SelectUSA Financial Services Industry
Financial markets in the United States are the largest and most liquid in the world. In 2020, finance and insurance represented 8.3 percent (or $1.7 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 2019, the United States exported $151.9 billion in financial services and insurance and had a $60 billion surplus in financial services and insurance trade. In 2019, total foreign direct investment in the U.S. industry reached $763.3 billion. The financial services and insurance sectors employed more than 6.3 million people at the end of 2018. That same year, FDI supported almost 400,000 of those jobs.
Investment in the U.S. financial services industry offers significant advantages for financial firms. As of 2018, at least 28 financial services companies out of all companies in Fortune’s Global 500 listing 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.
By the end of 2019, the U.S. banking system had $18.6 trillion in assets and a net income of $235.9 billion. The sector supports the world’s largest economy with the greatest diversity in banking institutions and concentration of private credit anywhere in the world. Fitch Solutions expects asset and loan growth in the U.S. commercial banking sector to remain solid in the next couple of years bolstered by above-trend economic growth. There were 118,946 establishments in this industry in 2017. In 2018, FDI supported 121,200 jobs or 7 percent of total employment in the industry in 2018.
As of 2019, FDI totaled $213.7 billion in this industry and there were 2,045,410 workers employed in credit intermediation and related activities. During that same year, office and administrative support occupations were the most common. 993,480 workers were employed in these occupations earning an average annual wage of $39,090. Of these occupations, 499,480 workers were employed specifically as financial clerks earning an average annual wage of $33,310. There were also 416,870 tellers, as part of these occupations, earning an average annual wage of $31,660. The second most common occupations in 2019 were business and financial operations occupations which employed 459,800 workers earning an average annual wage of $80,770. Within these occupations, 354,100 workers were employed specifically as financial specialist earning an average annual wage of $81,150.
The U.S. asset management subsector is unrivaled in its depth and diversity. At the close of 2019, global assets in retirement savings plans (not including mutual funds) recorded their highest level ever at $50.9 trillion. This overall amount is almost twice as big as at the end of 2009, right after the 2008 financial crisis ($27 trillion worldwide). U.S. retirement assets comprised 63.5 percent of the global total, or $32.3 trillion, at year-end 2019. This figure was up 16.4 percent from year-end 2018. The largest components of retirement assets were Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) and employer-sponsored Defined Contribution (DC) plans (which include 401(k) plans). Together IRAs and DCs represented 62 percent of all retirement market assets at year-end 2019.There were 74,196 establishments in this industry as of 2017. The latest employment figures from 2020 estimate 517,500 workers are employed in this industry.
In 2019, the insurance industry’s net premiums written totaled $1.32 trillion. According to S&P Global Market Intelligence, premiums recorded by life and health insurers accounted for nearly 52 percent, and premiums by property and casualty insurers accounted for 48 percent. Additionally, about one-third of all reinsurance sold worldwide is bought by U.S. firms. International insurance companies are actively seeking business partnerships and collaborations with U.S. insurance companies. Foreign direct investment in this industry totaled $253.3 billion in 2019. In 2018, FDI supported 145,500 jobs or about 5 percent of total employment in the industry. There were 180,115 establishments in this industry in 2017.
As of 2019, there were 2,382,230 workers employed in this industry in the United States. The most common occupations were office and administrative support occupations. There were 848,830 workers employed in these occupations earning an average annual wage of $43,650. Of these occupations, 414,710 workers were employed specifically as sales representatives, services earning an average annual wage of $68,320. The second most common occupations were business and financial operations occupations which comprised of 568,130 workers earning an average annual wage of $74,750. Within these occupations, 398,570 workers were employed specifically as business operations specialists earning $72,410 annually, on average.
The United States is the birthplace of the global venture capital (VC) industry, and it continues to support many of our most innovative companies. U.S. based, VC-backed companies raised nearly $130 billion in 2020,up 14 percent year-over-year from 2019. VC-backed companies employ 38 percent of the U.S. workforce of public American companies, and account for 82 percent of private sector research and development. These companies have historically generated revenue equal to 21 percent of U.S. GDP (Stanford University and NVCA). The latest employment figures from 2020 estimate 31,500 workers are employed in this industry. There were 8,611 establishments in this industry in 2017.
U.S. private equity firms invested more than $700 billion in U.S.-based companies in 2020. The private equity industry in the United States comprises nearly 4,700 investment firms, operating U.S.-based businesses in all 50 states. The industry owns over 30,000 private U.S. companies. These U.S. companies backed by U.S. private equity firms employ 11.3 million people in the United States and 19.6 million people worldwide. The latest employment figures from 2020 estimate the industry directly employs 215,400 workers in portfolio management. In 2017, business services and consumer-related businesses attracted the majority of U.S. private equity investment (AIC).
Explore the impact of foreign direct investment on U.S. jobs, exports, and innovation in the financial services industry.
The Investor Guide is a high-level view of everything from taxes to immigration and workforce to business structures.
SelectUSA has created several dashboards to help analyze key FDI data from a variety of sources.