When thinking about careers in finance, many people immediately think of banking jobs such as brokers and mortgage lenders. While those are important roles, financial services encompass a much larger sector that includes other things like insurance, credit card companies and global payment networks.
A healthy financial services industry is critical for individuals, businesses and the economy as a whole. It allows individuals to obtain loans for mortgages, cars and education as well as save money for retirement and other future expenses. It also safeguards against unforeseen events and catastrophes through the availability of insurance products. And it drives economic growth by allowing entrepreneurs to launch new businesses and create employment opportunities.
The main segments of the financial services industry include commercial banks, savings institutions and diversified financial companies. The first segment, commercial banking, handles transactions such as accepting deposits and providing loans to individuals and businesses. It also provides investment management, which invests funds in assets such as securities, real estate and equity. It can also provide debt resolution services such as helping borrowers work out a debt repayment plan and financial market utilities, which manage and facilitate stock, commodity and derivative exchanges as well as payments and settlement systems.
Other parts of the financial services industry include private equity and venture capital providers which supply investment capital to small businesses and large companies in return for ownership stakes or profit participation. Asset management firms handle a diverse range of investments, including mutual funds, pensions and hedge funds. Insurance services can cover a wide variety of risks for individuals and business, such as health, life and property insurance.