Difference Between Shares and Debentures

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What are Shares?

Shares are a type of security representing ownership of a company or other financial assets. They allow investors to purchase a small part of the company or financial asset and benefit from any growth or dividends the company may pay out.

By holding shares, investors can also vote on corporate decisions and have a say in important matters related to the company. Shares can be bought and sold on the stock market, providing liquidity to investors.

Shares come in many different forms and sizes, depending on the company’s structure and corporate policies.

Types of Shares

Examples of common share types include:

  • Common Shares
  • Preferred Shares
  • Restricted Shares
  • Classified Stocks
  • Convertible Shares
  • Stock Warrants

What are Debentures?

Debentures are debt instruments issued by companies to raise capital. They represent an agreement between a company and its debenture holders, wherein the company promises to repay the principal amount and interest at fixed intervals.

Debentures can be secured or unsecured, depending on whether they are backed by underlying collateral or not. Generally, debentures are long-term instruments with a maturity range of 5 to 20 years.

Debenture holders have certain rights, such as receiving regular interest payments and being paid back the principal amount at the end of the tenure. They also have the right to vote in shareholders’ meetings and can claim their share if the company goes bankrupt.

Companies commonly use debentures to raise capital as they are relatively easy to issue and provide a fixed income over the long term. They also help companies maintain a good credit rating and access additional capital at lower costs when needed.

Types of Debentures

  • Secured Debentures
  • Convertible Debentures
  • Redeemable Debentures
  • Non-Convertible Debentures
  • Participatory Debentures
  • Zero-Coupon Debentures
  • Market-Linked Debentures
  • Floating Rate Debentures
  • Perpetual Debentures
  • Subordinated Debentures
  • Structured Debentures
  • Fixed Debentures

How Debentures are Different From Shares

A debenture is a debt instrument issued by a company, usually for long-term purposes. It is not backed by any asset or security, and lenders receive a fixed income from the interest paid on it.A share represents an ownership stake in a company and entitles the holder to dividends if declared by the company. Shareholders are also entitled to vote at shareholder meetings and may receive other benefits such as bonuses.
Debentures are typically unsecured and may have long-term maturity dates. As a result, the interest rate for debentures is usually lower than that of shares.Shares can be bought and sold on the stock exchange, providing investors with liquidity. The price of a share fluctuates according to market demand and supply. The return from shares is higher than from debentures and is not fixed.
Debentures are generally considered to be safer investments than shares as they offer fixed income, and there is no risk of capital loss.Shares can provide a higher return on investment. However, they also come with more risk as they are subject to market fluctuations in price.
Shares cannot be transformed into debenturesDebenture holders can change their securities into shares.
When debentures are offered to the public, a trust deed must be executed for them to take effect.It is not necessary to execute a trust deed while dealing in shares.

Debentures vs Shares – Which is the Better Investment?

The choice between investing in debentures or shares can be a difficult one for investors. Both investments offer different levels of risk, rewards and investment opportunities.

Understanding the differences between these two types of investments can help you make an informed decision about the better option for your financial goals.

Debentures are long-term debt instruments issued by companies to raise money for their operations. They are usually backed by the company’s assets and guarantee a fixed rate of return.

However, there is also a risk that if the company fails to make its payments on time, investors may lose all or some of their investment in case of default.

Shares, on the other hand, are equity investments in a company. Investors who purchase shares become the owners of a certain portion of the company and thus enjoy all the rights associated with ownership, such as voting rights and potential dividends.

The returns on these investments depend on the performance of the company and its stock price movements. Although there is a higher risk involved in share investments than in debentures, the potential rewards are much greater.

Ultimately, deciding whether to invest in debentures or shares comes down to an individual’s risk appetite and financial goals. Debentures carry lower risks but offer more predictable returns, while shares offer higher potential returns with a greater risk of loss.

Investors should carefully assess their personal requirements and decide to suit their needs best.


Both shares and debentures have pros and cons, so it’s important to research before making any decisions. If you’re looking for a quick and easy way to invest in stocks and debentures, open a Bajaj Broking Demat account today. Our team at Bajaj Broking will help you get started and answer any questions you may have. Register now!

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Frequently Asked Questions

1. How do you classify debentures?

Answer Field

Debentures can be broadly classified into two types – fully secured and unsecured. Fully secured debentures are those that have some form of collateral behind them, such as property or other assets. Unsecured debentures do not carry any collateral; they are only backed by the creditworthiness of the party issuing the debentures.

2. Are debentures liabilities?

Answer Field

Debentures are considered liabilities on the balance sheet of a company. They represent borrowed money that must be repaid, often with interest. Debenture holders have no direct claim to any assets owned by the company but may have the right to vote or receive dividends if specified in the debenture agreement.

3. Can debentures be converted into shares?

Answer Field

Yes, debentures can be converted into shares when they are issued with a conversion facility. This agreement between the company and investors allows the debenture holder to exchange their debt for equity at a predetermined price or rate. Companies may offer a conversion right as part of an initial public offering (IPO) or other securities issuance terms.

4. What is an example of a debenture?

Answer Field

A corporate bond that a business issues could serve as an example of a debenture. For instance, a business may issue debentures with the assurance that, over a predetermined time period, it will repay the principal and make monthly interest payments to the debenture holders.

5. What is debenture in simple words?

Answer Field

A debenture, to put it simply, is a loan certificate or a “IOU” that a business issues to raise money. When you purchase a debenture, you are effectively lending the business money in exchange for a pledge from the business to repay your loan plus interest over a predetermined period of time. Debenture holders can receive set interest payments and, in some situations, cast votes on corporate issues.

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