The finance and insurance industry is all about managing money and making financial transactions—from a child’s first savings account to multimillion-dollar corporate loans.
Most of this industry’s activity happens at banks, credit unions, credit card companies, insurance agencies, stock brokerages, and investment fund companies. Because of its impact on spending and growth, the health of the financial sector is often tied to the overall health of a country’s economy.
Quick facts to know:
- Financial markets in the U.S. are the largest in the world.
- There are about 490,000 establishments in the U.S. finance and insurance sector with a combined annual revenue of about $4.5 trillion.
- This sector employs more than 6.3 million people.
- New York City is the primary U.S. financial hub, but in this global industry, workers might be involved in hubs around the world, such as London, Tokyo, and Zurich.
For those new to this industry, it’s helpful to understand how profits are generated. Financial companies profit by charging interest on loans, charging fees to make or manage investments, and by taking on the risk of investing money in businesses that may or may not succeed and repay those investments.
Insurance companies offer insurance contracts to individuals and businesses, who pay to insure their health, life, or property. If an event occurs involving damage to the insured, the insurance company must pay to help cover related costs, otherwise the insurance company profits from receiving payments without paying out.
Most finance and insurance occupations are growing, including accountants and auditors, insurance sales agents, and loan officers. A few are declining in number, likely because of automation of some job tasks. These careers include tellers, insurance underwriters, claims adjusters, tax examiners, and new account clerks.