A person or other entity that owns at least one share of a company’s stock can be called a shareholder. By owning some of the company, shareholders experience the rise and fall of the company’s fortunes. A shareholder may also be referred to as a Stockholder – the two terms are interchangeable, although shareholder is more common in the UK and stockholder more common in the US.

Shareholders have certain rights and privileges as well as responsibilities that are spelled out in corporate governance
policies, and may differ from company to company. Shareholders that purchase shares through IPOs provide capital directly to the company; however, the overwhelming majority of shareholders are in the secondary market, meaning they provide no direct capital.

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