In a nutshell, they both mean the same thing.

Ordinary and common shares represent shares of ownership in a corporation whose holder has the right to vote in company meetings and receive dividends if the company’s board declares dividends.

Now that you know the meaning of ordinary shares and common shares, good luck with your research!

Par value 
Face value 
Class A shares
Class B shares
Seed funding
Types of shares 
Deferred shares
Non-voting shares
Redeemable shares
Preference shares 
Management shares
Author

Editorial Staff
Hello Nation! I'm a lawyer by trade and an entrepreneur by spirit. I specialize in law, business, marketing, and technology (and love it!). I'm an expert SEO and content marketer where I deeply enjoy writing content in highly competitive fields. On this blog, I share my experiences, knowledge, and provide you with golden nuggets of useful information. Enjoy!

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