DEFINITION of 'Z-Share'

A class of mutual fund shares that employees of the fund's management company are allowed to own. Employees may have the option of buying Z-shares or receiving them as a part of compensation or a reward package.

BREAKING DOWN 'Z-Share'

While Z-class shares would be sold at the current net asset value, firms may match the amount of shares purchased to act as a bonus for employees. For example, an entry-level accountant working for a mutual fund firm may purchase 100 shares of the firm's total market mutual fund; the firm may then give the accountant an additional 100 shares.

Employees gain the advantage of receiving an asset that will benefit their own retirement-planning purposes (perhaps with the prospect of receiving bonus shares), whereas employers benefit from possibly fostering better long-term loyalty from the employee.

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