What is Financial Services?
You may be thinking of Bay Street – or Wall Street – but the stock exchange makes up just a sliver of the financial services industry!
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Check out our Financial Services Career Guide!
In fact, the industry is so large it has considerable implications for every one of us.
How can we define the industry?
The financial services industry refers to those various economic services offered to individuals, businesses and the government, that work with money.
These “various economic services” include the sale and purchase of stock (stock exchange), investments, but also things that affect the average individual consumer: insurance, real estate, credit cards, banking, pensions and debts and loans.
These various companies “work with money” insofar as they are concerned with its creation, storage, management, and investment.
In Canada, the financial services industry is one of the more sizable industries around. Being so central to the Canadian economy’s success and failure, the industry is closely-regulated by government.
Furthermore, the financial services industry is highly compartmentalized. What this means is that the work and production of the industry is divided among a few companies, but no company holds a share of the market large enough to have a monopoly, or be able to strongly influence the industry.
Popular jobs in the industry
While we’ve laid some groundwork on the industry, there are nevertheless many nuances, precisely because of the diversity of the work within financial services.
Accordingly, we’ve decided to highlighted eight of the most popular jobs in the financial services sector: check them out below!
Also known as an Financial Advisor or Personal Consultant, an Investment Advisor advises you on how to invest your money.
Clients hire Financial Advisors primarily for their expertise in market-related investments. While some advisors do specialize, most are well-versed in areas including mutual funds, bonds and stocks. Individuals hire investment advisors primarily so they can recommend, implement and manage their investments.
The Financial Analyst or Consultant has comparable expertise to the Financial Advisor, but is different with regard to his/her clientele. While financial advisors are employed by individuals, financial analysts are typically hired by investment firms, insurance companies or banks.
Instead of personal investments, the work of the Financial Analyst is primarily to follow and analyze an assigned company’s financials, determining where the company earns and loses money.
Financial Analysts will forecast projections for future company growth and recommendations for improving a company’s finances.
Financial Planners assist individuals and often offer investment management services.
Individuals seeking financial advice on things like marriage, retirement or an education fund for their children, will hire a Financial Planner to get an assessment of their financial situation and gain financial advice for the future.
The primary distinction between Financial Planners and Financial Advisors is two-fold. First, Financial Planners are required to be certified professionally, with the designation of Certified Financial Planner (or CFP). Secondly, Financial Planners are chiefly concerned with long-term financial planning, using the process to benefit all aspects of personal finance including: budgeting, saving, debt planning, investment, insurance, retirement and estate planning.
A Financial Auditor verifies the financial statements of individuals, companies, organizations or governments in order to express an audit opinion.
The audit opinion is intended to express, but not guarantee that the financial statement provided by any legal entity is, fair and accurately represented.
The auditor – internal or external – offers an objective, and independent examination to ensure the integrity and credibility of whatever body is being audited, and also consequently reduces investor risk and capital costs for those who are hired to prepare financial statements.
Actuaries are financial professionals who consider financial impact of risk and uncertainty. Typically, Actuaries offer assessment or evaluations in order to minimize financial losses, when uncertain and unfortunate circumstances come up.
Actuaries may, for example, estimate long-term costs and damages incurred by natural disasters or wars.
An Account Manager works for a company and is responsible for building strong relationships with the company’s clientele, as well as managing sales.
While the Account Manager does not manage the client’s account daily, he/she does manage the company-client relationship. Account Managers serve as the intermediary between customer service and the sales team, and are assigned to existing client accounts with the purpose of creating long term relationships with clients and managing their portfolios.