Ordinary shares (also known as “common stock”) are basic certificates of ownership in a publicly traded company. These may be bearer shares or registered shares. Ordinary shares give their holder voting and ownership rights over a company.
A company may choose to issue preferred shares which endow their holders with special privileges above the basic rights available to holders of ordinary shares.
Ordinary shares may be registered shares or bearer shares. Ownership of registered ordinary shares is recorded in a company’s share register. Ownership of bearer shares is only recorded by brokers who broker trades and custodian banks which hold and administrate shares on behalf of shareholders.
In Switzerland, as in most other countries, holders of ordinary shares (both registered and bearer shares) are entitled to participate in the annual general meetings (AGMs) of the companies which they are shareholders of. They are also entitled to compensation in when a company’s assets are liquidated in the event of bankruptcy. Holders of ordinary shares may also receive dividends and may be granted the right to vote on certain corporate resolutions.
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