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China urged to build up talent pool of financial mathematicians
( 2003-10-21 09:40) (Xinhua)

The recently-awarded Nobel economics prize was given to financial mathematicians for at least the third time in Nobel history, highlighting the vital role the specialists play in the financial market.

However, when China's talent pool is studied, few financial mathematicians could be found, said Wang Duo, a professor with the department of financial mathematics at Beijing University.

"China is in urgent need of economists specializing in finance but with mathematics as the bread-and-butter tool to analyze the market," he said.

Financial mathematics is a comparatively young application area of mathematics, dating from the Nobel Prize-winning discovery of the Black-Scholes option pricing formula in the mid-1970s. The realization that advanced mathematical techniques could solve difficult problems in finance was seized with energy and enthusiasm in the years that followed.

In the Western world, such statisticians who make economic forecasts are employed with fat salaries as the financial market is said to be somewhat like a casino and you never know where it will end up.

What's more, the accuracy of forecasting can make national budgets succeed or fail, or make the difference for a company between prosperity and bankruptcy.

China initiated its research in this area by including it in the grand project of the "Ninth five-year plan" in the mid-1990s, several decades behind the Western world.

As for financial derivatives, an effective financial tool, it has proven to expand the service scale of financial institutions and improve the efficiency of the financial market, and the trade of them have witnessed huge growth in the world market in the past20 years.

But few have pioneered in the area of financial derivatives in China, according to Wang.

With China's entry into World Trade Organization, advanced financial forecasting instruments will enter the domestic market sooner or later. How are we supposed to compete with our foreign counterparts with nothing?" he asked.

Courses related to financial mathematics, financial engineering and financial management have been launched in some Chinese higher-learning institutions. The department of financial mathematics, under the school of mathematics of Beijing University opened five years ago. However, compared with the huge demand, the number of graduates is but a trickle.

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