Non-cumulative Preferred Shares, Dividends & StocksDefined with Examples & More

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What is Non cumulative?

There are cases where a company doesn’t distribute dividends in a certain period.

And if an investor is a non-cumulative preferred shareholder, any undistributed dividend income will not be claimable in the future.

The same is true when it comes to omitted dividends. 

Preferred shares have a pre-determined dividend income, which can be a dollar value or a percentage of the par value.

Understanding Non Cumulative

Non-cumulative preferred shares are shares that do not give the preferred shareholder any right to claim any undeclared/unpaid dividends in one accounting period.

With cumulative preferred shares, it covers all unpaid dividends which give the stockholder the right to claim all previous undistributed dividends. 

The Differences Between Common and Preferred Stock

An investor may choose to invest in Preferred Shares or Common (Ordinary) Shares.

The advantage of Preferred Shares include the following:

  • A predetermined dividend income.
  • In dividend distributions, preferred shareholders always receive first before the common shareholders.
  • In the liquidation process, preferred shares are the company’s priority in settling its obligation after the debts are settled.

On the other hand, the disadvantages of preferred shares are:

  • Preferred shareholders are not entitled to receive any residual amount of the net income after the preferred shareholders dividend distribution and payment of the company’s obligation, unlike common shareholders. 
  • No voting rights. 

Convertible Bonds and Preferred Stock

Non-cumulative Preferred Shares

Some bonds can be convertible into equity securities like preferred shares or common stock. 

For example, MC corporation bought a convertible bond instrument with an option of converting $1,500 of bonds into 25 preferred stocks.

The market value of the bonds is $1,570, and the stock price is trading in the market at $65 per share. 

If MC corporation decides to convert its bonds into preferred shares, the market value of the converted shares would be $1,625 vs. the bond investment of only $1,570. 

With a growth investment strategy, the investor may opt to choose to convert bonds into preferred shares.

But if they wish to earn income, they may prefer to retain the bond investments. 

Example of How a Non cumulative Preferred Stock Works

Cumulative Preferred Shareholders have the right to claim all the unpaid dividends from the previous accounting years.

For example, if QMC did not distribute the stipulated $2 per share dividend income to its investors this year, such holders are entitled to the dividend distribution on a future date.

The ordinary shareholders will receive the residual amount after settlement of all cumulative preferred shareholder claims from the previous to the current year of distribution.

If the investor is a non-cumulative shareholder, he or she will not be entitled to any future claims of the unpaid $2 per share dividend.

Cumulative preferred shares have a greater advantage over non-cumulative preferred shares.

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  1. University of North Carolina School of Law "Corporations -- Non-Cumulative Preferred Stock -- Participation in Past Undistributed Profits" Publication. August 25, 2022