Banking and Financial Services

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The world of banking and financial services is vast. It encompasses banks, building societies and credit unions. In addition there are investment banks that provide a range of investment services and advice to individuals and organisations. Furthermore, there are and public institutions such as the Central Bank.


There are several finance related options in higher education. You can study Finance on its own in UCC, or as part of a joint degree with subjects such as Economics and Accounting in numerous other colleges. Students of finance acquire a dual knowledge of financial economics – asset valuation, stock markets, etc – and issues of corporate finance – capital investment, strategic decision making, maximising company value, and so on.

Courses in Financial Services are available from Dublin Business School (with Business), Athlone IT, IT Sligo, and IT Tallaght (with Investment Analysis).   A degree provides a good footing for careers in fund management, stock market analysis and corporate lending. Graduates will have excellent analytical skills, a deep understanding of products, participants and functions of the financial markets, and an ability to communicate expert financial advice to non-expert clients.

Actuarial and Financial Mathematics degrees (available from UCD, DCU, UL, and NUI Galway) are suitable for students who enjoy solving mathematical problems. Graduates learn how to utilise complex quantitative analysis in measuring financial risk, statistical probabilities, etc. Potential career areas include actuary, economic analysis, insurance and consultancy.

Further education options provide students with a sound understanding of the basic principles in all the above areas. Available courses include Business & Finance, Financial Services, Accounting & Finance, and Insurance & Banking Studies.

The Work

Banks and stockbroking firms traditionally acquire new staff through graduate recruitment programmes.

A lot banking and financial work is now done over the phone and online, with many commercial banks providing telephone and internet banking. In the bank itself there are a number of differing roles to fill such as customer service staff that deal with basic transactions and account enquiries, and also advise customers on services such as mortgages, loans, investment opportunities and pensions. Bank management staff is responsible for attracting new business, providing financial services to businesses and to private customers, evaluating customer requests and leading and motivating bank personnel.

Corporate banking is also broken down according to specialisation. Corporate financial advisors help companies with business matters such as mergers, acquisitions, hedge funds and risk management. Actuarial analysts and researchers study the economic climate and stock market to find trends and developments. Fund managers build their client investment portfolios through successful equities, investment and asset management.

Stockbrokers buy and sell bonds, stocks and shares to make profits for their clients. Clients can be either financial institutions or private customers. Most stockbrokers work for firms who are members of the Irish Stock Exchange (ISEQ). There is also the option of opening an independent consultancy advising private clients.

The fact that there is such varying positions within the banking industry mean that different traits are attractive in each one; for example stockbrokers need to work well under pressure and make decisions quickly. Research and analysis roles suit people who are independent and meticulous. Anybody interested in a financial career should have a good head for figures and IT competency.

Did you know?

On December 15th, 1886 was the first day that a million shares changed hands through the New York Stock Exchange.

Further Resources

Central Bank

Irish Stock Exchange is a national database of universities, colleges, institutes and providers of third level and PLC courses in Ireland. We operate a national search database of courses at certificate, diploma and degree level as well as providing information about career paths and directions.
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