Often referred to as "stocks," equities are ownership interests in a corporation. Historically, equities provide investors with a higher rate of return on their investment. Equity investors are part owners of the companies they invest in and get the benefits as well as the risks. Successful companies provide excellent long-term returns. Companies issue shares when they need to raise money to finance growth. As an investor, you become a shareholder and hold voting rights in how the company operates. Your shares can be bought and sold on the stock market, which creates constant fluctuation in the share price.