A career in the banking and financial services sector could see you in a range of roles, from investment analyst at an international bank, auditor at a governmental regulatory body to actuary for a small private firm. Generally, employees in this sector invest or manage money for their clients. As such, they need to be able to understand business and financial information so that they can anticipate market changes and respond accordingly.
Wherever they end up, finance professionals are expected to be adept communicators with strong analytical skills and the ability to assimilate new information – and, fortunately, those are the same skills you’ll have developed as a law student.
Generally, jobs within the banking and financial services sector can be found within four main types of organisations. Retail banks primarily service individuals and small businesses. This category includes institutions such as Westpac, Commonwealth Bank, ANZ, NAB, and a range of credit unions. Investment banks such as Macquarie Bank, Deutsche Bank, and Morgan Stanley oversee complex and large-scale transactions for business clients, and may also manage assets for high net worth individuals. Insurers underwrite a range of risks for individuals and organisations. Finally, the fintech (or financial technology) sector includes companies that use new technologies and innovations, such as rapid data analytics and real-time trading, to compete in the marketplace.
As a law graduate in the financial sector, you will find that your ability to look for patterns in large amounts of information is invaluable. You may also discover that your grasp of the fundamentals of subjects like taxation law and regulatory compliance helps you stand out when applying for jobs. If you’re still studying, it may be a good idea to apply for internships or summer positions at a financial institution. This will not only boost your credentials when you look for full-time jobs later on – it will also help you decide if banking and finance is the right thing for you.
In Australia, the average entry-level salary for graduates in the banking and financial services sector is $73,000 per annum, and they work an average of 44 hours a week.