Financial services are a vital part of the economy, providing individuals and businesses with the ability to borrow money for investment purposes. The industry includes a number of different sectors that encompass a broad range of services, including credit unions, banks, credit-card companies and insurance agencies. These organizations provide consumers with the tools they need to manage their personal finances, and also enable businesses to expand and grow. The field of financial services has a high degree of competition, but it is also a lucrative career choice for those who are interested in finance and money management.
People rely on the financial services sector for many things, from loans to help with unexpected expenses to saving for their retirement or a down payment on a house. A healthy financial services sector allows individuals to make big purchases and gives businesses the capital they need to invest in new equipment or markets. It also safeguards people’s property and health through insurance coverage.
Historically, the different sectors that made up the financial services industry were more or less distinct from one another. Banks offered checking and savings accounts, loan associations provided mortgages, and brokerage firms provided consumer investment opportunities in stocks, mutual funds, and other assets. However, over time the lines between these sectors blurred as companies began to offer more than their initial specialties.
In addition to traditional banking and credit-card services, some other companies that are considered part of the financial services sector include debt resolution services, global payment service providers like Visa and MasterCard, and financial market utilities that operate stock, derivatives, and commodity exchanges. Additionally, insurance agents and brokers are considered to be part of the financial services industry, although the former sells products directly on behalf of an insurance company, while the latter is a representative of the consumer who shops around for the best possible policies and prices.
The demand for jobs in this field continues to be strong, with professionals reporting that they are very satisfied with their positions. Most of the major players in this industry offer competitive compensation and benefits packages, along with ample opportunity for advancement. A person who is interested in pursuing a career in the financial services industry should be well-versed in basic math, statistics, and computers, and should also have excellent communication skills.
One of the best ways to break into the financial services industry is by applying for entry-level positions and working your way up through the ranks, starting with customer service and moving up to management roles. Having a good network will also improve your chances of landing a job in this highly competitive industry. Other ways to gain experience in this industry include working as an intern for a broker or other firm and volunteering to work on the campaign of a politician who is seeking election to office. Getting involved in a community organization that helps the underprivileged is also a great way to get exposure to the world of financial services.