Financial services are a huge part of the economy and can help or hinder a country’s purchasing power. The sector is made up of a wide range of companies and professionals. It includes everything from banks to credit-card companies to investment firms. In addition, the industry also includes debt resolution services and payment recovery organizations.
A financial good is something that has value like a home or a car. A financial service is what makes that object valuable or accessible, such as a mortgage or an insurance policy. Financial services can be provided by governments or private businesses. They can be for-profit ventures or nonprofit, such as community-based counseling or money management services.
The lines between different sectors of the industry have blurred in recent decades. For example, banks once dominated the industry but now offer a broad array of products from checking and savings accounts to money market mutual funds and mortgages. But, before the 1970s, each sector stuck to its specialty. Banks offered deposit and loan accounts while credit card companies like Visa and Mastercard only issued cards.
The industry is highly competitive and requires strong sales skills. A network of professional contacts is important for anyone interested in a career in financial services, particularly if you want to work as an investor or advisor. Most entry-level jobs are temporary, so those who are not flexible and willing to move between roles may have a tough time breaking into the field.