Financial services are a huge industry that encompasses an array of professional firms. Whether you’re thinking about entering the field, or are already part of it, understanding what’s involved can help you make smart career choices.
The industry can be broken down into two main categories: personal/consumer and corporate. While some companies, like banks and credit card companies, offer products in both categories, others, such as the AI-driven personal finance budgeting app Cleo, target one category exclusively. The industry also includes many nonprofit ventures, such as credit counseling and money management services.
Companies that deal in financial services include credit unions, commercial and consumer banks, insurance companies, investment banks and brokerage firms, credit-card issuers and private equity firms. Some companies operate in more than one of these sectors, referred to as conglomerates. The most well-known example is Berkshire Hathaway, whose portfolio of investments includes the likes of GEICO and National Indemnity.
Many of these entities face unique challenges during this volatile time. Banks have to worry about customers defaulting on loans, while credit-card providers and mortgage lenders struggle with the drop in housing prices. Financial services professionals must find ways to amplify, catalyze and connect their roles if they want to thrive in the future.
For those interested in pursuing careers in financial services, networking can be key to getting your foot in the door. But Duitch warns that not all jobs within the industry pave the way to the position you’re hoping for. “If you’re trying to be a financial advisor, working as a teller won’t get you there,” she says.