Financial services help people save, borrow, invest, and manage their money. They also protect businesses and individuals from risk by providing insurance.
The financial services sector is an important component of the economy, and a strong financial sector can boost consumer confidence and purchasing power, while a weak one can drag down a country’s overall economic health. It includes thousands of depository institutions, investment firms and insurers.
Banking, which is the most familiar segment of financial services, provides depositors with savings accounts and credit cards. Banks also lend money to customers, and they make a profit on the difference between what they pay depositors and what they receive in interest from borrowers.
Asset management is another major subsector, handling pensions, insurance assets, and hedge funds. It also includes wealth managers who offer advice on asset portfolios and real estate endeavors.
Investment banks provide advice on investments and securities, and develop complex products for high net worth clients and institutions. They can also be involved in mergers and acquisitions and structured finance.
Private equity funds, venture capital providers, and angel investors supply capital to companies in exchange for ownership stakes or profit participation. They may work with private banks, or they may operate as independent entities.
Insurance is another important subsector of financial services, protecting companies and individuals from loss or damage to their properties, life, and health. It can be purchased from brokers and agents, or through a specialized insurance company.