Financial services are economic services provided by the finance industry, which encompasses many different types of professional firms that manage assets and provide credit and financing to consumers and businesses. These include depository institutions (credit unions, banks and savings and loans associations), providers of investment products (investment funds and brokerage firms), insurance companies and other credit and financial-services organizations, as well as critical financial market utilities (derivative and commodity exchanges, clearing houses and real-time gross settlement systems).
The complexities of the global economy make it essential to have access to reliable financial services that offer innovative tools and options for saving and investing, as well as for managing debt and basic money management. Unfortunately, nearly 2 billion people worldwide lack such services.
Fortunately, technological advances are making it easier for individuals to get the financial services they need. These innovations are also helping to bring financial inclusion to a larger population, making it possible for them to start small businesses and improve their quality of life by earning enough income to pay for basic needs like food and water.
As the demand for financial services grows, so does competition. That’s why it’s important for those who are interested in a career in this industry to research the many different job opportunities available and determine how they fit into their overall goals. For example, a career as an investment banker may not be the best choice for someone who wants to work as a physician.
Some of the most common jobs within financial services include a consumer loan officer, mortgage loan originator, credit card specialist and banking associate. These roles are considered entry-level positions and can help to launch a career in the field, particularly when combined with experience gained through internships or volunteering. However, these entry-level positions don’t necessarily pave the way to higher-level executive or managerial roles.
To advance within the field, it’s necessary to develop a strong network and to work hard to gain as much exposure and knowledge as possible. It’s not uncommon for those working in financial services to work long hours, especially if they specialize in an area that’s impacted by rapid market fluctuations. That’s why a good work-life balance is essential to this career path.
The largest sector of financial services is investment and wealth management. It includes services that provide for the management of pensions and insurance assets, securities trading and capital markets as well as advisory and wealth-building services. Another popular sector is asset management, which involves the handling of mutual and hedge funds as well as private equity and fixed-income investments. Finally, investment banking provides a variety of services that are related to facilitating mergers and acquisitions as well as offering advice to clients on their finances. Finally, the insurance industry is another important part of financial services that provides a variety of protections against risk such as health, property and life. This industry sector also includes reinsurance and other services that are designed to protect against large losses.