Financial services are the collection of industries that intermediate and facilitate financial transactions. The sector includes banks that provide deposit-taking, loans and investment services, but also credit card companies, stock exchanges and other brokers, insurance companies, debt resolution services, and a host of other businesses that deal with money in some way.
One of the most important roles financial services play is encouraging the public to save and invest more, which in turn stimulates the economy. This is done by increasing the profitability of savings through a range of innovative products and services such as share-based payments and tax-efficient saving schemes.
The financial services industry is also a huge source of jobs. It provides services to a wide range of customers from individuals to large corporates and government agencies. This includes private equity funds and venture capital providers, who supply investment capital to fledgling companies in return for ownership stakes or profit participation. The industry also includes mortgage brokers, who help people find the best deals on housing, and insurers, whose policies protect customers against loss or damage to their property (e.g. fire, flood or theft) or against liability claims.
Financial services are a complex and fast-changing area, and career opportunities here are often highly coveted. The skills and experience gained in the field can be transferable to almost any other job, and a career in the sector can be extremely rewarding. However, it is crucial to weigh up the pros and cons before making the decision to pursue a role in financial services.