The financial services industry covers a vast range of professionals and products. From banking to investments and beyond, this sector plays a critical role in our economy. If you’re looking for a career in this field, it’s important to understand the scope of financial services before deciding your path.
The biggest players in this industry are banks, credit unions and building societies, mortgage bankers and companies, credit-card companies, as well as investment and savings institutions. These companies provide individuals with access to banking facilities like checking and savings accounts, loans and mortgages and electronic banking services.
Capital markets services provide investors with opportunities to invest in public and private businesses and other entities through securities, such as stocks and bonds. This includes equity and debt financing, underwriting and mergers and acquisitions. Private equity firms, venture capital providers and angel investors supply investment funds to startups and small businesses in exchange for ownership stakes or profit participation.
Insurance services provide protection against death or injury (life and disability insurance), property loss or damage (homeowners’ and auto insurance) and liability.
In the past, each sector of financial services stayed within their own niches. However, since the 1970s, banks have merged with other companies and expanded their offerings to keep up with consumer demand. Today, it seems as though the lines between banking services and other sectors are blurred. This is due in part to regulatory bodies that oversee different financial institutions and ensure they are operating responsibly.