A Career in Financial Services
The financial services industry encompasses thousands of depository institutions, providers of investment products, insurance companies, credit and lending organizations, debt resolution companies, global payment networks and critical financial market utilities. The sector also includes accountants and tax filing services, currency exchange and wire transfer services, and credit card machine and network services. It has made great strides in expanding financial inclusion worldwide, allowing millions of people to open bank accounts for the first time.
A career in financial services can be very rewarding. Many professionals in this industry enjoy excellent salaries, especially for entry level positions, and have the opportunity to advance quickly, often through promotions within their firm or by moving to a different company. The industry is highly competitive, however, and many jobs require a high level of skill. Some positions, such as investment banking, require a degree in finance or business.
Regardless of what type of position is sought, it is important to be detail-oriented and have good analytical thinking skills. In addition to these soft skills, the ability to build relationships is also key to success in this industry.
To meet the needs of their customers, financial services companies must understand the customer life cycle and identify what products will be relevant at each stage. This can be done by examining data and other indicators like customer engagement with other products, or their spending habits.
For example, people are more likely to buy a home when they have children, so banks should be prepared with mortgage offerings at that point in the customer life cycle. Similarly, banks should offer lines of credit to customers who are nearing retirement or who own businesses, as these are key moments when they may need to access capital to continue operations or expand.
Financial services companies are also regulated by governments, which can affect the amount of risk they take on and the rules they must follow. As such, this industry is a major contributor to the stability of economies around the world.
The largest companies in the sector include diversified conglomerates such as Berkshire Hathaway, American Express and Wells Fargo, and specialized banks like Credit Suisse, Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs. These companies focus on specific products and markets including credit cards, investments and lending. For instance, Credit Suisse offers a variety of wealth management products and services, while Morgan Stanley provides brokerage and investment banking to individual investors. Wells Fargo and Goldman Sachs provide commercial banking services to large corporations and small business owners.