Financial Services Business
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Financial services refer to services provided by the finance industry. The finance industry encompasses a broad range of organizations that deal with the management of money. Among these organizations are credit unions, banks, credit card companies, insurance companies, consumer finance companies, stock brokerages, investment funds and some government sponsored enterprises. As of 2004, the financial services industry represented 20% of the market capitalization of the S&P 500 in the United States. The term "financial services" became more prevalent in the United States partly as a result of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of the late 1990s, which enabled different types of companies operating in the U.S. financial services industry at that time to merge. Companies usually have two distinct approaches to this new type of business. One approach would be a bank which simply buys an insurance company or an investment bank, keeps the original brands of the acquired firm, and adds the acquisition to its holding company simply to diversify its earnings. Outside the U.S. (e.g., in Japan), non-financial services companies are permitted within the holding company. In this scenario, each company still looks independent, and has its own customers, etc. In the other style, a bank would simply create its own brokerage division or insurance division and attempt to sell those products to its own existing customers, with incentives for combining all things with one company.A "commercial bank" is what is commonly referred to as simply a "bank". The term "commercial" is used to distinguish it from an "investment bank," a type of financial services entity which, instead of lending money directly to a business, helps businesses raise money from other firms in the form of bonds (debt) or stock (equity).Private banking - Private banks provide banking services exclusively to high net worth individuals. Many financial services firms require a person or family to have a certain minimum net worth to qualify for private banking services. Private banks often provide more personal services, such as wealth management and tax planning, than normal retail banks.Capital market bank - bank that underwrite debt and equity, assist company deals (advisory services, underwriting and advisory fees), and restructure debt into structured finance products.Bank cards - include both credit cards and debit cards. Bank Of America is the largest issuer of bank cards. Credit card machine services and networks - Companies which provide credit card machine and payment networks call themselves "merchant card providers".Asset management - the term usually given to describe companies which run collective investment funds. Also refers to services provided by others, generally registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission as Registered Investment Advisors.Hedge fund management - Hedge funds often employ the services of "prime brokerage" divisions at major investment banks to execute their trades.Custody services - the safe-keeping and processing of the world's securities trades and servicing the associated portfolios.Financial services.
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