Financial services are activities that involve the inflow and outflow of money. People engage in these activities when they buy and sell products, take out loans, invest their savings and levy taxes that further specific economic goals. The health of a country’s economy often depends on the strength of its financial sector. When this sector is strong, it leads to a vibrant capital market, which is an indicator of a healthy economy.
Traditionally, each area of the financial industry stuck to its own specialty: banks offered checking and savings accounts, loan associations provided mortgages and personal loans, and brokerage companies provided investment opportunities in stocks, bonds, mutual funds and credit cards. Today, however, many financial institutions provide multiple types of financial services. This includes commercial banking, which offers a full range of consumer and business services including deposit-taking, lending, cash management and investing; consumer finance, which provides credit card loans and other retail services; insurance companies that offer life, medical and property coverage; and asset management, which manages pensions, investments and other assets.
A career in financial services can be highly rewarding, but it’s not without its challenges. As a result, it’s important to choose the right role for you. You may need a degree to get started in the industry, but as you progress up the ranks it’s more about the skills and personality you bring to the role rather than your academic qualifications. The pay is good, but you’ll need to be a fast-thinking and team player to thrive in this competitive environment.