Financial services help put money to productive use. Consumers can give their savings to intermediaries, who might invest them in the next great technology or allow a homeowner to purchase a house. The mechanisms that intermediate these flows can be complicated, and most countries rely on regulation to protect savers and borrowers, and help preserve the trust that underpins all financial services.
There are many different financial services, but they can be broadly grouped into four categories: depository institutions, providers of investment products, insurance companies, and credit and financing organizations. In addition, there are financial market utilities like clearing houses and exchanges that facilitate stock, derivative and commodity trades, as well as debt resolution services and global payment systems such as real-time gross settlement and interbank networks.
Often, a single company will offer multiple financial services. For example, a bank may have an insurance division and an investment banking division that operate independently. However, some companies take a more consolidated approach, buying other financial services firms and adding them to their portfolio of offerings. This can lead to the creation of a financial services conglomerate.
A career in the financial services industry can be lucrative and rewarding, but it can also be stressful. These roles are highly regulated and can require long hours. For these reasons, it is important for individuals considering a job in the financial services industry to carefully weigh the pros and cons before making a decision.