10 Differences Between shares and debentures

What is/are shares

Shares are units of ownership in a company, typically representing a claim on the company’s assets and earnings. When individuals purchase shares, they become shareholders of the company and have the potential to earn dividends and capital gains. Shareholders also have the right to vote on certain company matters, such as the election of directors.

Examples of shares

1. Common Shares: These are the most common type of shares, representing ownership in a company and providing voting rights to shareholders.
2. Preferred Shares: These shares provide certain preferences over common shares, such as priority dividend payments or liquidation preferences.
3. Treasury Shares: These are previously issued shares that the company has repurchased and are held in the company’s treasury.
4. Non-Voting Shares: These shares do not grant voting rights to shareholders but still provide ownership in the company.

Uses of shares

– Raising Capital: Companies issue shares to raise funds for various purposes such as expansion, research and development, or debt repayment.
– Employee Compensation: Companies may offer shares as part of employee compensation packages to align employees’ interests with the company’s success.
– Trading and Investment: Shares can be bought and sold on stock exchanges, providing opportunities for individuals to invest and trade in the stock market.

What is/are debentures

Debentures are long-term debt instruments issued by companies and government entities to raise capital. When individuals invest in debentures, they become creditors to the issuer and receive fixed interest payments over a specified period. Unlike shares, debenture holders do not have ownership rights in the company.

Examples of debentures

1. Convertible Debentures: These debentures can be converted into shares of the issuing company at a predetermined conversion ratio.
2. Non-Convertible Debentures: These debentures cannot be converted into shares and provide fixed interest payments until maturity.
3. Secured Debentures: These debentures are backed by specific assets of the company, providing an additional level of security to debenture holders.
4. Unsecured Debentures: These debentures are not backed by any specific asset and depend on the issuer’s creditworthiness for repayment.

Uses of debentures

– Borrowing Capital: Companies and government entities issue debentures as a means to borrow capital for business operations or specific projects.
– Diversifying Funding Sources: Issuing debentures allows companies to diversify their sources of funding beyond traditional bank loans or equity financing.
– Meeting Interest Payment Obligations: Companies use debentures to raise funds to meet interest payment obligations on existing debt.

Differences Table

Difference Area Shares Debentures
Owning Shares represent ownership in the company. Debentures do not provide ownership rights; they represent debt owed by the issuer.
Profit Sharing Shareholders are entitled to share in the company’s profits through dividends. Debenture holders receive fixed interest payments, which do not depend on company profits.
Voting Rights Shareholders have the right to vote on certain company matters. Debenture holders do not have voting rights.
Priority in Liquidation Shareholders have the lowest priority in the event of liquidation. Debenture holders have higher priority in recovering their investment during liquidation.
Risk and Return Shares have a higher risk but potentially offer higher returns through capital appreciation. Debentures are considered less risky as they offer fixed interest payments, but with lower returns.
Conversion Option Shares cannot be converted into other securities. Convertible debentures can be converted into shares at a predetermined ratio.
Security Shares do not have any specific assets backing them. Secured debentures are backed by specific company assets.
Interest Payments Shares do not provide fixed interest payments. Debentures offer fixed interest payments until maturity.
Liquidity Shares can be bought and sold on stock exchanges, providing liquidity. Debentures are less liquid as they are not traded on stock exchanges.
Role Shareholders have an ownership role in the company. Debenture holders have a lender role, being creditors to the company.


In summary, shares represent ownership in a company and offer potential for profits through dividends and capital gains, while debentures represent debt and provide fixed interest payments. Shares grant voting rights and have a higher risk and return profile, while debentures do not have voting rights and are considered less risky with lower returns. Understanding the differences between shares and debentures is crucial for making informed investment decisions.

People Also Ask

1. Can I lose my investment if I own shares?
Yes, there is a risk of losing your investment in shares if the company’s value decreases or faces financial difficulties.

2. Do debentures always pay interest?
Yes, debentures typically offer fixed interest payments until maturity, which are contractually binding.

3. How do I buy shares?
You can buy shares through a brokerage account or an online trading platform.

4. Can I convert debentures into shares?
Only convertible debentures can be converted into shares based on a predetermined conversion ratio.

5. Are shares more suitable for long-term or short-term investments?
Shares can be suitable for both long-term and short-term investments, depending on an individual’s investment goals and risk tolerance.

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