What Is Financial Services?

You might think of banks, brokers and mortgage lenders when you hear the phrase “financial services.” However, that is only part of the story. The industry is much broader, encompassing insurance companies, securities traders, investors and Wall Street, among many others. In addition to serving individuals, a healthy financial sector also supports small businesses, large corporations and even government agencies.

Financial services are activities that involve the inflow and outflow of money, such as buying or selling products (or assets), making loans, and issuing shares. Businesses, governments, and individuals engage in these activities when they want to further their economic goals.

To make sense of the many financial services available, it helps to break the industry down into various sectors. These include commercial banking – the provision of checking and savings accounts, credit cards, and loans; consumer finance – the supply of goods or services for rent or purchase (e.g., car rentals, televisions), including the financing of those purchases; investment banking – underwriting debt and equity for businesses seeking to grow through acquisitions or takeovers; and asset management – the purchasing and managing of investment assets like mutual funds, pensions, real estate and other portfolios.

The lines between these sectors have blurred as consumers demand more from the financial services industry and technology has created new options for customers. The result is that firms need to be more agile than ever to anticipate customer needs and deliver solutions, whether it’s a mobile wallet, a robo-adviser or some other innovation.

This sector is crucial to the economy and provides a great number of jobs. It is responsible for enabling millions of people to get the funds they need for a home, business or education. It also enables families to save for the future and safeguard their assets from loss or damage. It supports a robust business environment and enables entrepreneurs to start their own companies.

There are many different career paths to choose from within financial services, but the right role is one that fits with your long-term career goals and skills. Choosing the wrong job could set you back in your career. Whether you’re starting out as an intern or entering the workforce with experience, there are many roles that can help you achieve your goals, such as customer service, accounting, operations and sales. To find the best job for you, start by understanding the industry’s scope and speaking with a Phyton Talent Advisor about what roles might be a good fit.