The Financial Services Industry in the United States

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The Financial Services Industry in the United States

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Financial markets in the United States are the largest and most liquid in the world. In 2012, finance and insurance represented 7.9 percent (or $1.24 trillion) of U.S. gross domestic product. Leadership in this large, high-growth sector translates into substantial economic activity and direct and indirect job creation in the United States. 

Financial services and products help facilitate and finance the export of U.S. manufactured goods and agricultural products. In 2011, the United States exported $92.5 billion in financial services and had a $23.0 billion surplus in financial services and insurance trade (excluding re-insurance, the financial services and insurance sectors had a surplus of $59.5 billion.) The financial services and insurance sectors employed 5.87 million people in 2012. The securities subsector of the industry shows great potential for employment growth, with a 12 percent increase expected by 2018. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, 818,000 people were employed in the securities and investment sector at the end of 2012.

Investment in the U.S. financial services industry offers significant advantages for financial firms. In 2012, at least 132 of Fortune’s Global 500 companies have chosen to locate their headquarters in the United States to take advantage of its creative, competitive, and comprehensive financial services sector. The industry offers the greatest array of financial instruments and products to allow consumers to manage risk, create wealth, and meet financial needs.

Industry Subsectors

Banking: As of the end of 2012, the U.S. banking system had $14.45 trillion in assets. It supports the world’s largest economy with the greatest diversity in banking institutions and concentration of private credit. In the second quarter of 2013, earnings grew by 23 percent to $42.3 billion, marking the 16th consecutive quarter of rising earnings.

Asset Management:  The U.S. asset management subsector is unrivaled in its depth and diversity. U.S. asset managers are currently meeting the pension management needs of over 55 percent of the global retirement market. Total U.S. pension assets were $18.9 trillion at the end of 2012. Moreover, if insurance assets and mutual funds are included, U.S. asset managers held more than $39.6 trillion of long-term conventional assets under management in 2012, or 45% of the global total for these funds.  Conventional funds were equivalent to 298 percent of U.S. GDP.

Insurance: In 2012, the insurance industry’s net premiums written totaled approximately $1.27 billion. According to the Swiss Reinsurance Company, premiums recorded by life and health insurers accounted for 45 percent, and premiums by property and casualty insurers accounted for 55 percent.  Additionally, about one-third of all reinsurance sold worldwide is bought by U.S. firms.

Venture Capital: The United States created the venture capital industry and maintains the oldest and most dominant position worldwide. In 2012, venture capital-backed companies employed more than 12 million people and generated nearly $3 trillion in revenue. Respectively, these figures accounted for 11 percent of private sector employment and annually VC-backed companies have generated revenue equal to 21 percent of U.S. GDP. (Source: NVCA)