Financial services are the activities that businesses, governments and individuals engage in as they seek to meet their economic goals. These include deposit-taking; lending of all types (including financial leasing, credit cards and loans); securities trading; asset management; investment banking; custodial, depository and trust services; and other auxiliary finance and market intermediation services.
Most people will use a wide range of financial services at some point during their lives, including taking out loans; saving and investing money; and managing debt and other day-to-day finances. This makes the industry a powerful force in our economy, and the companies that provide these services are vital to many other business sectors.
However, the sheer number of jobs within this sector can make it hard to decide where to focus your career. And not all roles pave the way to your dream role – a job as a bank teller may not help you get to become an investment banker, for example.
A key part of financial services is insurance, which offers consumers protection against loss or damage to their assets (e.g., home and auto insurance), against death or injury (e.g., life and health insurance), or against liability or lawsuits. Some of the largest insurers are financial services conglomerates that offer a wide range of products like loans, savings accounts and insurance.
Another important subsector of financial services is private equity and venture capital providers, who supply investment funds to young and growing businesses in exchange for ownership stakes or profit participation. This type of financing is often used to fund the growth stages of companies, and it is one of the fastest-growing areas of the financial services industry.