Financial services are a broad category of economic services that incorporate all sectors involved in the management of money. They cover a huge swath of the economy from investment and retirement funds to mortgage brokers and banks. They also include all other services that manage or touch money, such as credit unions, credit cooperatives, and other institutions that provide a wide range of deposit-taking and loan services; securities firms; credit-card issuers; banks and other depository organizations; and credit unions, insurance companies and pension funds.
Some examples of financial services are investment banking, where banks help individuals invest their money; and depository institutions, where people place their savings. Other examples are asset management, where financial services companies hold and manage customers’ assets; and risk management, which consists of insurance products that protect against loss.
The financial industry is highly regulated, with many independent agencies designed to oversee different financial institutions’ operations, uphold transparency, and ensure clients are treated fairly. Two key regulatory bodies are the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.
A career in financial services is challenging but rewarding. It is a great choice for people who are intelligent, quick-thinking, and good at teamwork. You’ll work hard, but the rewards are there, with excellent pay and the chance to specialise in your area of expertise. The work environment is usually collaborative and less competitive than other parts of the finance world. And, if you have a strong work ethic, there is the possibility of fast progression to management level and beyond.