4 big names in finance

When most people hear the term financial services industry, the first thing they are likely to think of is the hustle and bustle of Wall Street. But the industry is not limited to stock trading, investment services and big banks. In fact, the financial industry includes a wide range of different types of financial services companies. Moreover, financial services companies are often considered to be one of the most important parts of the economy in many different countries.

Companies in this sector range from investment companies and brokerage houses, banks and insurance companies to credit and payment processing companies and real estate companies, to name a few. They serve both consumers and individuals. Two simultaneous trends characterize the financial services industry. One is specialization, where companies provide targeted services to customers. The other is globalization, or the expansion of businesses into developing and emerging countries.

Key points to remember

  • Berkshire Hathaway was established in 1839 and its stock is one of the most expensive in the world.
  • American Express focuses on credit card offers, co-branded cards with hotels, and other travel services like travelers checks.
  • Wells Fargo is one of the largest US banks by market capitalization and is among the 100 largest corporations in the United States.
  • E-Trade was one of the first online discount brokerages to target self-directed investors.
  • Financial services companies facilitate banking, investments, credit card transactions, loans, etc.

Watch now: the financial services industry explained

This article takes a look at some of the biggest names in the financial services industry. Keep in mind that the list below is not a complete compilation of financial services companies. In fact, such a list would be seemingly endless. To emphasize the subject, we have highlighted four major companies in the sector.

1. Berkshire Hathaway

  • Founded: 1839 (as Valley Falls Company)
  • Headquarters: Omaha, Nebraska
  • Chairman and CEO: Warren Buffett
  • Market cap (as of March 2022): $785.52 billion

Many people have heard of Berkshire Hathaway (BRK-A), the company run by Warren Buffett, one of the richest people in the world. The company’s shares are among the most expensive in the world and trade on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).

Berkshire Hathaway was founded in 1839 as the Valley Falls Company in Rhode Island and was originally a textile manufacturing company. Buffett’s involvement began in 1962 when he began buying stock in the company before taking full control a few years later.

Berkshire Hathaway has an established record of financial success with the businesses it has acquired over the years. The multinational conglomerate was initially made up of insurance companies which included GEICO and National Indemnity. He has expanded his holdings to include companies involved in real estate, transportation, the furniture industry and several jewelry companies, including Helzberg Diamonds. This financial services company has also diversified into confectionery, newspaper publishing, retail and utilities.


  • Foundation: 1850
  • Headquarters: New York
  • President and CEO: Stephen Squeri
  • Market cap (as of March 2022): $143.42 billion

American Express (AXP) is one of America’s oldest financial companies, dating back to 1850. It originally offered freight forwarding services. Subsequently, he began to provide travel services. It became one of the first companies in the world to offer payment cards and is commonly recognized by its signature gladiator logo adopted in 1958. Today, American Express, or Amex as it is more commonly known, is a Fortune 100 company and a component of the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA).

American Express continues to thrive despite competition from major rivals Visa and MasterCard, which have more aggressive credit card marketing strategies. The company has focused its attention on its credit card offerings, creating a number of co-branded cards with hotels. It provides other travel services such as travelers checks and has ventured into the prepaid card business. American Express’ elite status is demonstrated by its ability to offer a premium Centurion card which can be had for a hefty upfront fee of $10,000 and an annual fee of $5,000.

The global financial services market is expected to reach $26.5 trillion by 2022.

3. Wells Fargo

  • Foundation: 1852
  • Headquarters: San Francisco, California
  • Chairman and CEO: Charles Scharf
  • Market cap (as of March 2022): $192.25 billion

Wells Fargo (WFC) is a global bank and financial services company with retail and commercial banking locations across the United States. It is also present in Hong Kong, London, Singapore and Tokyo. The company is one of the largest banks by market capitalization in the United States and is among the 100 largest corporations in the United States.

Wells Fargo has the distinction of holding the very first bank charter issued in the United States. The company acquired Wachovia Bank in 2008, beating out one of its main competitors, Citigroup (C).

Despite its success and standing in the industry, the company has had its fair share of scandals. One of the most notable branches involved opening 1.5 million checking, savings and credit card accounts without customers’ consent. This was widely reported in 2016 and as a result Wells Fargo was slapped with $185 million in fines.

4. Electronic Commerce Finance Company

  • Creation: 1982
  • Headquarters: Arlington, Virginia
  • Chairman and CEO: Michael Pizzi

E-Trade Financial Corporation (ETFC) was founded in 1982 in Palo Alto, California. Originally a private company, E-Trade went public through an initial public offering (IPO) on August 16, 1996. The company was one of the first discount brokerages in line targeting self-directed investors. It continued to expand its business rapidly despite the influx of competition from older and much more established companies such as Charles Schwab.

E-Trade has won industry awards for its trading platform and consistently ranks among the top three online discount brokerages in the United States. Along with the acquisition of a number of other online brokerage companies, E-Trade has grown its business by offering banking services to its customers, including swipe accounts which allow automatic transfers between trading accounts. savings, checks and brokerage.

On February 20, 2020, Morgan Stanley announced that it would acquire E-Trade in an all-stock transaction totaling $13 billion. The combined company would generate more than eight million customer relationships totaling $3.1 trillion in customer assets. The acquisition was finalized on October 2, 2020.

What are some examples of financial services?

There are a variety of financial services offered by companies in the financial sector around the world. These include services related to banking, brokerage, mortgages, credit cards, payment services, real estate, tax and accounting, and investment funds.

What is the biggest financial services company?

Market caps change all the time and hence rankings too. However, with a recent market capitalization of $485.99 billion, Visa tops the list of the largest financial services companies.

What is the largest US bank by market capitalization?

Based on a recent market capitalization of $416.08 billion, JP Morgan is the largest US bank.

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