The financial services industry is comprised of professional firms that provide financial management. It includes everything from credit unions and community banks to investment funds, private equity and venture capital providers, and more. The industry is regulated by federal, state, and local authorities to protect consumers and the economy.
The most basic of the financial services sector involves banking and includes things like cashing checks, taking deposits, and lending money. It also includes credit-card companies, escrow services, and global payment systems. The financial services industry also encompasses securities and commodities trading, which includes exchanges for stock, bond, and equities, as well as asset management firms that manage pension and insurance assets.
Another key subsector is insurance, which protects against loss or damage of various types (e.g., health, auto, home, life insurance). Investment banking is the process of raising funds from investors for a company in return for an ownership stake or profit participation. Finally, there are hedge fund managers and private equity funds that help other companies get off the ground by supplying them with investment capital in exchange for a fee.
A career in the financial services sector offers a high degree of job security, since it is so crucial to the economy. You can also expect generous pay, especially if you begin to move up the ladder quickly. Plus, many financial services companies are global organizations, which means you can relocate without having to find a new job if you decide to leave the field for a while.