The UK economy is dominated by services, with this broad industry category accounting for approximately 79% of all output. This niche is also driven by financial services, with the capital city of London widely acknowledged as a seminal hub for global finance and trading.
In 2018, the financial services sector contributed an incredible £132 billion to the UK economy, with this accounting for 6.9% of the region’s total economic output alone. Unsurprisingly, this sector was largest in London, where 49% of the sector’s cumulative output was generated.
But what are the most commonplace and lucrative careers for you to pursue? Here are a few to keep in mind:
- Financial Planning
In simple terms, financial planners help individuals to manage their finances and create the foundation for short, medium and long-term security.
Typically, they review a client’s financial goals and capital holdings, before creating a tailored and appropriate plan that helps to accrue wealth and achieve a core set of objectives.
Financial planners tend to work in nationwide groups or smaller, local firms (as opposed to operating as freelancers), while they may also charge a flat fee for their services or a percentage of the assets that come under management.
To qualify and optimise your earnings’ potential, you’ll need a relevant degree and accreditation from the Certified Financial Planner (CFP). This imposes rigorous training on students and equips them with the tools to provide a high quality of service to clients.
- Investment Banking
Investment banking arguably represents the most glamorous niche within the financial services sector, although this may also be the most intense and demanding over time.
Investment bankers essentially facilitate new issuance of corporate securities, before bringing these to market for investors to purchase on the open market. As institutions, investment banks may also trade securities directly, while advising corporations and individual investors alike.
There are various job roles within investment banks, creating wider career options for workers and an opportunity to deploy a raft of transferable skills.
For example, you could work directly on the trading desk, dealing in the buying and selling of stocks, bonds and other underlying securities. Conversely, you may have a background or qualification in data analysis and use this to secure a role as a qualitative research analyst across a range of asset classes.
- Hedge Fund Management
On a similar note, hedge fund management also offers access to an array of associated job roles, while this is also one of the best paid careers in the financial services space.
Given the volatile nature of the global economy in 2020, hedge fund management is an increasingly lucrative option, as widespread uncertainty continues to drive demand amongst investors who aim to capitalise on this and achieve superior profit margins.
But what exactly are hedge funds? In simple terms, they’re largely unregulated private investment firms that may include a diverse array of assets and financial products, which means that they require a great deal of work to manage successfully and achieve the best possible results.
Financial and quantitative analysts certainly play a significant role in successful hedge funds, while portfolio managers and traders also retain huge influence at the frontline of the management team.
Like most roles in the financial services sector, you’ll need a generic degree in fields such as finance, business or economics, before tailoring your higher education journey as you narrow down on a chosen career path.