Financial services are the activities that businesses, individuals and governments engage in as they pursue economic objectives. They encompass all activities that involve the inflow and outflow of money, such as buying and selling products (or assets), taking out loans and paying debts, as well as providing advice on investment options and insurance policies. Financial services are vital for a country’s economy, and when they operate at a high standard, can promote economic growth. Financial services also help to lubricate the flow of capital between savers and investors, and enable entrepreneurs to raise the funds they need to grow their companies and create jobs.
Banking is one of the most basic and important financial services. Banks take in deposits from the public and use them to provide loans to individuals and businesses. They are regulated by government bodies and are expected to follow certain standards. When they are not, the industry can suffer, as was the case when mortgage defaults triggered a housing market collapse in 2008.
Another important service provided by banks is intermediation. This involves pooling together funds from multiple depositors and lending them to people or businesses who need money immediately. This helps to reduce the amount of cash that is in circulation and encourages economic growth.
The banking industry is also involved in credit management and risk assessment. This includes activities like collecting and analysing information on loan applicants, assessing the risk of lending money to customers and ensuring that those loans are not withdrawn when they are no longer required. Financial institutions also offer other auxiliary financial services such as clearing and settlement, asset management, payment systems and securities trading.
Investors require financial services to help them manage their portfolios and invest in different sectors of the economy. Financial advisors and consultants can assist with due diligence when purchasing shares or other types of investments, as well as providing valuation services to aid in real estate endeavors. They can also advise on retirement planning and provide other general advisory services.
Insurance is another major part of the financial services sector, and offers both protection and a return on investment. Policyholders can receive money when they need to replace items or rebuild after an unforeseen event. This is especially useful when it comes to protecting against natural disasters or the death of a family member.
The vast array of jobs in the financial services industry can make it challenging for job seekers to choose a role that will suit their skills and ambitions. However, it is worth remembering that many roles will not pave the way to a specific career, so the key to success is finding the right position for you and working hard in it. This will ultimately lead to greater responsibility and the chance of a promotion. It is also important to consider the pay that you will be getting when considering a career in financial services, as this can be a lucrative industry.