Depositary Receipts versus Economic Ownership Rights of Shares

2 min read
Mar 28, 2024 5:00:00 PM

In the realm of finance and investment, depositary receipts and Economic Ownership Rights (or Shares) play pivotal roles in trading stocks and allocating ownership rights. While both represent ownership of shares in different ways, they differ in structure and implications for investors.

Depositary Receipts

Depositary Receipts, also known as ownership certificates, are financial instruments issued by a financial institution in a country other than where the underlying company is based. They represent shares of a foreign company and are traded on local exchanges.

Characteristics of Depositary Receipts

  • Represent shares of foreign companies.
  • Traded on local exchanges in the issuing country.
  • Simplify access to foreign stocks for investors.

Economic Ownership Rights (of Shares)

Economic Ownership Rights (or Shares) provide investors with economic interests in a company's shares without actually owning the legal ownership of those shares. This can occur in situations like stock options, where investors benefit from the appreciation of shares without owning them.

Characteristics of Economic Ownership Rights (of Shares)

  • Provide economic interest in shares without legal ownership.
  • Investors benefit from share value appreciation without owning them.
  • Occurs in instruments like stock options, SARs, etc.

Differences between Depositary Receipts and Economic Ownership Rights

  • Legal ownership vs. economic interest: Depositary Receipts represent actual shares of a company, and investors have both legal and economic ownership rights. Conversely, Economic Ownership Rights only represent economic interests in shares without actual legal ownership.
  • Trading venue: Depositary Receipts are traded on local exchanges, providing investors access to foreign stocks. Economic Ownership Rights occur through various financial instruments and are not necessarily tied to exchange trading.

Similarities between Depositary Receipts and Economic Ownership Rights

  • Representation of share interests: Both Depositary Receipts and Economic Ownership Rights are ways for investors to benefit from the appreciation of shares without actually having legal ownership.
  • Access to foreign stocks: Depositary Receipts offer investors an accessible way to invest in foreign companies, while Economic Ownership Rights encompass various instruments representing economic interests in shares.

Understanding the differences and similarities between Depositary Receipts and Economic Ownership Rights is crucial for investors diversifying their investment portfolios and accessing foreign markets. Both instruments offer different benefits and strategies for investors to achieve their financial goals across various global markets.


Share Council is ready to support your company in establishing Depositary Receipts or Economic Ownership Rights (EOR). Our expertise extends to everything related to employee participation. In a no-obligation discussion, we'd like to explore with you which options best suit your company and how we can assist. Contact us, and let's examine together the possibilities to propel your company forward.