Financial services are the activities that companies, governments and individuals undertake to manage money flows to further economic goals. They include buying and selling products (or assets), issuing securities, taking out loans, making debt repayments, and levying taxes to further specific monetary objectives.
Banking services are a broad category of financial service that includes deposit-taking, lending of all types, and investment management. Insurance services are another broad category of financial service that provides protection against risk or loss in the event of an unforeseen situation, such as death, sickness and property damage. Investment services are a subset of financial services that provide brokerage, asset management, and other advisory and intermediation activities for investors and corporate clients.
Finally, payment services are a broad category of financial services that provide processing, settlement and clearing services for transactions in financial instruments including debt and equity securities, derivatives and commodities, and payments. Other important categories of financial services are financial market utilities that offer the infrastructure for these activities, such as stock exchanges, clearing houses, and derivative and commodity markets, as well as payment systems that allow for the transfer of funds between banks.
Because financial services are so integral to the functioning of our economy, a successful career in this field requires a high degree of skill and knowledge. Depending on the position, many firms in this sector will offer extensive on-the-job training and encourage professionals to continue their education. Additionally, companies in this industry are known for promoting from within based on merit, making it easier to advance if you’re working hard.