Financial services is a broad term that encompasses the business areas of banking, saving and investments, insurance, credit and loans and debt management. The industry is essential for ensuring the smooth running of any economy as it allows people to purchase goods and services and save for the future. It also helps businesses by providing a framework to manage risk.
Financial service providers include banks, credit unions, stock brokerage firms, investment funds and mutual funds, insurance companies, debt resolution agencies and global payment providers like Visa and Mastercard. They also include professional advising firms that provide investment due diligence, M&A counseling, valuation, real estate consulting, and risk consulting services to individuals and businesses. These firms range in size from small domestic consulting companies to large multinationals.
Another important function of the industry is its role as a barometer of economic health. A vibrant capital market is an indication of healthy economy and allows companies to acquire the necessary funds to boost production and reap profits in the long run.
The industry provides other important functions such as hire purchase and leasing, housing finance and a wide variety of credit cards. This enables consumers to buy goods and services that they would not otherwise be able to afford, as well as improving their standard of living through the purchase of cars, houses and other amenities. It also encourages savings and reinvestment through the provision of various schemes that allow consumers to earn interest on their savings. Some of these schemes are facilitated by government bodies while others are offered by private enterprises.