What is Finance Mathematics? 

The area of applied mathematics known as mathematical finance, also known as quantitative finance or financial mathematics is concerned with the mathematical modeling of financial markets. The application of mathematical methods to financial problems is known as financial mathematics. A financial market is a place where people can exchange low-cost financial securities and derivatives. Stocks and bonds, raw materials, and precious metals, both of which are regarded as commodities in the stock markets, are examples of securities. It uses probability, statistics, stochastic processes, and economic theory as methods.  

Students studying financial mathematics use methods like probability, statistics, stochastic processes, and economic theory to forecast and prepare for financial market dynamics. Investment banking, hedge funds, consultancy, brokerage firms, and other graduate careers are available. 

A financial mathematician might take the share price as a given and try to calculate the corresponding value of the stock's derivatives using stochastic calculus. 

Mathematics & Statistics 

Mathematics is an academic discipline that entails the analysis of quantity, structure, space, and changes through the application of formulas and mathematical proofs to provide insight or make predictions about nature. 

Mathematic modeling is the method of constructing a mathematical model. Dynamical structures, statistical models, differential equations, and game-theoretic models are all examples of mathematical models. 

Statistics is the branch of mathematics that deals with collecting, arranging, evaluating, interpreting, and presenting data. A mathematical representation (or mathematical model) of observed data is referred to as a statistical model. It's also used to develop ground-breaking technologies like machine learning, which leads to even more specialized finance disciplines like: 

  • Actuarial science - The study of evaluating risk in insurance and finance is known as actuarial science. 
  • Data mining is the process of solving problems using statistics and data pattern recognition. 
  • Data science is the process of extracting information from data using scientific methods. 
  • Econometrics is the science of analyzing economic data using statistical methods. 

Financial Mathematics' Relevance  

Financial mathematics is used by several companies and financial service providers as part of their core operations, including: 

  • Investment banks- Math is used in our daily lives concerning banking, from the most basic concepts of budgeting and spending to the more complex concepts of investments and interest. 
  • Commercial banks- Accounting, inventory management, marketing, revenue forecasting, and financial analysis are all areas where math is used in business. It assists you in interpreting financial formulas, percentages, and measurements used in interest calculations, hiring rates, wage calculations, and tax calculations, among other items. 
  • Hedge funds- Quantitative hedge funds create complex mathematical models to try to forecast investment opportunities, usually in the form of projections of which assets will have high returns (for long investments) or low/negative returns (for short investments)  
  • Insurance firms- One of the first businesses to use statistical approaches was insurance. Insurance companies thrive on volatility, and they need analysts to help them navigate these matters. The term actuary applies to statisticians who specialize in the area of insurance. 
  • Corporate treasuries- As a corporate treasurer, you'll be responsible for enhancing or sustaining a company's financial health and performance. You could be in charge of deciding financial strategy and policy, advising on which companies to invest in, and arranging adequate financing. You could also be in charge of managing financial risks in a company. 
  • Regulatory agencies- Regulatory agencies have regulatory or supervisory jurisdiction over a wide range of activities and projects in which financial mathematics is very useful. 

To solve problems like 

  • Derivative securities valuation- A derivative is a contract between two or more parties in which the price is determined by changes in the underlying asset.  Stocks, bonds, commodities, currencies, interest rates, and market indices are the most common underlying assets for derivatives. 
  • Portfolio structuring- The goal of risk and portfolio management is to model the statistically derived probability distribution of all securities' market prices over a given investment horizon. 
  • Risk management- Risk management is a highly mathematical and quantitative method. Actuaries are qualified practitioners with the specialized expertise needed to handle risk management in the insurance, pension, and social insurance industries. Advanced analytical and quantitative expertise, problem-solving abilities, and general business acumen are among these skills. 
  • Scenario modeling- Scenario analysis is often used to predict changes in a portfolio's value in response to an unfavorable event, and it can also be used to investigate a hypothetical worst-case scenario. 
  • Quantitative analysis has enhanced the efficiency and rigor of financial markets and the investment process, and it is becoming more relevant as regulatory concerns increase. Quantitative Finance is an economics subfield that deals with the valuation of properties and financial instruments, as well as resource allocation. Quants are a term used to identify people who work in this sector. 

The mathematical models used to price securities and quantify risk are the subject of quantitative finance. Financial engineering takes things a step further by focusing on implementations and designing tools to apply the models' performance. 

Quantitative finance emerged as a specialized area within economics to address issues such as asset and financial instrument valuation, as well as capital allocation and resource optimization. Via mathematical models, fundamental theories about the overall economy and asset valuation have been developed over centuries. 

These mathematical tools allow us to draw conclusions that would otherwise be difficult to reach or not obvious based on intuition. The stress-testing of banks is an example of how models are used. We can store large amounts of data and model several variables at the same time, especially with the help of modern computational techniques, allowing us to model very large and complicated problems. As a consequence, mathematical computational techniques like numerical analysis, Monte Carlo simulation, and optimization play a significant role in financial mathematics. 

The basic stochastic model (Geometric Brownian motion) for stock price fluctuations, as well as the partial differential equation and its solution, given the relationship between the option's value and other market variables, were mathematical contributions. Their research also resulted in a fully articulated strategy for managing option investment, allowing for realistic testing of the model's outcomes. 

Arbitrage Free Valuation 

The term "arbitrage-free valuation" refers to valuing an asset without taking derivative of alternative market pricing into account. Arbitrage is when you buy and sell the same security, product, currency, or other assets in different markets or through derivatives to benefit from the price difference. Buying stock on the NYSE and selling it on the LSE in the United Kingdom, for example. 

Financial derivatives 

Financial derivatives are financial instruments that investors use to lower market risk. These instruments give Financial Markets a more complex structure and elicit one of the most difficult problems in Mathematical Finance, namely, finding equal prices for them. 

Option Pricing Models 

  • Mathematical formulas such as the Black-Scholes or Binomial pricing models may be used to price options contracts. 
  • The price of an option is mainly made up of two components: intrinsic value and time value. 
  • Intrinsic value is a metric for assessing the profitability of an option based on the strike price versus the market price of the stock. 
  • The estimated volatility of the underlying asset and the period before the option expires decide the time value. 

These criteria are used in many options pricing models to assess the fair market value of an option. The Black-Scholes model is the most well-known of these. Options are similar to other investments in that you must consider what defines their price to use them effectively. Other models, such as the binomial and trinomial models, are also widely used. 

Common Mistakes 

  • Diversification is missing. 
  • Demand and supply 
  • Arbitrage of Jensen's Inequality 
  • Parameter sensitivity 
  • Partnerships 
  • Constant hedging as a backstop (arguments) 
  • Reactions 
  • Continuity of closed-form solutions 
  • Valuation is not a linear process. 
  • Checking the calibration 
  • Unnecessary precision 
  • Too much complexity 

Context & Applications  

This topic is significant in the professional exams for both undergraduate and graduate courses, especially for 

  • A strong math background is required for a career as a quant, and analysts often pursue advanced degrees in the field, such as a Master's or Ph.D.  
  • Traditional financial analysts who work in the finance sector are far more common than these types of jobs.  
  • Quantitative finance analysts work in the operations or information technology (IT) divisions of most major banks and financial institutions. 
  • Asymptotic analysis 
  • Differential equations. 

Want more help with your finance homework?

We've got you covered with step-by-step solutions to millions of textbook problems, subject matter experts on standby 24/7 when you're stumped, and more.
Check out a sample finance Q&A solution here!

*Response times may vary by subject and question complexity. Median response time is 34 minutes for paid subscribers and may be longer for promotional offers.

Search. Solve. Succeed!

Study smarter access to millions of step-by step textbook solutions, our Q&A library, and AI powered Math Solver. Plus, you get 30 questions to ask an expert each month.

Tagged in

Corporate Finance

Derivatives and Hedging Risk


Finance Mathematics Homework Questions from Fellow Students

Browse our recently answered Finance Mathematics homework questions.

Search. Solve. Succeed!

Study smarter access to millions of step-by step textbook solutions, our Q&A library, and AI powered Math Solver. Plus, you get 30 questions to ask an expert each month.

Tagged in

Corporate Finance

Derivatives and Hedging Risk