The Financial Services Industry
The financial services industry encompasses a wide variety of services that are related to the finance sector. These include deposit-taking, loan and investment services, estate and trust services, insurance and all forms of market or financial intermediation including distribution of financial products. The industry is important to the economy because it provides an essential means of funding investments and other business activities. This is why it is regulated by many different government bodies.
Despite the fact that technology has transformed how people manage their money, the financial services industry still faces a number of challenges. One is the widespread lack of understanding among consumers about basic money management concepts, such as saving, debt and investing. Another challenge is the need to offer more innovative ways to help customers save and invest. This will drive customer acquisition and retention, as well as growth for the industry as a whole.
In general, financial services provide the administrative mechanism through which cash gets from those who have it to those who need it. They also include investment services that make it possible to input funds and grow them, and risk management services that ensure that individuals and businesses don’t end up losing a lot of money. In order to do their jobs effectively, providers of financial services must build and maintain a high level of trust. Investors must believe that their savings will be safe, and bankers must know they’ll be paid back if they lend money to borrowers. Insurance companies must be able to ensure that their policies will pay off in the event of a claim.
As the world’s most powerful economies continue to shift toward digital and consumer-driven models, the lines between traditional financial services sectors and new entrants will continue to blur. This will create a complex web of interactions in which each company must adapt to expand its role in the customer value chain. The winners in this environment will be those who can amplify, catalyze and connect their roles.
During the last decade, the big US banks lost market share to fintech startups that offer mobile-first digital consumer banking and payments services. These firms are gaining ground by offering more convenient and personalized experiences that go beyond checking and savings accounts to offer financial planning, PFM (personal finance management) tools, mortgages, credit cards and other financial products and services. In addition, they are attracting consumers by using loyalty programs and lowering or eliminating fees for certain products.
To compete, the big banks are developing their own mobile and digital banking apps and investing in data analytics to understand their customers and serve them better. They are also partnering with payment networks and retailers to offer more financial products in their physical stores. They’re also reducing costs by offering merchants discounts on transactions to offset the cost of their own debit and credit card fees. As the competition in the financial services sector intensifies, companies that are unable to respond quickly will find themselves left behind.