Close this search box.

Table of Contents



Z-shares are a class of mutual fund shares that are often reserved for employees of the fund’s management company or its affiliates. They typically have lower fees and sales charges compared to other share classes, providing an incentive for employees to invest in the funds their company manages. Z-shares are not usually available to general retail investors.


The phonetic pronunciation of the keyword “Z-Share” is: Zulu – Share (zee – share)

Key Takeaways

  1. Z-Share was a file hosting service that allowed users to upload and share files with others.
  2. It was popular for sharing large files such as movies, music, and games mainly due to its easy-to-use interface and high upload capacity.
  3. The service was shut down for an unknown reason in 2013, causing users to seek alternative file hosting services.


The term Z-Share is important in business and finance as it refers to a unique class of equity shares in a company, specifically issued to employees, directors, or other stakeholders as part of a compensation or incentive plan. These shares can offer certain benefits or privileges, such as enhanced voting rights or dividend preferences, as well as the potential to enhance the company’s performance by aligning the interests of key employees with the interests of shareholders. Z-Shares are an essential tool for attracting, retaining, and rewarding top talent, as they can motivate individuals to contribute to the success of the company while providing a sense of ownership and participation in its growth and increasing value.


Z-Shares are a unique class of shares typically issued by mutual funds. The primary purpose of offering Z-Shares is to cater to the needs of a select group of investors, such as the employees of the issuing company or financial advisors sponsoring the fund. By promoting funds to their employees or partner financial advisors, issuers aim to build their own brand reputation and increase the overall investment in their financial products. The structuring of Z-Shares often includes attractive features such as lower expenses, waived sales charges, and reduced management fees. This enables insiders and financial professionals to save on costs and potentially benefit from higher returns on their investments.Furthermore, Z-Share classes serve to foster a sense of loyalty and belonging among the issuing company’s employees or the affiliated financial advisors, since they have access to the exclusive benefits unavailable to regular investors. These exclusive privileges encourage a longer-term investment horizon among the select group and build trust in the company’s financial products, as the employees and advisors would be more likely to recommend and invest in them. Ultimately, Z-Shares help align the interests of the selected investors with the company’s goals, promoting a sense of partnership and collaboration that can contribute to the overall success of the business.


The term “Z-Share” typically refers to a class of shares in a company’s stock, often with different characteristics than the common shares, such as voting rights or dividend preferences. However, information on specific real-world examples of Z-shares is quite limited as they are less common compared to other share classes, like A-shares or B-shares. Here are three examples that make reference to Z-shares:1. U.S. mutual funds: In some U.S. mutual funds, Z-shares are a type of share class available exclusively to the employees or directors of the company managing the fund. These shares often have no sales fees (load) or 12b-1 marketing fees and come with a lower expense ratio than retail share classes, making them an attractive option for those who have access to them.2. China’s A- and B-shares: While Z-shares aren’t common in China, the country’s stock market has a unique feature with its strict separation of A-shares (available to domestic investors, and – since 2014 – qualified foreign institutional investors) and B-shares (available to both foreign and domestic investors). This can be similarly seen as different classes with different accessibility and trade characteristics than the common shares. 3. Alphabet Inc. (Google): Alphabet Inc., the parent company of Google, has a unique stock structure with three different share classes: Class A, Class B, and Class C. Although they do not call these Z-shares, the concept is similar, with each share carrying different voting rights and appeal to different investors. Class A shares (GOOGL) carry one vote per share, Class B shares have ten votes per share and are held by founders and insiders, and Class C shares (GOOG) have no voting rights.In conclusion, Z-shares are rare to find as specific examples, but the idea of different share classes with unique characteristics is applicable to several companies and investment options in the business and finance world.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is a Z-Share in finance and business?

A Z-Share, in the context of finance and business, is a type of share class issued in mutual funds, closed-end funds, or exchange-traded funds (ETFs). Z-Shares usually have a lower expense ratio, as they are not subject to sales charges (loads), 12b-1 fees, or higher management fees. They are often available to retirement plan investors, employees of the investment firm, or institutional investors.

How do Z-Shares differ from other share classes?

Unlike class A, B, or C shares, Z-Shares are offered without sales charges or 12b-1 fees, making their expense ratios lower. This allows investors to save money in the long term and potentially earn higher returns. Z-Shares are typically exclusively offered to select groups of investors, such as retirement plans or employees of the issuing firm.

Why do companies offer Z-Shares?

Companies offer Z-Shares to reward and incentivize investors with reduced expenses and fees, leading to potentially higher returns in the long-term investment. Additionally, the lower expense ratios make them an attractive option for institutional investors who invest large sums and expect efficient management at a lower cost.

How can I invest in Z-Shares?

To invest in Z-Shares, you may need to be an eligible investor, such as an employee of the issuing firm, a retirement plan investor, or an institutional investor. It is advisable to consult your financial advisor, who can guide you on the appropriate steps or provide alternate investment options if you are not eligible for Z-Shares.

Are there any downsides or risks associated with investing in Z-Shares?

While Z-Shares come with lower expenses and fees, they still carry the same risks as other investments, such as market risk, interest rate risk, and credit risk, depending on the underlying assets in the fund. Investors should always assess their risk tolerance, investment objectives, and financial goals when considering investments in Z-Shares.

Do Z-Shares affect the performance of a fund?

Z-Shares, by themselves, do not affect the performance of a fund but can offer potentially higher returns than other share classes due to their lower expense ratios. However, the actual performance of a fund depends on various factors like the underlying assets and the fund manager’s investment strategies.

Related Finance Terms

  • Initial Public Offering (IPO)
  • Chinese Stock Market
  • Shanghai Stock Exchange
  • Renminbi-denominated shares
  • Domestic Chinese investors

Sources for More Information

About Our Editorial Process

At Due, we are dedicated to providing simple money and retirement advice that can make a big impact in your life. Our team closely follows market shifts and deeply understands how to build REAL wealth. All of our articles undergo thorough editing and review by financial experts, ensuring you get reliable and credible money advice.

We partner with leading publications, such as Nasdaq, The Globe and Mail, Entrepreneur, and more, to provide insights on retirement, current markets, and more.

We also host a financial glossary of over 7000 money/investing terms to help you learn more about how to take control of your finances.

View our editorial process

About Our Journalists

Our journalists are not just trusted, certified financial advisers. They are experienced and leading influencers in the financial realm, trusted by millions to provide advice about money. We handpick the best of the best, so you get advice from real experts. Our goal is to educate and inform, NOT to be a ‘stock-picker’ or ‘market-caller.’ 

Why listen to what we have to say?

While Due does not know how to predict the market in the short-term, our team of experts DOES know how you can make smart financial decisions to plan for retirement in the long-term.

View our expert review board

About Due

Due makes it easier to retire on your terms. We give you a realistic view on exactly where you’re at financially so when you retire you know how much money you’ll get each month. Get started today.

Due Fact-Checking Standards and Processes

To ensure we’re putting out the highest content standards, we sought out the help of certified financial experts and accredited individuals to verify our advice. We also rely on them for the most up to date information and data to make sure our in-depth research has the facts right, for today… Not yesterday. Our financial expert review board allows our readers to not only trust the information they are reading but to act on it as well. Most of our authors are CFP (Certified Financial Planners) or CRPC (Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor) certified and all have college degrees. Learn more about annuities, retirement advice and take the correct steps towards financial freedom and knowing exactly where you stand today. Learn everything about our top-notch financial expert reviews below… Learn More