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Investment and Banking

Roles in investment and banking

As an international financial hub, the UK has a banking and investment sector which is diverse and exciting, with a variety of career options and opportunities for rapid career progression, with substantial financial rewards. There are also opportunities for an international career. Many graduate opportunities are concentrated in London, though financial hubs also exist in south-west England, the Midlands and Scotland.

Banking covers three main functions: investment, retail and corporate/business:

Investment banks specialise in large and complex financial transactions and offer a variety of services to businesses, including:

  • Initial Public Offerings (IPOs): offering new shares in a company which is listing on the stock exchange for the first time (‘going public’)

  • Advising on mergers and acquisitions

  • Trading financial products for corporate clients and offering financial advice

  • Using the bank’s own money to invest in financial markets (proprietary trading)

This wide range of operations means that there is a very diverse range of graduate careers in investment banking, not only on the frontline of customer interactions and proprietary trading, but also in ensuring the bank is compliant with legal and regulatory requirements, and essential support functions such as IT.

Retail/consumer banks are usually found on the high street and offer financial services, such as loans, savings accounts and mortgages, to individual customers.

Corporate banks offer services to businesses or organisations, such as loans and other banking services.

Universal banks have both individual and business customers, offering most or all of the services described above.

Below are some of the finance roles which are most popular with graduates:

Researching the industry


FinTech is the application of digital technologies to deliver financial products and services. It is more than just a support function at financial organisations. It is at the heart of innovation and change in the sector. Jobs can be found in big financial institutions as well as technology start-ups.

Green finance

Green finance is defined by the World Economic Forum as  “any structured financial activity that’s been created to ensure a better environmental outcome”. It is becoming a growth area for careers as governments are increasing investments and subsidies for green industries, investors are becoming more aware of not contributing to climate change, and there is a skills gap that needs to be addressed.

Developing your commercial awareness

Impress recruiters with your knowledge of the company, role, key clients, the industry, current events and how organisations function.

Develop your commercial awareness by keeping up to date with the latest news and trends in finance. 

Schemes to increase diversity in banking and investment

Various schemes exist to help increase diversity in this sector:

Financial Conduct Authority

The Financial Conduct Authority is the conduct regulator for 58,000 financial services firms and financial markets in the UK.

Related sectors

The following sectors may also be of interest: