The financial services industry is broad and incredibly important to our everyday lives. It encompasses everything that touches money in one way or another—from big investment banks and hedge funds to small community banks and credit unions. Financial services are vital to our economy and make it possible for people to buy the goods and services they need by providing easy access to credit, as well as opportunities to invest and protect against financial loss.
When most people think of the financial services industry, they often think about banking and investing. However, there are many other aspects of the financial services sector that have an impact on our lives every day, including consumer finance, securities, insurance and diversified financial firms.
Consumer finance includes credit card companies like American Express and mortgage lenders such as Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, which allow individuals to purchase products and services they cannot afford upfront. It also includes personal and student loans, as well as a number of different payment platforms that let consumers pay for things using their phones or apps.
Securities and investment management are two other parts of the financial services industry that include a variety of different careers and jobs. Securities and investments firms research, analyze, and buy and sell stocks on behalf of clients—often with the goal of earning a profit for their investors. Some securities companies also offer a bundled broker service called prime brokerage for high-net worth clients.