The Future of Finance

Robert C. Merton is one of the masters of finance, and is counted among the greats in financial theory. Merton won a Nobel Prize in 1997 for his work on option pricing theory. Merton was also one of the founders of the ill-fated Long Term Capital Management (see documentary: Trillion Dollar Bet). Given his background and involvement in financial innovation, Merton is well placed to address the topic of "The Future of Finance". Indeed this is a topic well worthy of exploration, the financial crisis has prompted the questioning of existing instruments and practices, and has also created a burst of products and thinking on crash risk protection, downside risk modeling, etc. A strong and well developed financial system is the basis for a strong economy, so this talk will be of great relevance to many.

In his keynote address, Robert Merton chooses not to focus on the financial crisis. It is clear to him there were “fools and knaves,” as well as “many structural elements that would have happened even if people were well behaved and well informed” -- risks are simply “embedded in our systems.” Instead, Merton explores how financial engineering is essential in preparing for the inevitable next crisis, and in solving critical challenges. “The world has changed; we can’t go back. Let’s talk about what we should do going forward.” Thanks to MIT

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