Difference Wiki

Investor vs. Shareholder: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Published on November 11, 2023
An Investor allocates capital with the expectation of returns, while a Shareholder owns a portion of a company through stock ownership.

Key Differences

An Investor is an individual or entity that allocates money or capital into assets, ventures, or projects expecting a financial return. This return can come in various forms, like interest, dividends, or appreciation in value.
A Shareholder, on the other hand, is an individual or entity that owns shares or stock in a corporation. By this ownership, they hold a claim on part of the company's assets and earnings. Notably, a Shareholder is a type of Investor, specifically in equity or stocks.
Investors have a broader scope than Shareholders. They can invest in a myriad of assets, including real estate, bonds, mutual funds, startups, or commodities. Their primary goal is to increase their initial investment over time.
Conversely, Shareholders are bound to the fortunes of the specific company they own stock in. Their returns come in the form of dividends or stock price appreciation. Additionally, Shareholders may have voting rights in the company, influencing its direction.
In essence, while all Shareholders are Investors, not all Investors are Shareholders. The main distinction lies in the type of asset or venture they've invested in and the nature of their ownership.

Comparison Chart


Allocates capital expecting returns.
Owns shares or stock in a company.


Can invest in various assets and ventures.
Specific to equity ownership in a corporation.


Can come from interest, appreciation, dividends, etc.
Typically from dividends or stock appreciation.


Varies based on the type of investment.
Often has voting rights in a company.


Has a broader relationship with the investment world.
Has a specific relationship with one or more companies.

Investor and Shareholder Definitions


A party that makes an investment into one or multiple categories.
She became an Investor in both real estate and stocks.


An owner of shares in a company.
As a Shareholder, Lisa attended the annual meeting.


One who puts money into financial schemes, shares, or property.
The startup found an Investor willing to fund their idea.


A stakeholder with voting rights in a company based on stock ownership.
The Shareholder used his rights to vote against the merger.


Someone who commits capital to gain financial returns.
The Investor was pleased with the annual dividend.


A person, company, or institution that holds stock in a company.
The company's profit pleased every Shareholder.


A person seeking to increase their wealth through investments.
The Investor researched thoroughly before buying bonds.


An individual with an equity position in a corporation.
The decision was made with the majority Shareholder's consent.


To commit (money or capital) in order to gain a financial return
Invested their savings in stocks and bonds.


Someone entitled to a share of the company's profits.
Dividends were distributed equally among Shareholders.


To spend or devote for future advantage or benefit
Invested much time and energy in getting a good education.


One that owns a share or shares of a company or investment fund. Also called shareowner.


To devote morally or psychologically, as to a purpose; commit
"Men of our generation are invested in what they do, women in what we are" (Shana Alexander).


One who owns shares of stock in a corporation.
Shareholders are the real owners of a publicly traded business, but management runs it.


To endow with authority or power
The Constitution invests Congress with the power to make laws.


One who holds or owns a share or shares in a joint fund or property.


To install in office with ceremony
Invest a new emperor.


Someone who holds shares of stock in a corporation


To provide with an enveloping or pervasive quality
"A charm invests a face / Imperfectly beheld" (Emily Dickinson).


To clothe; adorn.


To cover completely; envelop.


To surround with troops or ships; besiege.


To make investments or an investment
Invest in real estate.


To purchase with the expectation of benefit
We decided to invest in a new car.


A person who invests money in order to make a profit.


One who invests.


Someone who commits capital in order to gain financial returns


An individual allocating money expecting profit.
As an Investor, John diversified his portfolio.


Do all Investors have voting rights like Shareholders?

No, only Shareholders in certain types of stock have voting rights in a company.

How does an Investor differ from a Shareholder?

An Investor allocates capital for returns, while a Shareholder owns a part of a company through stock.

Is every Shareholder an Investor?

Yes, by owning stock, they've invested in that company.

Why might an Investor choose not to be a Shareholder?

They might seek different investment opportunities or avoid stock market volatility.

Can an Investor have influence over a company without being a Shareholder?

It's possible, especially if they're a significant creditor or have other leverage.

Which carries more risk: being an Investor or a Shareholder?

Risk varies by specific investment, but Shareholders are directly tied to company performance.

What is a majority Shareholder?

Someone who owns more than 50% of a company's shares.

Do Shareholders always receive dividends?

No, dividend distribution depends on company profit and its policies.

Can an Investor get returns without being a Shareholder?

Yes, returns can come from various investments like bonds, real estate, or mutual funds.

Can a Shareholder be called an Investor?

Yes, because owning stock is a form of investment.

Can a Shareholder lose their investment?

Yes, if the company's stock value drops significantly or goes bankrupt.

What's a passive Investor?

Someone who invests with no intention of active management, often in index funds.

What do Investors look for in a potential investment?

Factors like growth potential, risks, returns, and the stability of the investment.

Can a Shareholder sell their shares anytime?

Usually, yes, if the shares are publicly traded. But there might be restrictions in some cases.

Do Shareholders have a say in company operations?

Often yes, through voting rights on major decisions.

What rights do Shareholders have in a company's assets?

They have a claim proportional to their ownership, especially during liquidation.

Can one be both an Investor and Shareholder in a company?

Yes, by investing money and buying the company's stock.

Can someone be an Investor without much knowledge about finance?

Yes, but it's advisable to study or consult experts before making decisions.

What's the main motivation for an Investor?

To increase their capital and achieve financial returns.

How are Shareholders kept informed about company performance?

Through annual reports, shareholder meetings, and other company communications.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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