There’s more to financial services than you know

An overview of financial services

Financial services are the systems in place which supply a need, with a financial purpose. They help with the making, investment and management of money for people and organisations. This includes helping people save money, trading shares in the stock market, exchanging one currency for another and much more.

Banks are places you can keep your money and whilst it is there, banks use that money and lend it to people who need it; for example, people who want to buy a house or a car. The borrower will then pay that money back to the bank, plus an additional cost in the form of interest, one of the ways banks make money.

Organisations other than banks also deal with money. Trust funds and stockbrokers can buy and sell commodities like coffee or oil. They aim to buy at a low price and sell at a higher one, much like a coffee shop, except they don’t keep the product in a warehouse.

Competition in financial services careers

Financial services continues to grow, as finance is the largest industry in the world, which means there are many jobs. Whilst it can be competitive there are many things you can do to make yourself stand out.

This includes completing an entry level qualification such as Fundamentals of Financial Services, completing work experience at financial services companies or even something as simple as keeping up to date with commercial news.

People employed in finance and insurance in the US
People employed in financial services in the UK

What roles are there in financial services

If you choose a career in finance you could be involved with investing money, building client relationships, analysing data, creating and designing algorithms, guiding a team on upholding professional standards and more.

Financial services companies also employ job functions in a more creative remit such as marketing, design or video roles, IT positions and human resources roles, which can vary company to company. For example, at the CISI, whilst we work in financial services and have a finance team, we also have an events team, a marketing and communications team, an IT team, a membership team, a data team and more.

Historically financial services job roles can be categorised into front, middle and back office roles. Front office roles are usually those that are customer facing, which can be great if you enjoy building relationships and are a people-person. If you prefer to zone in on a piece of work with less conversations, back office roles could be more suited to you as these are functions not seen be the customers and provides the analysis, technical and administrative support. Middle office roles are between front and back office roles, they support front office roles by supporting the revenue generation process.

Below are departments that fit into each of these office categories, with some example job roles and salaries. Salaries can vary depending on the area you work in, the company you work for and how much experience you have. For example, in the City of London the average salaries are higher than other areas in the UK.

Front office
  • Wealth management
  • Financial planning
  • Investment banking
  • Trading
  • Client consultants
  • Investment management
  • Portfolio management
  • Asset management

Front office job examples:

  • Wealth manager | Average UK salary £60,000
  • Financial planner | Average UK salary £60,000
  • Trader | Average UK salary £70,000
Middle office
  • Risk management
  • Compliance
  • Legal

Middle office job examples:

  • Compliance officer | Average UK salary £40,000
  • Risk manager | Average UK salary £52,000
Back office:
  • Accountancy
  • IT services
  • FinTech engineers
  • Paraplanning
  • Human resources
  • Learning & development
  • Marketing and communications
  • Operations

Back office job examples

  • Fintech consultant | Average UK salary £44,000
  • Operations manager | Average UK salary £47,000
  • Marketing executive | Average UK salary £40,000

Who you might work for



This could be in the finance function of any company in any sector, or could be a financial services firm



You could work for a regulator in many countries, for example in the UK it is the Financial Conduct Authority, or in Dubai, it’s the Dubai Financial Services Authority.


Academia and training providers

This can involve working for universities or companies that train for certain financial qualifications.


Charities and professional bodies

This refers to professional bodies like us, the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment, along side other bodies and charities around the world.