Financial services is a broad term that refers to all of the different professional firms that provide people with an array of economic tools. These include credit unions, credit card companies, banking institutions, investment houses and lenders. People use these tools to manage their personal finances, which may include paying bills, saving for retirement or acquiring assets. These firms are a key component of any economy, because they provide the money that allows businesses to operate and grow.
In addition to banks and other depository institutions, financial service providers are insurance companies, credit unions, credit-card issuers, loan brokers, stock brokerages, mortgage and real estate firms and private equity funds. They also encompass global payment systems like credit cards and e-wallets, debt resolution services, accounting firms and currency exchanges. Many of these organizations also offer critical financial market utilities, such as clearing houses, credit rating agencies and commodity and derivatives exchanges.
The financial services industry is a lifecycle-based sector, meaning that it offers products and services to meet customers’ needs at different stages of their lives. For example, an individual will likely need a new credit card or a mortgage after they get married or start a family. By studying customer data, financial services companies can identify these key life events and be ready to serve their clients with a relevant product or service.
As the demand for financial services continues to rise, so do opportunities for professionals in the industry. However, it can be difficult to determine which role in the industry will best suit your skills and career goals. Read on to learn more about the four key roles in financial services and how they work together to create a vibrant sector of the economy.