Financial services is an industry that covers a wide range of sectors. It includes banks, brokers and mortgage lenders, but also insurance companies, securities traders and investors.
Its primary drivers are the free flow of capital and liquidity in a market, which boosts economic growth. It also helps businesses manage risk, and provides consumers with access to credit.
Regulatory bodies oversee different financial institutions, which uphold transparency and ensure that their clients are treated fairly. These include the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, as well as independent agencies.
The main types of financial goods are essentially things that you buy, like stocks, bonds, loans and real estate. The process of acquiring and managing them is called a financial service.
Examples of financial services are accepting deposits and repayable funds, making loans, administering payment systems, trading, settling accounts through credit cards and checks and electronic funds transfers.
In addition, providers provide services such as investment and retirement planning and asset management. These companies offer advice and invest funds for their clients, who pay them for their expertise.
There are also several sub-sector areas within financial services, which can include the central bank; depository organizations such as banks; building societies and mortgage banks; credit unions or credit cooperatives; insurance and pension funds; general financiers; cash management firms; leasing companies; hire purchase; and other financial intermediaries.
Some of the most common job titles in this industry include investment banker, loan officer, financial analyst and real estate agent. However, there are nearly endless career opportunities in this field.