Quantitative finance stole all the math grads.

"While they are booming, these industries draw in resources at a phenomenal rate. It is only when they crash, after the bust, that we realise the extent of the overinvestment that occurred. "
BIS Annual Report  
If your chosen industry sector relies on research, and your country has a growing financial sector, then you lose your best brains.
"That is to say, a sector with high R+D intensity located in a country whose financial system is growing rapidly grows between 1.9 and 2.9% a year slower than a sector with low R+D intensity located in a country whose financial system is growing slowly."
BIS Annual Report


I've been saying to anyone who will listen, that one of the things that came out of my dalliances with mathematically orientated acedemia, is that I now have an appreciation of quite how much effort goes into knowing stuff. (if nothing else)

Its also pretty clear that society, and possibly genetics, only produces a limited number of people who are willing to devote years of their lives to learning in depth about mathematics.

This leads to the observation that one of the uncounted costs (at least at the societal level) of the recent financial boom and crash, was that the rewards offered in the financial industry attracted many more of the top math students into quantitative finance, to the detriment of the other mathematically orientated fields.

Hence that the Bank of International settlements published their annual report, in which they quantified (you know, in numbers) the actual cost to society of the brain drain to hedge-funds to real science (that stuff that cures cancer) and surprisingly enough, they agree with me.




The two areas that I feel have been directly damaged by this gravitational cash-mass of finance are the computer sciences and computational biology.

Clearly many of the techniques genetics and protein biology are perfect for type of intellect that is currently working through some Quantitative finance orientated grad course or phD.

There is link to a paper in the report that the ftalphaville.ft.com analysis pointed out;
 S Cecchetti and E Kharroubi, “Reassessing the impact of finance on growth”, BIS, January 2012, mimeo  which reports the following result:
" we find that industries that are in competition for resources with finance are particularly damaged by financial booms. Specifically, we show that manufacturing sectors that are either R&D-intensive or dependent on external finance suffer disproportionate reductions in productivity growth when finance booms."


Here is the ft.com analysis;
http://ftalphaville.ft.com/blog/2012/06/25/1057601/when-scientists-become-hedge-fund-managers/

And here is the "I told you so. Didn't I tell you so....":

"That is to say, a sector with high R+D intensity located in a country whose financial system is growing rapidly grows between 1.9 and 2.9% a year slower than a sector with low R&D intensity located in a country whose financial system is growing slowly."


@todo read that again.


Here is a link to the full text of the report;
http://www.bis.org/publ/arpdf/ar2012e.htm