In 2017, the financial services sector contributed £119 billion to the UK economy. That accounted for 6.5% of the UK’s total economic output. It is one of the UK’s specialist industries and London is seen as the financial capital of the world. In 2017, there were 1.1 million financial services jobs in the UK, so it is clear that this is a very popular sector. If you do want to enter it, you have a choice to make: which path do you want to take?

Insurance

This is a sub-sector that involves dealing with a huge variety of clients and issues, including life, medical and business insurance. There are two main areas of insurance –  actuary and underwriting. Actuaries manage and assess the risks of insuring a person, business or asset. They use probability and financial theory to work out the risk. The other main area is claims. As a claims advisor, you will decide whether or not the insurance company should meet a claim in full or with some exclusions.

Accounting

Accountancy is work that keeps track of and reports all of a business’ incomings, outgoings and obligations. In accounting, there are two basic areas: financial accounting and management accounting. Financial accounting is: “A field of accounting that treats money as a means of measuring economic performance instead of as a factor of production.” Whereas, management accounting is: “The process of preparing management reports and accounts that provide accurate and timely financial and statistical information required by managers to make day-to-day and short-term decisions.

In order to get work in accounting, you need to become certificated. You can work towards that goal by completing an AAT (Association of Accounting Technicians) course. Check out this LSBF press release to see how you can secure the AAT Level 2 Foundation certificate for free by taking an online course. You will find that competition for well-paid accountancy jobs is fierce, however, the HR departments of the major accountancy firms are always looking out for talented individuals.

Commercial banking

Commercial banks are institutions that provide services to the general public and businesses. There are therefore several different kinds of employment opportunities available. You could become a bank clerk, eventually perhaps a bank manager, or a financial services advisor where you will give professional advice to individuals and businesses. This is a sector where you do not necessarily have to be excellent with numbers because some of the roles rely on customer service experiences instead.

Investment banking

This is the high-flying area that people think of when you mention financial services to them. Big deals, big clients and plenty of zeroes. As an investment banker, you need to be able to deal competently with figures, as well as having the people skills to persuade clients to invest in what you want them to. Your job is to make clients some money through smart investments. That, of course, carries an element of risk so you will need a thorough understanding of the investment markets. Typically, an investment banker careers begin with a graduate job so be on the lookout for those when you are nearing the end of your course.