The financial industry, or financial services industry, includes a wide range of companies and institutions involved with money, including businesses providing money management, lending, investing, insuring and securities issuance and trading services. The following institutions are a part of the financial industry :

  • Banks
  • Credit card issuers
  • Insurance companies
  • Investment bankers
  • Securities traders
  • Financial Planners
  • Security exchanges

Financial Industry: Demand and Supply Drivers

Demand for financial products are driven by risk-reward assessments, which consider :

  • Potential Yield
  • Risk rating
  • Liquidity
  • Availability of information
  • Access to alternatives

The major supply drivers are :

  • Money supply
  • Interest rates
  • Inflation
  • Economic conditions
  • Government regulations

Financial Industry: Major Players

According to the Global 2000 (annual report by Forbes), seven of the worlds top 10 companies belonged to the financial industry. These included Citigroup, Bank of America, HSBC Holdings and JPMorgan Chase. Their combined revenues in 2007 were worth $645 billion, down from the 2006 high of $785 billion.

According to the Fortune 500 rankings, in 2006 financial services generated $257 billion in profits, a third of total Fortune 500 profits. In 2008, however, they lost a staggering $213 billion, a total swing of $470 billion. Big players on the list, such as Citigroup and Bank of America, may only be alive today thanks to government money.

The finance industry is an industry in itself as well as an ancillary that supports other industries. Trade and commerce across the world would come to a standstill if there was no means to fund, pay and protect the transactions, hence the need for governments to support the financial services industry when companies that are too big to fail are close to collapse.