Financial services are the economic services provided by the finance industry, which encompasses a wide range of businesses that manage money, including credit unions, banks, credit-card companies, insurers, investment funds, and securities firms. Financial services are important for a country’s economy, as they allow individuals to borrow money for purchasing homes or cars, save for retirement or other goals, and protect their assets from theft or natural disaster. A healthy financial services sector also creates jobs and gives millions of people the ability to lead prosperous lives.
Some of the most common career paths in financial services include becoming a banker or an investment advisor. In a bank, you’ll be responsible for handling deposits and providing loans to customers. Investing advisors help clients build wealth by offering a variety of investments and strategies. Other positions in this field are insurance agents and brokers, who sell and purchase insurance policies, as well as underwriters and reinsurance brokers.
Besides banking, lending, and investing, the financial services industry includes debt resolution services, global payment networks and credit card machines, and market utilities that facilitate stock, derivatives, and commodity exchanges. It also includes family offices that serve a single wealthy client with investment and wealth management plans, as well as structured finance, which develops complex (and often derivative) products for high net worth individuals and institutions.
The success of any nation’s financial services sector depends on the health of its markets. When a financial crisis hits, the sector can collapse, leading to unemployment and other problems. This is why it’s important for independent agencies to regulate and monitor different financial service providers, as they ensure that everyone is treated fairly.