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Career in Financial Services

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Overview

The major participants of the Indian financial system are the commercial banks, the financial institutions, encompassing term-lending institutions, investment institutions, specialized financial institutions and the state level development banks, None Bank Financial Companies [NBFCs] and other market intermediaries, such as stock brokers.
Capital account convertibility, more freedom for foreign banks, opening up of the insurance sector, and merger considerations are changing the landscape of the Indian financial services industry. Need-oriented timely, quality service will provide the basis for attracting and retaining profitable customers. The demands of global trade, proliferation of complex financial instruments and changing laws and regulations have also attributed to the demand for skilled financial management.
In the rapidly evolving financial services sector some companies are finding it difficult to keep pace but they are all gearing up to face the challenges of liberalization and market developments.
Financial Services
Nature of Work

Due to changing regulations and increased government scrutiny, financial managers must place greater emphasis on accurate reporting of financial data. They must have detailed knowledge of industries allied to banking – such as insurance, real estate, and management functions. In large firms, these officers oversee financial management departments and help top managers develop financial and economic policy, establish procedures, delegate authority, and oversee the implementation of these policies.

Work Environment

The office environment is the ideal workplace of a financial services manager. There is continuous tracking of the financial markets across the globe and the computer is the most important office tool in use. Work hours are normally stable but there are meetings of financial and economic associations to be attended and clients to meet.
Since much of the business depends upon customers’ impressions, financial institutions project a very conservative work environment and dress code.

Specialisations

Bank managers make decisions on loan applications within the policy of the bank. Financial managers manage property, funds or real estate for clients. Investment fund managers invest the funds of others people who may be private clients or institutions. Investment analysts analyse the financial markets in order to advise on the best investment for clients. Investment analysts work on the one side for stockbrokers and undertake their own analysis to provide information for fund manager clients. There are others who work for investment management institutions. Credit card operations are another area of specialization to establish policies for credit card policies and operations of the banks.

Physical and Psychological Requirements

Taking up an educational programme is not the ultimate in securing success in any profession / sphere of activity. There are certain skills very crucialto the demanding nature of the finance profession. Vital among these are analytical ability, mathematical aptitude, computer skills, decision-making skills, to cope with work pressure, good judgement, high degree of ingenuity, excellent communication skills – oral and written.
Persons interested in working in financial services management should enjoy working independently, dealing with people, and have the ability to establish effective personal relationships to oversee staff. They should have a keen interest in world financial and current affairs, and be logical and trustworthy.

Study/Training

The most popular qualifications for entry into the financial services sector are : MBA (Finance); Chartered Accountants / Cost Accountants; Chartered Financial Analysts, Commerce/Economics Postgraduates (1st class) and equivalent/allied qualifications at the entry level.
Chartered Financial Analyst Programe is available in India to cater to the needs of financial professionals in the corporate sector including the financial services industry.
Financial Services

The programme focuses on :
• Corporate Finance
• International Finance
• Investment Management
• Financial Services
By avoiding emphasis on the traditional accounting courses it has become a supplementary qualification that adds value to such qualifications.
The programmes is targeted towards :
• Graduates who wish to build a career finance to work in the industry – corporate / financial services/banking sectors or consulting practice.
• CAs, Cost Accountant, Company Secretaries for updating knowledge in hard core finance and value addition.
• MBAs/other management professionals / students of MBA courses looking for strong base in finance.
• Working executives for enhancement of career mobility / increasing prospects in finance.
The CFA foundation course has been designed to provide undergraduate students with a strong foundation in financial accounting, microeconomics, and macroeconomics, and macroeconomics so that they can commence CFA studies thereafter.
Exposure is given in 2 subjects – Financial Accounting and Economics divided into 4 papers.
Mode of learning for the CFA is distance learning based on self-study and exams, study material (text books) and workbook being provided.
AICTE recognizes the CFA Programme as a postgraduate diploma in Financial Analysis.
Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU), Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University (JNTU) and Bharathidasan University recognise it as equivalent to a Master’s degree while considering applications for admission to PhD programmes in management.
Apex financial institutions such as IDBI, SIDBI, NABARD, RBI, UTI, SBI, HFDC, etc., reimburse fees for the programme to their staff.
Increasingly, CFA is being considered as a desirable value addition for executive positions in corporate sector recruitment.
Other programmes offered by ICFAI to cater to various emerging financial service needs in India:
• Treasury Manager
• Investment Banker
• Certified Portfolio Manager
CFA is a postgraduate professional programme fast emerging as a leading professional qualification in finance ideally suited to those interested in careers in financial management and analysis. It is being considered as a desirable value addition for executive positions in corporate sector recruitment.
Other courses on offer in various universities and management institutes/schools all over the country are 1-year diploma courses and 2 year full-time Master’s degree programmes or 3 year part-time Master’s degree programmes in Finance & Control, Business Finance, or Financial Management. Admissions to the most professionally oriented ones take place usually on the basis of Admission Test and Group Discussion/Interview.
Diploma programmes are often targeted at candidates with related work experience.

Placement Prospects

Qualified finance professionals find placements in the areas of corporate finance; international finance; merchant banking (e.g. in public issue management, euro issue); financial services – mergers and acquisitions, leasing and hire purchase, etc.; capital and money markets, portfolio management – mutual fund industry; investment advisor services; in the application of Information Technology – with ERP (Oracle Financials / Oracle Manufacturing, etc., training); stockbroking, share registry, credit rating, and such allied services.
The best positions in the sphere of financial services usually get filled up from the reputed management institutes during campus placements. The other channel of placements is through a competitive selection procedure conducted by apex financial institutions and private /foreign financial institutions inviting applications from CA/ICWA/CFA/Economics and Commerce postgraduates with above 60% marks.
However, with a strong analytical background, and knowledge of various aspects of financial management such as asset management and information and technology management, etc., one could easily target the right type of organizations for placement.
Salaries depend upon the quality and type of professional attainments, the size and location of the organization. The larger the organization and city of its location, the higher the salaries. Often additional compensation is offered to financial managers in private industry in the form of bonuses. When the stock markets are doing well emoluments and recruitments tend to rise.

Career Progression

There is no standard method of advancement among financial services managers. Advancement depends a lot on the size of the institution, the services it offers, and qualifications and experience of the employee. With smaller employers, advancements are slower.
At the middle management level a good number of working professionals from the industry (public/private sector) are also inducted to help financial service companies in the establishment/better functioning/consolidation/liaison of specialized wings/departments.
A number of professionals with work experience/exposure allied to financial services and to information technology management are today in demand.
The demand for good financial managers notwithstanding, the competition for jobs is most intense. As a result, only those with the best professional qualifications and the right mix of personality attributes find themselves in the running for the best openings. At higher levels the demand is for the right professionals with relevant experience and exceptional track records.

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