The financial services industry encompasses a broad range of business activities and is an integral part of the economy. These activities include the provision of financial intermediation, capital markets, credit and insurance. Financial institutions serve individuals, small businesses and large companies, as well as the government. The sector consists of banks, brokers and mortgage lenders, as well as investment firms and asset management companies.
In this industry, the work environment is often fast-paced and competitive. Those who excel tend to be intelligent, quick-thinking and team players. Most businesses also provide extensive on-the-job training and encourage their employees to continuously learn new tools. In addition, financial services companies are known for promoting from within and rewarding their top performers.
Despite its importance, the financial services industry still faces challenges. One of the biggest is a lack of awareness about debt and money management among consumers. Additionally, the industry needs to continue integrating technology to offer its products to more people. In doing so, they can improve customer retention and acquisition.
Traditionally, financial services were the domain of banks. But as regulations limited their offerings, consumers began using services from other members of the sector like brokerage and money market and mutual fund companies. This increased competition led to the development of new services and products that blurred the lines between financial service sectors. For instance, an orange is considered a consumer good, but it could be considered a capital good for a deli owner who uses it to make juice.