I was looking at a few Swiss companies, and I noticed that some of them have two classes of shares: voting and non-voting. For a small investor who does not vote, what are the material differences between voting and non-voting shares?
Specifically, I am interested in these two companies:
- Roche Holding AG — bearer shares (Inhaberaktie) (SIX: RO) vs non-voting equity securities (Genussschein) (SIX: ROG).
- Chocoladefabriken Lindt & Sprüngli AG — Registered Shares (SIX: LISN) vs Participation Certificates (SIX: LISP).
For both companies, both classes of shares pay dividends. The non-voting shares are almost always more liquid than the voting shares. Adjusted for dividend rights, the voting shares usually sell at a premium to the non-voting shares.
Generally speaking, should I purchase the non-voting shares because of greater liquidity and lower price? What are the valid reasons to purchase voting shares (RO and LISN) when they are more expensive?