Financial services are a vital part of the world’s economy. They enable people to get the money they need for things like mortgages, education and vehicles. They allow individuals to save for retirement and other goals, protect their health, property and assets through insurance coverage, and provide businesses with investment capital to help them grow. A healthy financial services industry empowers consumers and drives the practices, standards and operations of almost all other industries.
The term “financial services” may seem all-encompassing today, with banks offering everything from checking accounts to mortgages and credit cards, and brokerage firms providing investing opportunities in stocks and bonds. It wasn’t always this way, however. Each sector of the industry more or less stuck to its specialty in earlier times. Banks provided a place for customers to store their money and make loans; loan associations offered mortgages and personal loans; brokerage companies allowed investors to invest in stocks, bonds and mutual funds; and credit card providers such as Visa and Mastercard specialized in providing credit cards.
A career in financial services is not only lucrative, but it also allows you to build a diverse and extensive portfolio of skills and experience. Many professional firms in this field promote from within and offer on-the-job training. This, combined with a tendency for the industry to focus on aptitude over tenure, can make it easier than other fields for entry-level professionals to advance quickly into positions with greater responsibility and pay.