What Is an Income Share?

An income share is a class of shares offered by a dual-purpose fund. This share class pays out distributions and dividends to its investors. Income shares may also be known as preferred shares.

Key Takeaways

  • An income share is a class of shares offered by a dual-purpose fund; this share class pays out distributions and dividends to its investors.
  • Income shares are one class of shares in a dual-purpose fund; they can be compared to capital shares, which are their counterpart in a pooled dual-purpose fund offering.
  • Income shares targeted investors seeking regular income payments.
  • Dual-purpose funds were phased out in the 1990s after the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) rules changed taxation on the funds.

Understanding an Income Share

Income shares are one class of shares in a dual-purpose fund. They can be compared to capital shares, which are their counterpart in a pooled dual-purpose fund offering.

Dual-purpose funds were first introduced in the 1960s. They were phased out by the 1990s after the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) rules changed taxation on the funds. Popular versions of these funds included the American Dual Vest Fund managed by Haywood Management, the Gemini Fund managed by Wellington Management, Income & Capital Shares Inc. managed by John P. Chase Inc., the Leverage Fund of Boston managed by Vance, Sanders & Co., and the Scudder Duo Vest fund managed by Scudder, Stevens & Clark.

Dual-purpose funds were structured as closed-end funds with two share class offerings: income shares and capital shares. The funds offered a limited number of shares to the public in an initial public offering (IPO). Post-IPO, the funds traded on exchanges with a market price and an accounting net asset value (NAV) calculated each day. Dual-purposes funds were also structured with specific durations. Therefore, these funds had a specified maturity date upon which they returned principal to their investors.

Advantages of Income Shares

Income shares targeted investors seeking regular income payments. Accounting mechanisms facilitated the value and incremental income payments made to income share investors. Managers of dual-purpose funds invested in a broad range of securities, including both equities and debt—which paid interest and dividends for investors. At maturity, these shares were given priority in the liquidation and payouts of the fund. Income shares could also be referred to as preferred shares.

Capital Shares vs. Income Shares

Capital shares were the counterpart to income shares. They were also referred to as common shares. These shares were offered alongside income shares in the fund’s IPO and traded actively on market exchanges. Capital shares differed from income shares in that they did not receive dividends or distributions from investments in the fund. Capital shares relied primarily on the active management of the fund managers for capital appreciation. These funds typically had broad flexibility to invest in a wide universe of securities for capital gains. At the fund’s maturity date, capital shares received second priority for payouts following income shares. Maturity date payouts included principal and any capital gains.