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)
Retail/consumer banks are usually found on the high street and offer financial services, such as loans, savings accounts and mortgages, to individual customers.
Commercial/business 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.
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.
Below are some of the finance roles which are most popular with graduates:
In 2018, the financial services sector contributed £132 billion to the UK economy, 6.9% of total economic output. Financial Services: contribution to the UK economy, House of Commons Library, Jul 31 2019
There were 1.1 million jobs in financial services in the UK in 2018, 1.1% of all jobs. Financial Services: contribution to the UK economy, House of Commons Library, Jul 31 2019
Various schemes exist to help increase diversity in this sector:
The Financial Conduct Authority is the conduct regulator for 58,000 financial services firms and financial markets in the UK.
The following sectors may also be of interest: