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What are the main differences between ordinary shares and preference shares?
Ordinary shares and preference shares are two common types of shares that represent ownership in a company, but they have distinct characteristics and provide shareholders with different rights and privileges. Here are the main differences between ordinary shares and preference shares:

1. Voting Rights:
- Ordinary Shares: Ordinary shareholders typically have voting rights in the company. They can participate in important decisions at shareholders' meetings and influence corporate policies and management decisions.
- Preference Shares: Preference shareholders often do not have voting rights or have limited voting rights. They might only vote on matters directly affecting their class of shares, such as changes to dividend preferences.

2. Dividend Priority:
- Ordinary Shares: Ordinary shareholders have no fixed claim on dividends. They receive dividends only if the company's board of directors decides to distribute profits after paying obligations to preference shareholders and other creditors.
- Preference Shares: Preference shareholders have a fixed dividend rate or a predetermined dividend amount. They receive dividends before ordinary shareholders, providing a degree of income stability.

3. Risk and Reward:
- Ordinary Shares: Ordinary shareholders bear more risk as their dividends are not guaranteed, and they are more exposed to the company's performance. However, they also have the potential for higher rewards, as they can benefit from increases in the company's share price and profitability.
- Preference Shares: Preference shareholders have a more predictable income stream due to their fixed dividends, but they generally do not participate in the company's profits beyond their specified dividend rate. They have a lower risk profile but may miss out on potential windfall gains.

4. Liquidation Rights:
- Ordinary Shares: In the event of the company's liquidation, ordinary shareholders have a claim on the company's assets after all debts, including those owed to preference shareholders, have been paid off. They have residual rights to the remaining assets.
- Preference Shares: Preference shareholders often have a higher priority in receiving their initial investment back in the event of liquidation. They typically have a liquidation preference, ensuring that they get their capital back before ordinary shareholders receive any proceeds.

5. Convertible and Non-Convertible:
- Ordinary Shares: Ordinary shares are usually non-convertible, meaning they cannot be exchanged for another class of shares.
- Preference Shares: Some preference shares may be convertible, allowing shareholders to exchange them for ordinary shares or another class of shares under certain conditions.

Ordinary shares offer voting rights and potential for higher returns but come with greater risk, while preference shares provide fixed dividends, limited or no voting rights, and greater stability but with limited potential for capital appreciation. Investors choose between these types of shares based on their financial objectives, risk tolerance, and investment strategies.

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