Financial services are a large and varied group of industries, covering everything from money management and insurance to payments and digital banking technology. The sector has a wide range of players, from major banks to credit card issuers and payment networks, as well as emerging challengers from the tech world. This vast industry has a number of sub-sectors, too. It also includes many different types of products, from the classic mortgages and bank accounts to more esoteric hedge funds and retirement planning.
Banks are a key component of the financial services industry, with their core business being to pool deposits and lend money to individuals or companies who need it. Financial institutions are also involved in other activities, such as offering investment advice, managing wealth for high-net-worth individuals or advising companies on mergers and acquisitions.
Other parts of the financial services industry include insurers and reinsurance providers. In the United States, an insurance agent or broker may sell a personal line of insurance to an individual, such as life or auto insurance, while reinsurance is coverage that is sold to an insurer to protect it against catastrophic losses. In addition, a private equity or venture capital provider provides an investment with the hope of making a return through ownership stakes or profit sharing.
Many jobs in the financial services sector can be highly stressful, with long hours and high expectations. However, these positions often offer good promotion prospects and lucrative salaries. Additionally, they can provide a wide variety of benefits and perks. The industry is known for promoting talent based on merit, which means that those who work hard can rise quickly within their organization.
A career in financial services can be rewarding, but it is important to understand the scope of the field before you begin your journey. There are thousands of jobs within the industry, but not all will pave the way to your ultimate career goals. For example, working as a teller at a community bank is unlikely to help you get a job as an investment banker.
Other jobs in the financial services sector include accounting and tax preparation firms, credit rating agencies, money transfer services, credit card machines and networks, debt resolution and global payment services. Some of these businesses are for-profit, but others are nonprofit entities that provide counseling services or money management advice to their communities. As the industry continues to evolve, some companies are merging their businesses to become more diversified and competitive. This trend could have an impact on the way that companies and consumers manage their finances. It could also alter the standard and practices that are followed in the industry. For example, if a major bank owns an insurance company and a brokerage firm, it might merge the two to create one entity that looks more cohesive and attractive to potential customers. This approach would make the company less reliant on credit card interchange fees, a $90 billion annual source of revenue for credit card issuers and networks.