Overview of the Banking and Investment Industry

I have recently completed the first year of my undergraduate degree in Biology at Pembroke College. I cannot claim to have any experience in finance or investment, but I was eager to find out about the sector and explore opportunities for learning. I have created a document aimed at people considering a career in financial services, with the purpose of demystifying the industry, explaining the different areas within it and the skills required, clarifying some of the terminology and to recommend resources for further research.

Investment banks and other providers of financial services providers vary in their structures and the services they offer. The diagram gives an overview of the key areas and their functions. It explains the differences between front office (revenue generating), middle office (supporting front office, often with regulatory roles) and back office (general functions common to all firms). Most Oxford graduates tend to work in front office, although some end up in middle and back office, often in IT or in legal and accounting roles.

Throughout the document I have highlighted complex financial terms in blue and in the Key Terms section, I explain this financial jargon used in banking in plain English. For terms that are not included use the online financial dictionary, Investopedia’s dictionary is a useful tool.

Article created for the Careers Service by Maddie Judge, MBiol Biology, Pembroke College.