Getting Started

Types of Careers

Introduction

While a lot of jobs in finance need people with university degrees there are also many opportunities for holders of vocational qualifications at different levels and for others with good exam grades at Advanced Level. There are jobs that require working at a desk and others that involve moving around to meet clients or to attend work related meetings.

The finance industry offers great training and development opportunities, good reward packages, career enrichment, and some of the best working environments you may come across.

The following is an overview of some of the fantastic varied career options. This should give you an idea of what is what:



Careers in Banking

Banks are at the heart of the finance industry, though all the other key players within the industry operate as separate entities from each other. Generally speaking, most banks meet the needs of two groups; retail banking provides services to private clients – families and individuals – and business banking, also known as corporate banking, meets the needs of businesses, governments and the public sector. Some banks specialise in just one or two activities, such as financing big trade or infrastructure deals, or managing the money of wealthy people.

Types of careers: The range is enormous and includes high level advisory work, managing processes, customer services, legal, accountancy, IT, marketing, human resources and work in specialist areas such as insurance, lending, foreign currency management (known as treasury), investment management, trade finance, financial control, internal auditing, regulatory compliance, transaction supervisory roles,   prevention of money laundering and funding of terrorism officers.


Careers in Insurance

The following terms related to this area of business are intended to help you understand better the role of insurance in the sector:
 
Underwriting is a specialisation involving detailed analysis of the different aspects of proposals submitted by customers to insurance companies. This analysis will result in the amount of premium that has to be paid by these customers.

Loss adjusting is very important in the determination of the amount that is required to settle an insurance claim. It involves detailed analysis of the features of the claim. This will determine how much the insurance company will pay in respect of compensation to the client for the loss incurred.

Compliance is the process of ensuring that the insurance company is doing business according to standards established by law.

As in other areas of financial services, insurance is offered on a retail and wholesale basis. Examples of retail insurance would be motor, house, travel or health insurance. Wholesale insurance is a more specialised area that might involve arranging insurance for a footballer’s or ballerina’s legs or insuring a company against natural disasters such as hurricanes!

A contract of Insurance is defined as ‘an agreement whereby an insurer agrees, for a consideration, to pay to or for the account of the insured, a sum of money or other consideration, whether by way of indemnity against loss, damage or liability or otherwise, on the happening of a specified event with respect to which there is an element of uncertainty as to when or whether it will take place’. 

Generally speaking insurance is classified into two main categories – general business of insurance and long-term business of insurance. The risk insured may be    situated inside or outside Malta. Examples of former type of insurance are insurance policies covering damage to cars, ships, and aircraft. Examples of the latter type of insurance are insurance policies covering life insurance, marriage and birth insurance. 

Retail insurance professionals help people achieve security by weighting up the   likelihood of events such as accidents and illness, and finding policies that protect     against them; wholesale insurance professionals deal with and manage large and   complex risks. In retail insurance – insurance for private citizens – the range of products covers the risks associated with health, homes, cars, boats and dozens of other areas. Insurance experts also design pension plans and life insurance policies      for customers. On the business side, the range of products is even larger, but the simple rule is that where someone wants to insure against uncertain circumstances, the insurance industry has a product to suit.  

Types of careers: Insurance Manager and  Legal Advisors work in brokering, underwriting, loss adjusting, claims management, customer service, sales, compliance and risk management, financial reporting and client advisory.


Careers in Investments and Financial Advice


Most people want their money – the money they don’t need on a daily basis – to work hard for them. They want it to grow. The job of the investment services industry is to use its special skills, knowledge and expertise to invest money on behalf of their clients or to advise clients on how to best use their money. On the other hand, financial advice refers to the instructions given to private citizens on how to best manage their financial affairs. Some financial advisers work in banks while others work in independent specialist firms. They advise all types of customers, from people with modest amounts to invest to the very wealthy.

Types of careers: There is a range of career choices in the investment sector some of which are client focused and others which are administration based. Operations and services professionals support investment companies in the processing of transactions, ensure that companies meet statutory requirements and      that risks are managed. Others are involved in researching and identifying good investment options for clients and advising them on which ones to choose. 

As with all areas of the finance world there are people who work on the   administration side of the sector and others who specialise in working with clients.    Financial advisers need to have deep knowledge and understanding of a vast range of financial products and many people become specialists, for example in investment      or savings products, or stocks and shares, taxation or mortgage finance. You could be helping a person looking and getting their first mortgage, an older person needing to plan for retirement, or perhaps someone who wants to find out how to invest their money.


Careers in Trusts and Fiduciaries

Several professionals in Malta offer specialised trustee and fiduciary services, providing their clients with the highest level of protection and security, by assisting them in establishing a trust in Malta. A trust is an obligation which binds a person or persons (called the ‘trustees’) to deal with property over which they have control (called ‘the trust property’) for the benefit of other persons   (called the beneficiaries) or for a charitable purpose in accordance with the terms of  the trust. 

Types of careers: Besides the need of licenced trustees, clients often need the services of legal, accounting and audit professionals, business and tax advisors, and back office support to ensure a smooth and efficient succession planning and estate management. 


Careers in Credit Finance and Leasing

Credit finance is where one party provides credit to a secondary party who is often referred to as the borrower or debtor, to be repaid at a later date. The purpose for obtaining such credit is varied and dependent on the needs of the borrower. Security is generally obtained by the lender to cover the   obligations of the borrower should s/he not pay or otherwise default. A finance lease is also a financing arrangement but is structured differently. It is often used in connection with a specific asset, in which the lessor makes certain payments and has control and economic use of the asset but does not have legal ownership, although the lessor would generally have an option to acquire the asset at the end of the lease period.

Types of careers: Banking staff, legal counsel, administration, financial analysis, risk management, accounting and auditing, regulatory and compliance, customer service, credit risk assessment and management.


Careers in Non-Bank Financial Institutions

Non-bank financial institutions offer a number of services that are similar to those offered by banks. But these institutions do not take deposits from the public. In general they are involved in specialised lending and /or dealing in foreign exchange. Therefore, in so far as careers are concerned they offer a number of work opportunities that are similar to those offered by banks.

Types of careers: Specialised lending activities such as credit finance and leasing offer opportunities at different entry levels in customer services, management of the processes that ultimately lead to the granting of these specialised loans, administration, financial analysis accountancy and law. Some employees for example can become specialists in lending that is related to fleets of cars, ships or hotels.

As to foreign exchange, activities range from exchange bureau services up the more complex and specialised activities related to the sales and purchase of investments in foreign currency. Again careers offered are varied depending on the area and specialisation in which the prospective employee would wish to be involved in.


Careers in the Statutory / Regulatory Sector

Although the above career suggestions refer to the industry, it is important to remember that entities such as the MFSA, the CBM, and the FIAU  make up the core of the finance sector together with the different market players. Therefore, they and (to a lesser extent) the Civil Service also provide career opportunities at different entry points to persons with a legal, accountancy or a technical background directly related to a particular area within the finance industry. The same applies to other entities and firms that are more involved in the supporting structure of the finance industry. Career wise, these are mirror images to those in the industry.

Of particular interest in the area of financial services is Anti-Money Laundering. As an EU Member, Malta has adopted the Prevention of Money Laundering and Funding of Terrorism directives, which are designed to ensure that monies have not originated from any criminal activity. Various professional services firms offer a wide range of risk management and KYC (Know Your Customer) services, as well as fraud monitoring, compliance checks and training.

Types of careers: The Anti-Money Laundering field offers a wide selection of career opportunities, for instance, in legal and compliance work, transactions and fraud analysis, software engineering / development (to develop risk assessment and monitoring solutions), risk specialisation. People might also engage themselves in training and in providing continuous education on anti-money laundering and funding of terrorism.


Careers In Specialist Legal Sectors

Not all young lawyers who graduate end up working in the law courts pursuing a career in litigation..  Indeed many of them end up specialising in various areas in the finance sector.  They do so after undertaking post graduate studies specialising in different areas with the financial sector.  In this manner they are able to provide specialised legal assistance to different categories of clients.  These will be companies, big and small that operate within the financial services industry.  A few of these areas of specialisation include company law, taxation, shipping and aviation, wealth management and trusts, banking, investment services, funds and insurance.

Many of the specialised law firms that have been set up in Malta have a large international client base.  These international clients have business interests in Malta and require specialised legal advice and assistance.  Therefore they require professional employees who have the necessary drive and knowledge to be of service to such client base.  For these reasons law firms are always seeking to recruit young lawyers with a drive to achieve.  These firms also employ other persons who, although not lawyers, would be specialised in the legal field and in areas such as company formation and administration.  All these factors contribute towards maintaining the right level of service to a growing industry.


Careers in Specialised Accounting Sectors

It is important to remember that it is not only the little corner shop round the corner or the big supermarket that needs accounting services. These are also required by banks, ship owning companies, investment services and insurance companies and also companies selling expensive computer software to clients all over the world. All these business ventures require services related to accounting , tax in general and VAT.

Accountancy is considered as a mobile profession. In fact many accountants travel to train and to gain overseas experience on the job. They are exposed to different working environments and practices. In this way they gain the necessary skills that enable them to take on assignments that only specialists can carry out.