Financial services are a wide category of activities that help individuals and businesses manage, invest, and protect their finances. They include banking, investing, insurance, and the redistribution of risk. When this sector and a country’s economy are strong, consumer confidence and purchasing power rise; when the industry falters, it can drag down an entire economy.
This industry is incredibly diverse, with many different career paths within it. The good news is that, in general, a degree is not necessarily needed to break into this field. The vast majority of employers offer intensive training and on-the-job mentorship, so it’s possible to learn the skills necessary to excel at your job – and move up the ladder quickly.
One of the most prominent subsets of this industry is banking, which includes both handing over deposits to customers’ checking or savings accounts and lending money to them (though a portion of this capital must remain on hand, as dictated by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation). Another common subset is investment services, which encompasses things like brokerage services, private equity funds, mutual funds, and more.
Then there’s insurance, which offers protection against death and injury (e.g., life insurance policies) and against property loss or damage (e.g., homeowners’ or auto insurance). Finally, there’s asset management, which involves overseeing pension funds, insurance assets, hedge funds, and other investments. These sectors are all interconnected, so it’s vital for them to work together to ensure their customers receive the best overall service.