What is the Financial Services Industry: There is a potential source of confusion regarding careers in finance. On the one hand, there is a function called finance that is common to all business enterprises, in every industry. On the other hand, there is a financial services industry. The primary focus of this guidesite is on the latter definition. Additionally, note that the finance function is but one of many possible career paths within the financial services industry.
The Finance Function: The finance function encompasses a variety of job categories. Degrees and/or professional certification in accounting are necessary in only a minority of cases. Careers, for the most part, fall into these 3 broad categories:
The Financial Services Industry: The financial services industry includes firms that are engaged in activities such as investing, lending, insurance, securities trading and securities issuance. This is not an exhaustive list, but these companies can be characterized as being in one or more of the following lines of business:
- Securities Brokerage (or Financial Advisory Services)
- Investment Banking
- Securities Trading
- Investment Management (or Money Management)
- Securities Analysis
- Financial Planning
- Wall Street
Also note that a broader definition of financial services can include employers and career paths in:
- Regulatory Agencies and Securities Exchanges
- Public Accounting Firms
- Financial Information Services
- Financial Consulting
For More Information: The North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) replaces the old U.S. Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) system as the final word in defining industries. Follow this link and look at NAICS industry code 52 for detail on the financial services industry. Clicking on the codes in the left column of the table will call up finely-grained definitions of each sector within the industry.