Financial services include banks, credit unions, insurance agencies, brokerage firms and mutual fund companies. It also includes debt resolution services, global payment providers like Visa and Mastercard, and financial markets that facilitate stock, derivatives and commodity trades. Regulatory bodies like independent agencies are also part of the industry, ensuring that different sectors follow the law and uphold transparency and supremacy in their operations.
While the scope of the financial services industry may seem all-encompassing today, it wasn’t always that way. Prior to the 1970s, different sectors of the industry stuck to their niches. Banks offered checking and savings accounts, loan associations provided mortgages and other loans, while brokerage companies specialized in investment opportunities such as stocks and bonds. As consumer demands evolved, financial services conglomerates began to grow and offer more than their original range of products.
The benefits of working in the finance industry can be numerous. The industry plays a key role in the national and world economy, influencing consumers and businesses alike. For example, if a country’s financial system begins to break down, the economy may begin to slow down. This could lead to a recession, whereby banks tighten their lending limits and people stop spending.
If you’re considering a career in the financial services industry, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons carefully. This includes the fact that the field requires a strong network to get you started. However, if you’re able to find entry-level positions in the sector that enable you to learn as you go, you can eventually make your way up into management roles.