Financial services are the economic activities that support individuals, businesses and governments by providing them with the money they need to earn, spend, invest and borrow. It is a huge industry that includes everything from banks, mortgage lenders and stock brokers to investment advisers, insurance companies, credit card companies and Wall Street. The financial sector has a direct impact on the overall health of the economy and provides millions with solid, well-paying jobs.
There are four main types of services that make up the financial industry: deposit taking, lending, securities trading and risk management. The largest service providers are banks, asset managers, credit unions, insurance companies and credit-card issuers. These firms provide people with deposit products like checking and savings accounts as well as loan products including personal, business and mortgage loans. They also sell investment securities and offer cash management and foreign exchange services. Financial services also help people manage their debt and protect their assets through insurance policies.
While the emergence of technology has opened up new markets and opportunities for many of these companies, it has also created an entirely new set of challenges. One of the most significant is cyber security, which has become a major concern for many financial institutions, with attackers constantly looking for ways to exploit weaknesses in their systems and steal data. This has forced these organizations to invest in proactive monitoring and BC/DR solutions that will allow them to keep two steps ahead of the bad guys at all times.
In addition, the globalization of the financial industry has led to a need for these organizations to have solutions that can provide high availability and reliability across multiple sites and time zones. This has been particularly important since the attacks on 9/11 and has driven the development of leading edge solutions that have helped these companies stay resilient and operational in the face of natural disasters, terrorist events and other disruptions.
If you are interested in a career in the financial services industry, it is important to network as much as possible. This will give you a better chance of landing an entry-level position that will give you the experience and skills to move up through the ranks. This is an especially important strategy if you are pursuing a job in a highly competitive area, such as wealth management or investment banking. In these areas, the more connections you have, the better your chances are of being interviewed and getting a job. Once you are in the industry, it is important to work hard and be diligent with your investments to build up your reputation in this specialized field.