What is a company shareholder?

Fintech Harbor Consulting | What is a company shareholder?
Reviewer: Bohdan Popovchenko
Reviewer: Illia Ivanko
Table of contents

What is a shareholder?

A shareholder (also called shareowner or stockholder) can be a person, a company, or an organization that owns shares of a company’s stock. When you own these shares, it means you have a part in the legal entity and come with certain rights and responsibilities. As shareowners, they get to enjoy the advantages that come with a legal entity’s success.
Company shareholder can benefit from the company’s success in two ways: by seeing the stock value increase or by receiving dividends. But, they also face the risk of losing money if the legal entity performs poorly. Stockholders play a crucial role in corporate governance. They take part in meetings and vote on important issues. They ensure the company’s management is accountable for their decisions.
Shareowners, also referred to as “members,” are the owners of limited liability companies. To become a shareholder, you need to own at least one share of the legal entity. How much ownership a person has in the business depends on the number and value of shares they own.

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What is the role of a company shareholder?

As a company shareholder, you have more responsibilities than just receiving profits. Let’s delve into some of these important duties:
Corporate shareholders play an active role in determining the responsibilities of the directors of the company. This includes appointing or removing directors from their positions. Shareowners are responsible for determining the salaries of the legal entity’s directors. Deciding on directors’ pay requires careful thinking. It’s important to consider living costs and ensure fair compensation without harming corporate financial stability.
Company shareholder can make decisions beyond the directors’ authority, like changing the company’s constitution. Company shareholders review and approve the legal entity’s financial statements. It’s important for ensuring clear and effective financial management.

Rights and Responsibilities of Shareholders

Company shareholder has important voting rights in a legal entity. They can vote for board members, appoint or remove directors, and decide their powers. Shareowners have the ability to influence the transfer of an entity’s shares.
After legal entity formation, a company shareholder becomes an owner or part-owner of the legal entity. This is different from a subscriber, who is the first member of the legal entity during its formation. Subscribers’ names are listed in the memorandum of association. And even if they leave or retire their names remain on the memorandum.
Fintech Harbor Consulting | What is a company shareholder?

Rights of company shareholders

Shareowners are the backbone of companies in the corporate world. Shareowners are co-owners of the legal entity. They have important rights to safeguard their investments and have a say in important decisions for the firm. These rights ensure transparency, accountability, and fairness within organizations.
Voting Rights
Stockholders have a powerful right to vote. Every share equals one vote. He can share their opinions on important things like salaries and mergers. This helps make sure corporate decisions match their interests and includes everyone’s input.
Access to Information
Company shareholders can access comprehensive financial data, reports, and strategies. This transparency helps them make informed decisions, assess risk, and rate management. It empowers shareowners to hold management accountable and make wise investments.
Dividend Entitlement/Rewards
Stockholders receive dividends as a reward for investing. Dividends represent the firm’s profits and show its success. This motivates them to stay invested and support long-term growth.
Preemptive Rights
Existing shareowners get first dibs on new shares before external investors. This protects their ownership and influence, preventing dilution. Owners safeguard their interests and commitment to the corporation’s future.
Company shareholders can examine the corporation’s actions and finances. This helps check management, ensure compliance, and detect issues. By inspecting records, stockholders promote transparency and accountability.
Right to Sue
Shareowners can sue management for misconduct or mismanagement. This acts as a safeguard against corporate wrongdoing and promotes ethical behaviour. Holding management accountable fosters responsible decision-making.
Fintech Harbor Consulting | What is a company shareholder?

Responsibilities of Company shareholders

Company shareholders have significant responsibilities that go beyond owning shares. They must make well-informed decisions before investing in a firm. They need to analyze potential risks and rewards with great care. Shareowners play a vital role in overseeing the legal entity’s management and its performance. They watch the legal entity’s money, make sure it follows the rules, and see how well the management is doing its job. If necessary, they take action to protect the legal entity’s interests.
Company shareholders have important responsibilities in a company:
  • They provide money to the company by buying shares.
  • They receive dividends and see their shares’ value increase.
  • They must attend meetings and be informed about what’s happening.
  • Shareowners can ask for the company to close down if it’s fair.
  • If they feel treated unfairly, they can go to court for help.
  • Stockholders can tell directors what to do, but they need to be careful.
  • They can send someone to vote for them at meetings.
  • Stockholders can ask for a meeting if the directors don’t do it.
  • Corporate shareholders need to remember their actions affect the company and its people.

Types of shareholders

There are two main types of shareholders: preferred and common. Preferred: They buy shares in a legal entity and get first dibs on any profits made. They get their profits before common shareholders. They often get higher dividends and interest. Common: These are individuals or corporations who don’t get priority on profits. They receive profits after preferred shareholders. They usually don’t get higher dividends or interest.
Shareowners are also divided into the following types:
Insider Shareholders: They work for the legal entity and own shares as part of their compensation. Executives and employees often receive shares as a part of their pay. Non-Insider Shareholders: These individuals don’t work for the legal entity but own shares in it. Venture Capitalist Shareholders: They invest in a legal entity by buying shares. They do this to have partial ownership and possibly influence management decisions.
If a firm raises money by borrowing, typically by issuing debentures, the individuals or entities who hold those debentures are known as “Debenture holders.” Debentures are a type of loan instrument, and when people invest in them, they become Debenture holders.
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Differences between a shareholder, participant, guarantor, member, and directors in a company

Shareholder and a participant

A shareholder is an owner with a financial stake in a firm, holding shares and having voting rights. A participant is someone who takes part in a specific event or program. They are involved but do not own or have any financial interest in the organization.

Shareholder and a guarantor

In companies, there are two types of members: shareholders and guarantors. They have different roles when it comes to ownership and financial responsibilities. A corporate shareholder owns parts of the legal entity by having shares, while guarantors own the legal entity through guarantees. If a legal entity has debts, shareholders are responsible for paying an amount equal to the value of their unpaid shares. On the other hand, guarantors commit to paying a fixed sum, known as a ‘guarantee,’ to cover debts.
Shareholder in a company receives a percentage of the firm’s profits. It is based on the number and value of their shares. In contrast, companies limited by guarantee, which are often set up by non-profit organizations, do not have shares. So, guarantors usually do not receive any profits from the legal entity.

Shareholder and a member

A member is an owner of the legal entity whose name is listed in the register of members. They give some powers to the directors to manage the legal entity for them. On the other hand, a shareowner is someone who purchases and holds shares in a legal entity with share capital.

Shareholder and a director

These roles are entirely distinct. A company shareholder owns a part of the legal entity and helps with money. They get a share of the profits and have the most control over the firm’s management through the directors.
Fintech Harbor Consulting | What is a company shareholder?

Can a shareholder be a director?

In many cases, the founder of a legal entity takes on multiple roles as a director and shareowner. But even if you are not the founder, you might still become a director and company shareholder. These roles have their unique rights and responsibilities.
Limited company shareholders own company shares, but they don’t manage the daily business; that’s the directors’ job. But limited company shareholders have the power and can become directors if they want. So, if you start a limited company, you can be a stockholder and appoint yourself as a director.
You can have as many shareowners and directors as you want in a legal entity. This means you can bring in partners and appoint new directors at any time. To be a director, you must be at least 16 years old and not bankrupt or disqualified.

Can a company own shares in another company?

A legal entity can own another legal entity and when this happens, the owned company is known as a subsidiary.
A subsidiary entity is a term used to describe a firm that is owned by another company, referred to as the parent company or holding legal entity. The subsidiary can be owned by one parent company or multiple parent companies.

What information about company shareholders is publicly available?

The register of shareholders is a regularly updated list of people who currently own shares in the legal entity. It shows their names, addresses, and the number of shares they have. Sometimes, it might also include details about the type of business and the price they paid for the shares. Different countries have their own rules and requirements for maintaining such a register. Additionally, each country has its regulations about how much of this information is on public access.
Information about all limited companies incorporated in the UK is available on the public register. This information includes details about the company, its directors and members. Anyone interested can access this information by searching on the Companies House website. You can find out how many shares a legal entity has and the type of shares it issues. Besides you can get information about the shareowners and their ownership.
It’s important to note that the information in the register may not always be the most up-to-date. Any changes in shares that occur after the company’s incorporation do not have to be reported until the company submits its annual confirmation statement. So, for the most current share information, waiting until the next confirmation statement is filed might be necessary.


Shareholders are individuals, companies, or institutions that own at least one share of a company’s stock. They have ownership rights and can influence decisions. Corporate shareholders may also receive a share of the legal entity’s profits.
Being a company shareholder means having a stake in the legal entity’s success and growth. You can participate in voting. Also, you can take part in important decisions making at annual meetings. This involvement gives stockholders a sense of responsibility for the legal entity’s performance.
Company shareholder can benefit from capital appreciation if the company’s stock value increases over time. Stockholder may also receive dividends as a reward for the investment. Overall, corporate shareholders are crucial for a legal entity’s functioning. They provide financial support, actively participate in decision-making, and share in the legal entity’s successes and profits.
Being a company shareholder offers potential financial rewards and a sense of connection to the legal entity’s growth.
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