13th Jun 2022

Banking and Finance Jobs: A comprehensive Career Guide


 

Article Summary:

If you’re looking to start or progress your career in finance and banking, this article provides a lot of useful information that you’ll need to know. From explaining the different areas of this industry through to pointing you in the right direction to some of the top jobs, there’s lots to read and learn in this guide.


Introduction

The financial and banking sector is one of the largest industries in the world. Therefore, it presents significant career opportunities. Banking and finance jobs will include providing financial advice and undertaking analysis and specialist tasks in relation to trades, savings, investments, loans and mortgages. Financial based roles can also help to maximise profits while minimising risk.

Main Section

As there are so many different areas of the industry, it makes sense to categorise them into:

Accounting - Financial accountants who are responsible for the management and reporting on a company's accounts. The typical roles that are available in accounting range from performing accountancy tasks for small businesses through to large, international organisations.

Banking and Finance - This is perhaps the largest sector which involves work in banks and building societies, helping customers access accounts, loans, mortgages and insurance.

Financial Planning - A role in this area would focus on helping customers with planning for the future. Financial planning and wealth management can include work for private individuals or advising companies on their finances.

Insurance - Assisting customers find the right policies based on their needs and then working with other specialist professionals in the processing of claims when they are made.

Pensions and Investments - The role of staff within this area focuses on safeguarding the financial interests of customers, reducing financial risk and liability and offering information and advice on investments, risk assessments, data management and trading.

Tax - A specialist area of finance and banking which operates in an advisory capacity to individuals or companies.

Entry, Middle and Senior Finance and Banking Roles

Entry level roles in the finance and banking sector will include positions such as tellers and loan officers. Middle management roles will include positions such as branch managers and financial analysts. Senior management roles will include positions such as investment bankers and financial planners.

Banking and finance jobs are important in the economy as they ensure the stability of the financial system. They also play a vital role in helping individuals and businesses to meet their financial goals.

Where to Find Banking and Finance Jobs

Finding the right finance and banking jobs for your skills, level of experience and qualifications starts with quality research. Identify what jobs you would like to do, the companies you would like to work for and the skill set that you currently have.

With this information, you can then start to look online to find suitable careers. There are two main ways in which you can find jobs in this industry. The first is to identify recruiters who may have suitable vacancies and the second is to research employers directly. In both cases, you will need to have a good understanding of what recruiters and employers are looking for and which ones are actively recruiting for your desired job.

Recruiters and Employers in the Finance and Banking Sector

There are four main accountancy and professional service firms and they are the largest employers in this industry. They include Deloitte, Ernst and Young, KPMG and PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Retail banks and building societies will offer many employment opportunities:

 

  • Nationwide
  • Natwest
  • Halifax
  • Barclays
  • Santander
  • For investment banking roles, popular companies include:
  • Barclays Investment Bank
  •  Morgan Stanley
  • JP Morgan
  •  Goldman Sachs
  •   Deutsch Bank
  •   Citi Group

 

There are also insurers such as AXA, Aviva, Royal London, Direct Line, Legal and General, Liverpool Victoria, Admiral and Allianz who offer vacancies in finance.

Within the banking and finance sector, the responsibilities and typical duties will vary depending on which area you wish to work in.

Trader Duties

To work in a trading role, you will need to have a strong analytical mind, be quick to make decisions and have an in-depth understanding of the financial markets.

Your responsibilities will include:

·      Analysing data to identify opportunities for profit

·      Monitoring stock prices, trends and market activity

·      Making decisions on when to buy or sell investments

·      Keeping up to date with changes in the marketplace

Requirements for a Trader

Interpersonal Skills – Employers are looking for people who can build effective relationships with customers

Analytical Abilities – The best traders are able to evaluate trades to gain valuable data and insights into its performance and the market

Learning – Traders must be willing to learn. Sometimes when trades go wrong, you need to be able to learn what happened and be able to solve problems.

Pressure – Trading is a high pressure environment where you have to think on your feet and make quick decisions.

Stock traders use the fluctuating nature of the stock markets to identify relevant increases and sell stocks at the right time for maximum profit, so recruiters will be looking for evidence that you can do this.

Risk Manager Duties

A Risk Manager will be responsible for assessing and minimising the risks that a company faces. This can be anything from financial risk to health and safety concerns.

Your responsibilities will include:

·      Identifying potential risks to the business

·      Evaluating the impact of these risks

·      Developing strategies to mitigate or eliminate the risks

·      Preparing reports for senior managers

·      Conducting analysis of market trends

·      Learning and using statistical models to produce analytical data

·      Formulating risk management plans

Requirements for a Risk Manager

Risk managers must be adept at managing risk on behalf of others. To become a risk manager, you will need a certain level of experience and qualifications. Some of the requirements that employers will look for include:

·      Advanced research skills and attention to detail

·      The ability to present complicated information in a simple and easy to understand manner

·      Data analysis skills to a high level

·      A degree in economics, business administration, finance or related field

·      At least two years of experience in risk management

·      Expertise in financial analysis, risk management

 

Auditor Duties

The role of an auditor is to provide an independent assessment of a company's financial statements. This involves ensuring that the statements are a fair and accurate representation of the company's financial position.

Your responsibilities will include:

·      Reviewing systems and company accounts

·      Undertaking checks and analysis of financial data from records, receipts and financial documentation

·      Monitoring financial risk

·      Identifying, researching and analysing problems with policy and procedure

·      Monitoring compliance with policy, procedure, legislation and regulations

·      Preparing financial statements and reports

Requirements for an Auditor

Auditors will have several skills and qualifications to carry out their work effectively, but recruiters will look favourably on:

·      Experience in auditing and accounting

·      Knowledge and understanding of industry regulations, tax legislation, reporting standards and policy

·      Accuracy, attention to detail and methodical approach to work

·      Excellent communication skills

·      Problem solving and critical thinking

·      Research and mathematical abilities

To become an auditor, it is expected that you will have between three and five years of experience of financial reporting standards and industry regulations as well as knowledge of accounting practices.

Investment Banker Duties

An investment banker provides financial and legal advice to companies that are looking to raise money through the sale of shares or bonds. They will also work with individuals who are looking to invest their money in a particular company.

Your responsibilities will include:

·      Undertaking valuations to assess the worth of a company

·      Delivering expert advice and guidance to clients on viable investment opportunities

·      Undertaking industry research and analysis

·      Leading financial investigations

·      Managing Initial Public Offerings

·      Defining initial stock prices and facilitating the process of mergers and acquisitions

Requirements for an Investment Banker

Alongside educational requirements and expertise, an investment banker should possess the following:

·      Analytical skills with strong numerical abilities

·      The ability to work as part of a team

·      Exceptional communication and interpersonal skills

·      Time and project management capabilities

·      Bachelors degree as a minimum for an entry level position

 

Financial Analyst Duties

A financial analyst is responsible for providing insights into a company's financial performance. This can involve working with large amounts of data to identify trends and patterns.

Your responsibilities will include:

·      Analysing data to identify trends and patterns

·      Preparing reports for senior managers

·      Providing recommendations on how to improve financial performance

·      Interpreting data on yield, price, risk and stability to determine the viability of a company

·      Monitoring industry news and developments to reduce risk and maximise opportunities

·      Creating financial models

Requirements for a Financial Analyst

The work of a financial analyst is to offer advice to businesses who are making an investment decision. Analysts are accountable for completing in depth research and identifying market trends. As a minimum, employers will look for:

·      Excellent skills in maths and numeracy

·      An understanding of the financial markets

·      Analytical ability and critical thinking

·      Time management and the ability to work to deadlines

·      The ability to read and interpret financial reports

·      A degree in accounting, finance, economics or related field

·      Employers may prefer candidates who have a certification from the Chartered Financial Analyst Society (CFAUK) or the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment (CISI)

Some analysts will enter the industry upon graduation while others will focus on gaining the relevant work experience. Alternative routes into the industry include quantitative analysis and statistical analysis.

Financial Planner or Advisor Duties

A financial planner is responsible for helping individuals and businesses plan for their future. This can involve working with clients to assess their financial needs and goals.

Your responsibilities will include:

·      Assessing the financial needs and goals of clients

·      Preparing reports and presentations

·      Providing recommendations on how to achieve financial goals

·      Buying and selling financial products

·      Conducting research into regulations and financial products

Requirements for a Financial Planner

Financial planners or advisors need a comprehensive skill set, with employers looking for:

·      Business management abilities to negotiate product rates

·      Active listening skills

·      Reliability and trust

·      Knowledge of economics and accounting and an understanding of financial products and the market

·      Level 4 qualification in financial advice recognised by the Financial Conduct Authority

Banking Jobs

There are a wide range of jobs available in the banking sector. The most common roles include tellers, loan officers and branch managers.

Tellers Duties

A teller is responsible for processing transactions at a bank. This can involve anything from cashing cheques to making deposits.

Your responsibilities will include:

·      Processing transactions

·      Answering customer queries

·      Keeping up to date with changes in banking regulations

·      Opening and closing accounts and counting the cash drawer

·      Delivering advice to customers on the latest financial products such as mortgages, credit cards, loans and insurance

Teller Requirements

Bank tellers will work in a largely customer facing role, so employers will be looking for candidates who can demonstrate the following:

·      Strong people skills and customer service knowledge

·      Computer literacy particularly in financial systems and banking software

·      Attention to detail to review customers identity and complete financial documentation with accuracy

·      At least four GCSEs either at grade A-C or 9-4 including English and Maths

Loan Officers Duties

A loan officer is responsible for approving or decline loan applications. This can involve working with clients to assess their financial needs and goals.

Your responsibilities will include:

·      Assessing the financial needs and goals of clients

·      Reviewing loan applications

·      Making decisions on whether to approve or decline loan applications

·      Assessing the credibility of customers who wish to take out a loan

·      Selling loans, mortgages and financial products

·      Reviewing documentation for financial product applications

Loan Officer Requirements

Loan officers play an important role in the financial services sector. Employers will favour candidates who possess the following skills:

·      Knowledge of loan operations

·      Excellent interpersonal and communication skills including verbal and written

·      Customer service skills and the ability to handle customer enquiries

·      An understanding of credit unions and how they are related to financial services

·      Analytical skills to review loan applications and supporting documentation

·      Three years experience in financial institutions ideally banking or financial services

·      Level 3 diploma in personal and business financing

·      For senior roles, a degree qualification in finance, business and accounting is required

Branch Managers Duties

A branch manager is responsible for running a bank branch. This can involve anything from managing staff to handling customer queries.

Your responsibilities will include:

·      Consulting, counselling and guiding employees on all aspects of customer service in banking

·      Monitoring the achievement of sales targets

·      Establishing relationships with other branches and delivering training

·      Resolving complaints

·      Overseeing financial reports for regulatory bodies

Branch Manager Requirements

A branch manager will face many different situations on a day to day basis. Therefore, they need a variety of skills to perform their jobs effectively. Employers will look for:

·      An ability to prioritise, multitask and manage time effectively

·      Mentoring, leadership and coaching abilities

·      Compassion and empathy

·      Project management, organisational and administrative skills

·      Several years experience in business management

·      Although not a pre-requisite, many companies prefer candidates who have a bachelors degree in a relevant field such as business or finance

Professional Qualifications

Relevant qualifications for jobs in finance and banking include:

·      ACA - Chartered Accountant

·      ACCA - Certified Chartered Accountant

·      CFA - Chartered Financial Analyst

·      CIMA - Chartered Institute of Management Accountants

·      CIA - Certified Internal Auditor

·      CPA - Certified Public Accountant

There are many other qualifications that are relevant for jobs in finance and banking. These include the Institute of Financial Services (IFS) Level 4 Certificate in Mortgage Advice and Practice and the CeMAP (Certificate in Mortgage Advice and Practice).

When you decide which area of finance and banking you want to move into, it's important to check the qualifications or accreditations you will need to obtain before your can practice. The ACCA course for example, is a well-respected qualification for those looking to work in the accounting sector of finance and banking.

Jobs in the finance and banking sector are important for the economy and society. They provide stability and help individuals and businesses to meet their financial goals. Jobs in this sector can be found at all levels, from entry-level positions such as tellers and loan officers, to middle management positions such as branch managers and financial analysts, to senior management positions such as investment bankers and financial planners. There are many large employers in the finance and banking sector, including the four main accountancy and professional service firms, retail banks and building societies, and investment banks.

Interview Questions for Finance and Banking Jobs

When you attend a job interview in the finance and banking sector, you will be asked questions about your skills, experience, and qualifications. You may also be asked about your understanding of financial principles and concepts, and your ability to use problem-solving and analytical skills.

Some common interview questions for jobs in the finance and banking sector include:

·      What qualifications do you have in finance and banking?

·      Describe your understanding of financial principles and concepts.

·      What experience do you have in the finance and banking industry?

·      What is your approach to risk management?

·      What do you think is the most important skill for a job in finance and banking?

What to Highlight in Your CV

If you want to pursue a career in finance and banking either as an entry level or seasoned professional, there are certain things that you should highlight on your CV. Firstly, it is important to highlight your qualifications in finance and banking. If you have a master’s degree in finance or business administration, this will give you an advantage over other candidates. Secondly, you should highlight any relevant experience that you have in the finance and banking industry. This could include internships, work experience placements, or previous roles in finance and banking. Finally, you should highlight any skills that are relevant to the finance and banking industry, such as analytical skills, problem-solving skills, commercial awareness, and numeracy skills. In all of these areas, make your CV achievements based. Don't just say that you have a skill or some experience. Show the recruiter or employer how you used this to benefit the company you worked for.

How to Develop a Career in Finance and Banking

If you want to develop a career in finance and banking, there are a number of things that you can do. Firstly, it is important to gain relevant qualifications in finance and banking. A master’s degree in finance or business administration will give you an advantage over other candidates. It is also important to gain experience in the finance and banking industry. This could include internships, work experience placements, or previous roles in finance and banking. Finally, you should develop skills that are relevant to the finance and banking industry, such as analytical skills, problem-solving skills, commercial awareness, and numeracy skills.

Where available, join industry bodies as these will offer training and ongoing professional development that helps you increase your knowledge, skills and expertise. It also gives you an opportunity to pursue career development goals or seek a promotion.

Conclusion

Being prepared for working in finance and accounting is important. It is a hugely rewarding but challenging industry to enter. Understanding what is required of you and having the relevant skills and experience will help you to stand out from other candidates. You should now have a good understanding of:

·      Why banking and finance is such a popular industry

·      The different types of jobs that are available in finance and banking

·      How to apply for jobs in the industry

·      The different sources of industry vacancies

·      How to write a winning CV and application

Further Reading and Resources

The finance and banking sector is complex but these resources will give you some more information to help you decide whether this industry is for you:

https://www.prospects.ac.uk/jobs-and-work-experience/job-sectors/accountancy-banking-and-finance

https://nationalcareers.service.gov.uk/job-categories/business-and-finance

https://www.nationwide-jobs.co.uk/

https://www.allaboutfinancecareers.co.uk/finance-courses/banking-and-finance/banking-finance

https://www.hays.co.uk/job/banking-jobs/banking-accounting-finance-jobs