ordinary shares the shares issued to members of a limited company. These represent the equity or risk capital of a company; they carry no prior rights in terms of entitlement to dividend or return of capital on a winding-up. Ordinary shares generally carry full voting rights. Different are preference shares, which entitle the holder to a stipulated fixed rate return in the form of a dividend (like the fixed rate return to which holders of loan stock are entitled) whereas the dividend declared in respect of the former is purely a matter for the directors and subject to approval by the shareholders in general meetings. In the event of a winding-up, holders of preference shares are entitled to be paid before ordinary shareholders.