Financial services are an economic sector of the economy that includes banks, credit unions, insurance companies and accountancy firms. They offer services such as accepting deposits and making loans; administering payment systems; trading and issuing securities, foreign exchange and derivatives; managing assets and offering advice.
Banks and financial institutions are the base of any strong economy, providing savings and lending through deposits, investments and insurance. They earn revenue through fees, commissions and the spread on interest rates between loans and deposits.
The industry is a powerful economic force and affects virtually all industries, businesses and individuals. The rapid pace of change in this sector forces market participants to become more efficient and effective by reducing costs and risks.
A key aspect of the financial services sector is its ability to promote transparency and consumer protection. The EU’s recent work on financial services has focused on improving the quality of information available to consumers and encouraging competition in the retail financial services market.
Technology has also changed the way banks and other financial service providers do business. For example, computer-based models are used to analyze markets and develop investment strategies.
The financial services industry is a large and diverse sector with many different career paths. Most of these careers require some form of degree, but a successful career in the industry is more about interpersonal skills than education. A strong set of interpersonal and team-building skills is necessary for this industry to thrive.