Financial services are the business activities that enable companies, individuals and governments to further their economic goals. The sector encompasses a broad range of institutions and companies including central banks, depository corporations such as commercial banks, building societies, and credit unions; debt management firms; financial intermediaries like securities brokers and dealers, investment funds, insurance and pension firms; and payment service providers, such as wire transfer services, credit card networks and companies, and the various exchanges that facilitate stock, derivatives, and commodity trades.
The success of financial services depends on trust. Investors expect that the companies they invest with will be around when they need them, and customers (both savers and borrowers) want to be confident that the services they use will be provided reliably. This trust is hard to earn, but it is the bedrock upon which successful financial services are built.
Those in financial services must also be constantly looking ahead to anticipate the needs of their customers. Financial services is a lifecycle industry; customers don’t make big financial decisions at random, but rather at key moments when their lives change – getting married, moving house, buying a car or purchasing a home are all key moments that require a response from financial services.
The industry offers good opportunities to work with great brands and some of the best talent in the world. Pay is not huge, but it is competitive and there are plenty of roles that offer progression based on merit. It is a fast-paced and challenging industry that rewards the most intelligent and quick-thinking professionals.