The Financial Services Industry

Financial services is a broad category that encompasses a huge range of professional activities and products. In a healthy economy, a robust financial sector means people have more money to spend, which stimulates business and boosts employment, while keeping interest rates moderate (not skyrocketing).

A healthy financial services industry is also key to a country’s health: It provides a vehicle for individuals and businesses to invest their savings, purchase homes, vehicles, insurance and other items, and protects them against loss due to natural disaster or other events that can occur. This sector includes a number of for-profit companies, including banks, credit unions, credit card companies, mutual fund firms and brokerages.

There are many career opportunities in this sector, from entry-level teller positions to investment bankers. Some positions require a specific degree or certification, while others offer on-the-job training to learn the basics of the field and move up the ladder. Financial services firms tend to promote from within based on merit, making it an attractive option for new graduates who want to build their careers quickly.

Several areas of the financial services industry specialize in providing debt or equity financing to private and public entities seeking to grow. This can include private equity, venture capital, and underwriting or advising on mergers and acquisitions. Another area of specialty is structured finance, which involves developing intricate (typically derivative) products for high-net-worth individual clients and institutions. This may involve a complex combination of bond and stock trading strategies.