Financial services are the businesses and professionals that provide individuals, small companies, large corporations and even government agencies with a variety of financial products. They can include everything from mortgage lenders and brokers, to investment firms, credit card companies and more. These industries are not only vital to a country’s economy but also to individual consumers, and are responsible for helping people manage their finances, save money, purchase goods and investments, and secure loans or credit.
The industry has evolved over time and now includes many subsets of business. Historically, each sector specialized in one or more products. For instance, banks offered checking and savings accounts, while loan associations offered home, auto and personal loans. Brokerage companies specialized in the sale of stocks and bonds, while credit card companies like Visa and Mastercard solely provided credit cards. As regulatory bodies began loosening restrictions, however, the lines between sectors blurred and companies started offering more products than they had before.
Today, there are thousands of jobs available within the industry. Not all are created equal, though, and finding the right job to suit your career goals is key. Duitch points out that “not all financial service jobs pave the way for a career in the industry.” For example, working as a teller at a community bank may not be the best move if you want to become an investment banker.
Having a firm understanding of the basics is critical, and it can help you break into the industry and make a solid career. Fortunately, there are numerous educational programs and online resources to help you learn the skills you need. In addition, some financial services firms offer internships or entry-level positions that allow you to gain experience and grow your network before applying for higher-level jobs.