Financial services are the professional firms that handle people’s money and assets. They include a vast array of businesses, from banks and investment houses to credit-card companies and insurance agencies. These businesses offer an invaluable service to the public, helping people and companies manage their finances. They also provide a crucial economic function, allowing individuals to get the loans they need to buy homes and cars or to start new businesses. The financial industry is highly complex and involves many different job roles. If you’re thinking about a career in this field, it’s important to understand the various aspects of financial services.
The scope of financial services varies from country to country, but it usually includes the central bank; depository organizations such as commercial and savings banks; credit-card companies; mortgage banks and building societies; investment firms; insurance and pension funds; and all other institutions engaged in financial intermediation. In addition, the term financial services typically includes global payment systems, wire transfer and currency exchange services, credit card networks and services, and debt resolution services.
While many of the specific jobs in this industry require advanced degrees and certifications, it’s possible to break into the sector with an associate degree or a bachelor’s degree in business administration or finance. It’s also helpful to have a strong network of contacts in the financial services industry. This will give you a greater chance of landing an entry-level position in the industry and working your way up to higher-level positions.
A healthy financial services sector is critical to the health of a nation’s economy. It provides people with access to loans to purchase property, vehicles or equipment, as well as to help pay for their children’s education and future needs. It helps families and individuals save for retirement, and it protects them against the loss of their personal possessions through insurance coverage.
Some of the more popular jobs in financial services include stockbrokers, whose duties are to facilitate the buying and selling of securities. These include stocks, bonds and mutual funds. Brokerage firms also provide advice and act as consultants to investors. In some cases, these professionals are fiduciaries, meaning they have a legal obligation to put their clients’ best interests first.
Other important financial services providers are private equity firms and venture capitalists, who supply investment capital to companies in return for ownership stakes or profit participation. These businesses are vital to the growth of a company and to the creation of jobs in a nation’s economy. They can also be a source of innovation when they provide capital to promising entrepreneurs with a good idea for a business. They can also invest in technology to improve the efficiency and productivity of a company, thus creating more jobs.