Financial services are a wide range of products and offerings that help people manage their money. They include banks, credit unions, investment houses and lenders, finance companies and real estate agents. The industry is also home to many different regulatory agencies. The sheer number of options in this sector can make it difficult to determine the best career path for aspiring professionals.
Financial service companies are a key part of the economy, and their practices, standards, and regulations affect every other industry. Financial services companies must deliver a high-quality customer experience to attract and retain customers. They must be able to provide consistent, proactive 24X7 omnichannel support that is tailored to the customer’s individual needs and preferences.
The types of financial services firms vary by country and market, but they generally include:
Banking services – These include checking accounts, savings accounts, loans, mortgages and credit cards. Banks may offer personal and business checking and savings accounts, as well as lending products like commercial mortgages and lines of credit. They may also offer other products like brokerage accounts, mutual funds and investment certificates.
Insurance – This is both a financial good and a service. It provides a safety net that protects individuals from large, unanticipated expenses. For example, an insurance policy will cover costs incurred to repair a house or purchase a new car after it’s been damaged by fire. Insurance brokers who search for or negotiate rates are also a type of financial service.
Investment services – These firms provide capital to businesses and organizations by selling shares or debt securities. They may also provide advisory or wealth management services. These services are more complex and cater to high-net worth individuals and institutions. They may also engage in structured finance to develop more intricate (typically derivative) products for specific client investment goals.
Regulatory bodies – The independent agencies designated to oversee various financial institutions and uphold transparency and fairness in the industry. These include the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.
A career in the financial services sector offers a diverse set of job opportunities, and a degree is not always required. However, many positions in this field require a strong combination of hard and soft skills. Choosing the right role is essential to advancing in the industry and reaching one’s career goals. It’s important to consider what kind of work environment and culture is desired as well as the amount of travel and flexibility required. Finally, it’s a good idea to weigh the pros and cons of being a financial professional against other potential careers before making a decision.