Financial services are the companies and individuals that help put money to productive use, allowing people with money to save, lend it out and purchase other goods and services. This sector is vital to the economy because it provides a crucial function: connecting those who have money to invest with those who need it.
The field is extremely broad, covering everything from the deposit and credit-card services that banks offer to their clients to more sophisticated investment advice and asset management. Financial services also include brokerage firms, where individuals buy and sell securities (like stocks, bonds and mutual funds), private banking, which caters to high-net-worth individuals, reinsurers who provide insurance for other companies’ policies, and exchanges that facilitate stock, derivative and commodity trading.
One notable trend is that once-separate sectors are merging. For instance, banks that once offered only checking accounts and loans now often offer both mortgages and investment products like retirement funds. The reason for this is clear: it helps them increase their revenue and market share.
But it can create some confusion for potential workers, especially since not all jobs in financial services are created equal. According to Duitch, a career in the industry can be incredibly rewarding, but it is important to carefully consider your skills and goals before choosing a path. “Not all jobs pave the way to a career in finance, so it’s really important to understand what your ultimate goal is,” she says.