Possible careers within this industry:
Insurance underwriter – Accountant – Risk analyst – Credit analyst – Banker – Claims processor – Stockbroker – Tax consultant
inancial services cover a broad range of industries, including banking, insurance, asset management, credit and tax consulting. Each of these have undergone considerable regulatory and technological change in recent years, with the banking and insurance sectors in particular having to cater for more demanding techsavvy customers on the one hand, as well as ever more intrusive and onerous regulations on the other.
The World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Index consistently ranks South Africa’s financial services sector as one of the best in the world. It plays a vital role in promoting a culture of saving and investing in the economy, which is crucial to long-term GDP growth.
The South African Reserve Bank (overseeing banks and deposit-taking institutions), the Financial Services Board (overseeing insurance companies and investment houses) and the National Credit Regulator (overseeing credit providers) in the main regulate the financial services sector. Those companies that provide a broad range of products, such as large banks, are subject to all three regulators.
What to study
The financial services sector is diverse and there are all manner of knowledge workers making its cogs turn. A business science or commerce degree is generally a basic requirement for a job in the sector, with many employers keen on a specialisation, such as a qualification as a chartered accountant or a postgraduate degree in economics or finance. If, for example, you would like to analyse and measure risk for a life insurance company, an actuarial science degree is your best bet. Short-term insurance companies require all kinds of expertise to underwrite (analyse) the risks they insure, which risks range from aviation and art to engineering and hospitality. So in effect you could study something outside of finance and find yourself working for an insurance company to help it understand the risks involved in insuring large dams or aeroplanes.
As with banking, there are a range of secondary services that financial services organisations need, such as marketing, communications, IT and more.
Did you know?
Santam, which is the short-term insurance arm of Sanlam, is the largest insurance company in the country by market share.
Twin Peaks is a new piece of financial regulation that will see the South African Reserve Bank look after all regulation relating to the financial soundness of banks and insurers, while the Financial Services Board will become the market conduct regulator and ensure that financial services companies are treating their customers fairly.
South Africa has more than 23 million credit active consumers, according to figures from the National Credit Regulator.
Old Mutual (Financial services sector sponsor)
Rand Merchant Bank (RMB)
Chartered accountent: R15 585 – R65 000
Actuarial scientist: R20 525 – R109 469
Asset manager: R11 489 – R63 449