What Is A Shareholder? How Does It Work?

When you buy a stock, you technically become a part-owner of a company or business — although generally without the responsibility of the day-to-day running of that business. There are a number of rights and benefits that come with being a shareholder, whether you own one share or thousands.

Publicly traded, for-profit companies can raise money by selling shares to investors, who in turn become part owners of the company. When shares are purchased as part of a company’s initial public offering (IPO), the funds go directly to the company. Once they’re trading hands between shareholders, of course, companies no longer raise money from those transactions.

What is a shareholder?

A shareholder is a person who directly or indirectly holds a specified number of shares in a company’s initial public offering, or is a preferred shareholder. If the shares are bought by company insiders, there is also the possibility that the investor will influence management, the company’s board of directors, or the board of advisers. Shares can also be owned by institutions, mutual funds, and other investors, although they may own shares in a non-public forum. Typically, investors buy shares to keep the company in business and to share in its profits. Some may want to sell their shares for tax reasons and then become passive investors. Others may buy shares to add to the total capital of a company or to guarantee a level of voting rights, such as that of preferred shareholders.

How does it work?

A share in a company is similar to owning a part of a stock portfolio. Each shareholder buys a portion of a company, usually with the intent of holding onto the share long term. The price for a share of stock can be linked to the company’s profits and performance. Buyers often are attracted to the company’s potential future performance. As you’ll see, you could make a substantial profit if the stock does well or even lose money if it doesn’t. Typically, for-profit companies list their shares on a publicly traded exchange. What is a stock’s price? In the case of publicly traded companies, it’s a common misconception that shares are traded as one large unit. Most companies don’t market their shares as if they were shares of stock.

What is the role of a shareholder?

A shareholder is the main person or body of people who directly own shares in a company. They have the right to vote on corporate matters or nominate a member to a company’s board of directors. A share has an ownership interest in the company, but it doesn’t necessarily have the same rights and responsibilities as a full investor. Shareholders are often the owners of businesses, and often have some sort of formal connection to the company. That could be that they have bought shares in the company on behalf of their employees, or they work for a related company. Is it better to own shares in a company or not? A shareholder owns a portion of a company’s shares a small percentage of the total number of shares.

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What are the benefits of being a shareholder?

There are a number of perks that come with being a shareholder. As a shareholder, you have more of a say in how a company is run, including receiving voting rights — or the right to vote shares according to how they vote on company matters — and being eligible for dividends and other share-price-boosting incentives. Can I take my share of the company with me if I leave it? No, that’s not how it works. For an IPO, for example, once a company reaches a certain number of shareholders, it is required to register with the SEC. At this point, shares can still be taken home but must be declared to the commission within 10 days of purchase and then accounted for in the company’s annual financial filing.

Shareholder’s rights and responsibilities

If you invest in a publicly traded company, your rights and responsibilities will depend largely on whether you’re investing in the same company as a small number of other people, or whether you’re investing in a group of private companies. Either way, you’ll want to know what rights you have, what responsibilities you’ll have, and when you can expect to see some of your money back. To find out whether you have ownership in the business, it helps to understand how a publicly traded company works and its ownership structure. Publicly traded companies are required by law to make a certain percentage of revenue available for investment in the company’s share price in order to maintain their status as public companies.

The disadvantage of being a shareholder

While the benefits of being a shareholder are fairly obvious, for-profit companies generally have a number of disadvantages. Some of them are bad for you and others could mean losing money. Let’s look at two of the biggest disadvantages of being a shareholder: Membership dues Just being a member of a company can be expensive. All publicly traded, for-profit companies have to pay an annual fee to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to be able to raise money, which represents a cost of $11 for every $10,000 in shareholder equity. While the minimum fee is a small percentage of the total raising funds, there’s no such thing as getting a break.

Why are shareholders important in a company?

Shareholders own the rights associated with the shares they hold and can control how the business operates. Without a willing buyer, companies cannot raise capital, and without a stockholders’ equity, businesses cannot grow and can remain stagnant. If a stockholder, or the company, has a stake in the company, they hold the power to influence decision making, as well as a significant influence on whether the business succeeds or fails. What rights are common to all common shareholders? Common shareholders typically have the right to participate in the management of the company, such as voting at shareholder meetings. There are two types of common shares: voting and non-voting. Voting shares allow shareholders to vote at meetings; non-voting shares have no voting rights.

How to become a shareholder?

Owning stock in a publicly-traded company can be a good way to become a part-owner of the business. Many companies are created, run, and managed by a board of directors. They select the business’s management, and the president or CEO of the company is usually on the board. You are a shareholder of the company’s decision-making. You also own stock in companies that are privately held. Private companies typically hire an independent board of directors, who are responsible for appointing the company’s management team and setting the company’s annual and longer-term strategic direction.

What powers do shareholders have?

Generally speaking, shareholders have two main rights: one is to participate in the company’s decision-making process, through voting shares. This allows them to have a say in the way that a business is run a shareholder could have two votes, one for the directors on the board and one for the management team. The other power of a shareholder is to invest their money in the company there are two ways they can do this. The first is to purchase stock through the company. The second is to buy stocks in the open market and hold them in their own name. For companies with annual revenue below the revenue threshold for the Financial Stability Board’s listing guidelines, shareholders have to be “equity holders.” These are investors who are buying shares to control a company.


Business owners and private investors of all types need to invest in shares to reap the benefits of capital appreciation and to lower their risk of volatility. The new tax law is making it a lot easier to invest in publicly traded companies. Being an investor will provide you with ownership of the company, which will enhance your overall financial outlook.

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NB: The purpose of this website is to provide a general understanding of personal finance, basic financial concepts, and information. It’s not intended to advise on tax, insurance, investment, or any product and service. Since each of us has our own unique situation, you should have all the appropriate information to understand and make the right decision to fit with your needs and your financial goals. I hope that you will succeed in building your financial future.