Financial services are the companies and intermediaries that put money to work for people. They accept deposits and lend funds to borrowers for various purposes, from building a business to purchasing a house. They also provide investment advice and manage assets. And they operate the payment systems that make it possible to transfer funds electronically, such as through credit and debit cards, bank drafts like checks, and wire transfers. In addition, they offer insurance and debt resolution services. Financial services companies can be for-profit or nonprofit ventures.
Careers in the industry vary widely, from entry-level positions for those with little experience to top-management jobs for seasoned professionals. Choosing the right role depends on how well it fits with your career goals and what type of lifestyle you prefer. For example, if you want to run your own company, you should avoid working as an investment banker, which requires long hours and frequent travel.
But you may find it easier to have a balanced lifestyle with a job in the mortgage or credit card industries, where the pay is higher and hours are shorter. Some of the largest companies in the world focus on providing financial services.
The industry is regulated by independent agencies to ensure transparency and protect investors and customers. For example, FINRA and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency regulate banks in the United States. Some of these regulatory bodies specialize in specific areas, such as consumer finance or securities regulation.
During the financial crisis of 2008, many people lost faith in the integrity of the banking system, which led to increased regulations and oversight. These changes have since stabilized the financial sector and provided more opportunities for growth and innovation.
As an increasingly large part of the economy, financial services are an essential part of putting money to work. Instead of hiding their cash under the mattress, consumers can deposit their savings with financial services providers who will invest it in the next great technology or lend it to someone who needs it to start a new business or buy a home. These financial services companies also help to pool risk by aggregating savers’ funds and spreading them out among many borrowers, so that individual members are not crippled by the failure of a few bad loans.
Despite the recent turmoil in the industry, there is still opportunity for professionals with the right skills and education. For example, companies that offer specialized mortgages or credit cards are growing. This trend, combined with consolidation within the industry and the removal of the Glass-Steagall Act, is creating a number of new career paths for qualified individuals. In addition, the industry is constantly changing, so it’s important to keep learning and stay current with the latest developments. This way, you can continue to build your knowledge base and increase your chances of success. Here are a few tips to help you get started in this exciting field.