Before I started investing, I had the view that preference shares seemed attractive because of their fixed, not able to be cancelled, dividend. However, looking at them seriously now, I’m beginning to wonder if there actually is any advantage to them.
I’ve taken a look at a couple, for example Aviva Plc - 8.75% PRF (AV.A); General Accident 8.875% PRF (GACA) and Ecclesiastical Insurance Office 8.625% PRF (ELLA) and while their yields are still decent (between about 6 and 8%), they remain fixed not even accounting for inflation. While AV.A paid 4.375p in 2012, it’s still paying that 11 years later which makes it worth a lot less. Ordinary shares in contrast seem to have the obvious advantages that you own part of the company, the dividends can go up when times are good (although obv the reverse is also true) and that even if they don’t go up by that much, most companies seem to modestly adjust by inflation.
What do other people think? Does anyone invest in preference shares and if so why? Glad to hear any views as to any advantages I might be missing.