Difference Between Listed And Unlisted Companies

Companies can be categorised on various bases. On the basis listing of securities, a company may be divided into listed and unlisted companies. Listed companies collect funds from many investors, while unlisted companies have a limited number of investors. 

Listed and unlisted companies have different risk and return potentials. Therefore, understanding the difference between listed and unlisted companies will probably help you make better investment decisions.

This article will guide you on the meaning of a listed and unlisted company, how to invest in them, and the key differences between listed and unlisted companies.

What Is A Listed Company?

As per the Companies Act 2013 [Section 2 (52)], a listed company is a company with any of its securities listed on any recognised stock exchange. Such companies must comply with the respective stock exchanges’ listing requirements.

A few examples of listed companies in India are Reliance Industries Limited, Tata Consultancy Services, HDFC Bank, Infosys Limited, Bharti Airtel Limited, etc. The stocks of these companies are listed on the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) or National Stock Exchange.

How To Invest In a Listed Company?

1. Direct equity investments

You need a Demat and trading account to invest in the stocks of listed companies. Once you have it, you can purchase equity shares through the stock exchange and get partial ownership in a listed company.

2. Mutual funds

Another way to invest in listed securities is through mutual funds. Mutual funds involve pooling money from various investors, are managed by professional fund managers, and may invest in securities like stocks, bonds, money market securities, etc.

3. WealthBaskets

WealthBaskets are the research-backed combination of stocks and ETFs based on idea, theme or strategy and are built by SEBI-registered professionals.

4. Index funds 

Index funds are the investment avenues that track market index performance, for instance, Nifty 50. 

5. Exchange-traded funds (ETFs) 

Exchange-traded funds (ETFs), are funds that are traded on the stock exchange similar to stocks.

What Is An Unlisted Company?

An unlisted company means a company which does not have any of its securities listed on any recognised stock exchange. If a public company is not listed on any stock exchange, it is an unlisted public company. For example, Tata Technologies.

Similarly, unlisted private companies are private companies without any listed security, such as Swiggy, RazorPay, Oyo, etc.

How To Invest In An Unlisted Company?

1. By purchasing ESOPs

Some companies offer their employees stock options via Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP), giving them the chance to have an ownership interest in the company at a nominal rate. After a point of time decided by the employer, the employees may be able to sell these shares. 

Your broker may help you connect with employees of unlisted companies in India who are ready to sell their shares at a specific price. This way, you may invest in top unlisted companies in India.

2. By private placements

Sometimes companies opt to sell shares to a few selected investors through a private offering. Intermediaries like brokers, wealth managers or investment banks may help you connect with company promoters from whom you may buy that company’s shares as a private investor.

3. By investing in PMS and AIF schemes

Portfolio Management Services (PMS) are services that offer you customised investment portfolios of various securities. They keep rebalancing portfolios according to market sentiments to reduce risk and maximise return.

Alternative Investment Funds (AIFs) are not-so-old school investment vehicles that collect funds from high-net-worth individuals and institutions and invest that across alternative investment avenues.

PMS and AIFs can invest in unlisted companies’ shares as a part of their investment strategies. 

4. Investing in pre-IPO funds

Pre-IPO funds work like mutual funds. However, they invest in private companies looking to go public in three to five years. Investors investing in such funds may significantly benefit if companies do well post-IPO.

Key Differences Between Listed And Unlisted Companies

Point of differenceListed companiesUnlisted companies
OwnershipUsually owned by several shareholders.Usually owned by a few private investors.
Liquidity of securitiesHigherLower
Regulatory requirementsNeed to comply with strict guidelines of regulators, such as SEBI.May have relatively lesser guidelines to follow.
VolatilityHigher volatilityRelatively lower volatility
Valuations of securitiesArriving at the market value of securities is easier due to the availability of stock prices.Arriving at the exact market value is quite challenging. Instead, estimated market value is used.
TradingSecurities are traded over stock exchanges.Securities are traded in the over-the-counter market.
Risks & returnsRelatively lower risk and lesser chances for exceptional returns.Relatively higher risk, though more chances for exceptional returns.

Final Thoughts

Listed and unlisted companies differ based on whether the company has any listed security. Investing in listed security may be relatively less risky due to their adherence to regulatory requirements. However, unlisted companies may offer great returns against higher risk. It is advisable to consider your investment goal before making an investment decision.

Do you want to invest and create wealth? Invest in WealthBaskets via WealthDesk. WealthBaskets are the research-backed combination of stocks and ETFs based on idea, theme or strategy and are built by SEBI-registered professionals.


Are private companies listed or unlisted?

Private companies with debt securities listed on any recognised stock exchange are considered listed companies. If a private company does not have any security listed on the stock exchange, it is considered an unlisted private company.

How to know the share price of an unlisted company?

If you are connected to the company’s promoter/promoters, you can get updates about the share price of unlisted companies in India. Other than that, some online websites like UnlistedZone, UnlistedDeal, etc. also display their share prices.

Can you sell unlisted shares?

You can sell unlisted securities to other investors through the over-the-counter market.

Is an unlisted company good?

Some unlisted companies may have the potential to offer great returns, though at a higher risk due to lesser regulations. 

Difference Between Listed And Unlisted Companies

Difference Between Listed And Unlisted Companies

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