03 June 2022 12:22:54 IST

Why a career in financial services makes great sense?

For a nation obsessed with entrance examinations and professional courses, we seldom see people aiming for a career in financial services. Yes, at a later stage, students tend to be aware of possibilities in the financial services sector, hence the interest towards professions like merchant banking and wealth management.

Though it may not be the norm, many choose or prefer a certain career due to their earning potential. What many don’t understand is that there may not be much of a correlation between what one earns and the wealth one creates for self.

To give it a real-world perspective, here is an example: A company that showcases healthy revenue growth may not show the same growth when it comes to profits. A financial expert or a wealth manager helps in creating wealth out of earnings for an individual. India for sure needs trained professionals in large numbers to help people chart out the path to financial freedom.

Why financial services?

The overall market for financial services in India is huge. The markets hold tremendous potential, both of their sheer size and diversity of needs. Ours is an underpenetrated and underserviced market at the same time. For example, the percentage of people who have life insurance and the percentage of people who have adequate life insurance vary to a great extent. We have shortage of talent who can understand the needs of a customer and add value.

Many of the products were pushed to market and hence, the on-field customer experience has not been great. The fact that even savings and protection plans needed to be pushed to be sold showcases low levels of awareness and hence the huge upward potential.

With higher disposable income, people have taken to new investment methods. Covid lockdowns certainly helped them to discover new investing avenues. Many D.I.Y platforms came up, which encouraged investments and even lured people without a proper risk assessment.

Aim to be growth partners

Wealth is truly a long-term benefit, and it should not be pursued as a tool to generate dopamine. Happiness is when you build it over a period, systematically, in a disciplined manner. The financial services industry needs long-term players and ambassadors who can chart the progress for their clients.

A career in financial services needs advocacy and expertise from those who represent the service provider, which must be experienced by the clients. Professionals need to build their knowledge to create conviction in the products and services they offer.

It is often the conviction that people seek when they invest because all they get back is a promise in return. Financial goals may seem too big to attain at present and it is time, with the power of compounding which creates magic. The power of compounding is called the eight wonder of the world for a reason.

Certifications and steps to grow

Very few industries give the scope of learning and continuous improvement as financial services do. There are a lot of certifications to go for. Many of them are promoted by the regulators and some are even internationally valid. These skillsets are highly pursued by employers. A qualification earned will be seen as initiative displayed to learn by a future employer and should be sought aggressively by ambitious talents.

It is not just in sales that financial services offer qualifications and certifications. Many of them are in back-end operations, technical research, risk management and so on. If you wish to pursue growth, sky is indeed the limit. A qualified professional is valued by the customer and hence it matters.

Certifications are provided by the National Institute of Securities Markets starting from basics of securities markets, mutual funds, and operations to advanced ones in risk management and investment advisory. One can also opt for Certified Financial Planner certification, which is globally valued and accepted.

Good examples

We have heard enough and more stories of mis-selling and incorrect sales representations. We all have had one of our dear ones describe their shock and disbelief when they felt orphaned by their financial services partner, who once promised financial freedom and a better standard of life.

The industry needs good people, who can grow because their client has grown. The industry needs its people to be straightforward, to keep the interests of their customers foremost. The industry needs people to stay and grow with organisations. It needs true relationship managers, not designated ones. Because relationships are also investments, and it takes time, effort, and care to grow.

For a nation with a life insurance penetration of 3.2 per cent and roughly 7 per cent in household equity investments, a career in financial services offers tremendous scope and can truly be a rewarding one. Efforts need to be taken for increasing financial awareness and investor rights and that is when we have a matured market, which further enables growth stories and bigger employment avenues.

(The writer is AGM - Training and Development, Geojit Financial Services.)