Whether you’re an investor in public or closely held company, it’s important to know what are three 3 of the rights of a shareholder. This information is essential to making informed decisions when investing.
Shareholders can vote, receive dividends, and dispose of their shares. These rights may vary from state to state, but they’re generally standard for any publicly traded company in the United States.
The Right to Vote
The right to vote is an important aspect of shareholder ownership. It allows investors to influence the Company’s direction and hold its management accountable.
The number of voting rights an investor receives will vary by type of stock. Common shareholders typically get one vote per share they own, while preferred shareholders receive more limited votes.
Most companies allow their shareholders to attend annual meetings where they can vote on matters such as executive compensation and the board of directors. They can also vote on other issues that affect the Company’s performance, such as mergers and acquisitions or dividend payouts.
However, shareholders can’t vote on day-to-day issues such as hiring and firing, budget allocation, or product development. Rather, they must wait until the Company holds an annual or special meeting.
To cast their votes, shareholders often use proxy voting, which allows them to authorize someone else to vote on their behalf. This usually involves using a legal power of attorney or similar authority.
In some cases, shareholders may vote blank or choose no candidate or option on the ballot. These are often done as an act of protest. But these are usually not considered valid votes. The same applies to votes for the write-in option, used to vote for a candidate or issue that wasn’t on the ballot.
The Right to Receive Dividends
The right to receive dividends is a fundamental property right of shareholders in a company. The ability to receive a lump sum payment from a corporation is one of the reasons that shareholders value their shares so highly.
This right is tricky to navigate since a company’s directors control the dividend process. They decide how much of the Company’s profits to pay out in a cash dividend, stock options, or other forms of distribution.
In many cases, the most profitable dividends aren’t paid to shareholders but are distributed to executives or other top-tier employees. This can be a problem for the average minority shareholder, who may not be able to negotiate these types of payments.
As with other rights, the right to receive the largest possible dividend from a company should not be taken for granted. Suppose a shareholder or group of shareholders feels that their hard-earned money is not being properly rewarded for the value they have placed in the corporation. In that case, they should take steps to ensure that their interests are protected. The best way to do this is to consult an experienced corporate attorney. The right to receive the largest possible cash or stock dividend from a company should be a top priority for all shareholders.
The Right to Dispose of Shares
The right to dispose of shares is a key shareholder aspect. This is usually governed by a company constitution which sets out how you must transfer your shares, which you can sell them to, and the terms and conditions of sale. This includes using a share transfer form, compliance with company law, and an agreement between you and the directors, known as a Shareholder’s Agreement.
When disposing of shares, you must consider the cost per share of the shares you are selling. This can be calculated by dividing the original price of the shares by the number of shares you are disposing of. If you have received a rights issue or other bonus shares, this cost is an enhancement expenditure that must be factored into the disposal cost. You should seek professional advice on this complex calculation if it is unclear to you. A company lawyer can help you ensure that you comply with these requirements. They will also advise you on whether the Company has a ROFR or any other contractual terms between shareholders, which may affect your ability to dispose of your shares.