Business & Financial Careers Opportunities & Development Advice Guidance - Information & News From Your Career Guide

Your Career in Business & Finance

Working in the Sector

There are five areas that you could work within. These are:

  • Wholesale/Investment banking
  • Retail
  • Financial advice
  • Investments/Asset management
  • Insurance

Wholesale/Investment banking
This sector offers the highest risk as it is very dependent upon the performance of the global economy. The types of function include trading, securities, brokerage, lending and of most importance, investment banking.
Traditionally, mergers and acquisitions (M&A) has been the main driver of investment. Recently increased diversification has resulted in expansion into the other functions of fund management, private banking, foreign exchange and private equity.

  • 50% of all European global investment banking takes place in London.
  • Most major international companies have offices in London.

Retail includes the provision of financial services and banking products to individuals. Private banking has become the fastest growing area of all financial services in the last decade.

The main issues affecting banking will be the continuing issue of identity fraud and the outcome of the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) bank charges investigation. 

Financial advice
Independent Financial Advisers (IFAs) provide information to individuals and businesses on a range of financial services and products including, pensions, investments, financial planning, mortgages and insurance.

Most who work in this sector are self-employed. You would probably operate in one of four ways:

  • Tiered adviser working for one financial institution.
  • Whole market adviser working for a number of companies on a commission basis.
  • Multi-tiered adviser who will work for and be paid by a number of companies.
  • Independent financial adviser.

To increase public confidence in the IFA sector there has been a move to replace commission payments with fee-based advice but this change is proving to be slower than anticipated.

All IFAs undertake lifelong learning as not only are they required to achieve one of the two industry standards, they are also expected to gain additional qualifications throughout their career. Your qualifications portfolio will be seen as an indicator of your ability and expertise.

Over 80% of all investment, protection and pension business in the UK is undertaken by IFAs.

Investments/Asset Management
With the impact of increased technology and the global market many asset management firms have been forced to improve and develop their operations by looking for more creative opportunities for their clients.

The UK is the third largest asset management market in the world with at least a quarter of all assets coming from outside the UK. If you choose to work within this sub-sector you would be helping to increase the size of your clients (both corporate and individuals) funds by investing in companies at home and overseas.

You would need to be aware of international and national trends and keep an eye out for new markets.

The UK insurance industry is the largest in Europe, third largest in the world and is the biggest employer within the financial services sector. A third of the total number of all those who work in the financial sector operate within insurance - 340,000 people.

Over 17% of investments in the London Stock Market, totalling £1,139 billion, are insurance based.