What Is Financial Services?

When we think about financial services, most people think of banks, stock brokers and mortgage lenders. But those are just a few of the subsectors that make up this powerful industry. The financial services sector includes everything from debt trading and capital markets to insurance companies, investment firms and Wall Street. This crucial industry provides small businesses, individuals, corporations and even government agencies with the money they need to pursue their financial goals. When this sector is strong, it can fuel economic growth and boost consumer confidence. However, if the industry falters, it can cause a nation to experience a recession and possibly a depression.

To get a foot in the door of this lucrative industry, it is important to network and find a mentor who can vouch for your character and abilities. Additionally, entering the field via entry-level roles allows you to learn on the job and build your skills. This will improve your chances of getting promoted and advancing in the financial services industry.

The types of financial services available to consumers vary by country, but some examples include:

Insurance – protection against death or injury (life, disability and health insurance); insurance against property loss or damage; and insurance against liability. Financial services also includes insurance brokerage firms, which act as middlemen between insurers and customers, underwriters, who assess the risk of a loan, reinsurers, who sell insurance to the original insurers, and credit unions and credit-card companies.

Banking – collection of deposits and lending to those who need it. This sector consists of commercial and community banks, building societies and mortgage companies; credit-card companies; financial intermediators; and asset managers.

Other financial services include accounting and tax filing; currency exchange and wire transfer services; and credit card machine networks, such as Visa and MasterCard. Finally, financial market utilities provide the infrastructure for stock, derivative and commodity exchanges and payment systems, such as real-time gross settlement systems and interbank networks.

The benefits of a career in financial services include the ability to advance quickly, good compensation and a great lifestyle. The downsides are long hours, the potential for burnout and the fact that many jobs in the industry require significant levels of stress.

Financial services also come with a lot of regulations, which can be restrictive and counterproductive to innovation. As a result, it is important to research each role and industry carefully before making a decision.

If you are considering a career in financial services, it is best to weigh the pros and cons of each type of position before making a final choice. While there are thousands of different roles, not all pave the way to achieving your desired goals. In addition, the sector is a highly competitive industry, which means that it can be difficult to break into. Lastly, many financial services firms hire employees on long-term contracts instead of hiring permanent staff. This can be frustrating, but it may be an acceptable trade-off for the career stability and opportunities to gain new skills that you would not receive from a permanent role.