Financial services are economic services tied to finance, which include consumer credit and debt management, asset management, banking, insurance, and securities. The industry plays a crucial role in everyday life, enabling people to make investments and pay for goods and services. However, there are also risks involved with working in the financial services sector.
Many companies in the financial services industry operate as conglomerates, which are businesses that are active in several sectors of the financial services market. The advantages of this structure are that the company can diversify its revenue streams and reduce its overall risk exposure. Moreover, the company can benefit from economies of scale, which can lead to lower operational costs and higher earnings.
Some of the biggest players in the financial services industry are banks, investment firms, credit card companies, and payment processing firms. In addition, there are a number of private equity funds, venture capital providers, and angel investors that offer funding to small and medium-sized enterprises.
Banks provide financial services by lending money to consumers and businesses, offering deposit accounts, issuing credit cards, and transferring funds between accounts. They also offer business loans, mortgages, and personal loans to individuals. In addition, they may invest in equity or debt for public and private entities, and underwrite mergers and acquisitions.
Many households and small-scale entrepreneurs in developing and emerging markets lack access to financial services. This can hinder their ability to save for a rainy day or purchase consumer durable goods such as refrigerators or cars. It can also prevent them from expanding their businesses or growing their operations.
The lack of financial services can be especially damaging to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). A 2014 World Bank Enterprise Survey found that 36 percent of SMEs in low-income countries and 37 percent in sub-Saharan Africa reported feeling constrained by their lack of access to financial services.
In the US, there are a number of benefits to working in financial services, including competitive salaries, job security, and opportunities for advancement. However, the field can be stressful and challenging for those who are not suited to it, and burnout is a real concern. In addition, the industry is heavily regulated, which can slow down growth and innovation.
The most important factor to consider when choosing a career in financial services is how it will align with your long-term goals. While a degree is often required for positions in the field, gaining experience through internships and entry-level roles can help you break into the industry. It is also possible to gain entry to the field without a degree, but this will limit your career options. As with any field, it is important to network and build connections to increase your chances of getting a job. Finally, a good work-life balance is critical in the industry. It is not uncommon for employees in some roles to work 16 to 20 hours a day, which can be detrimental to health and productivity.