Whether you’re buying a car, paying for college tuition or saving money for retirement, financial services are what allow you to do it. And while you may think of banks, credit card companies and mortgage lenders as separate entities, they all fall under the umbrella term “financial services.”
Financial services include those that deal with direct savings and lending as well as investments, insurance and the redistribution of risk. They serve individuals, small businesses, large corporations and the government. The core of the industry consists of deposit taking, credit creation and provisioning, loan pricing and servicing, securities trading and market making.
Banks – Accepting deposits from customers and providing checking and savings accounts that earn interest. Also providing loans to consumers and businesses based on their creditworthiness. Financial institutions also provide debt management services by acting as trustees to debenture holders, rehabilitating sick companies and advising clients on capital structure and optimum debt-equity mix.
Stockbrokers – Purchase and sell shares of publicly traded companies on behalf of investors, typically charging commissions for their services. They also perform research and maintain a public stance on specific stocks and industries.
Private equity funds – Provide investment capital to small and midsize businesses in exchange for ownership stakes or profit participation. These firms are often the driving force behind innovative new technologies.