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A Primer in Financial Economics

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  10 June 2011

S.F. Whelan
University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland. Tel: +353-1-716-7155; Fax: +353-1-716-1186; E-mail:


This paper is divided into three parts. Taken together, the three parts intend to provide the reader with an overview of the first 101 years of financial economics, with particular attention on those developments that are of special interest to actuaries. In Section 1, S.F. Whelan attempts to capture the flavour of the subject and, in particular, to give an overview or road map of this discipline, highlighting actuarial input. In Section 2, D.C. Bowie gives a concise and self-contained overview of the Modigliani and Miller insights (or MM Theorems, as they are often known). In Section 3, A.J. Hibbert considers the novel option pricing method proposed by Black, Merton, and Scholes. These two insights are highlights of this newscience, and, in both cases, contradict our intuition.

T.S. Elliot, the mathematically trained poet, described the darkness that intercedes between the idea and the action as the ‘shadow’. There is a shadow to be considered between these insights and their application. The demonstration of the results requires, of course, some idealised circumstances, and therefore the extent and degree of their applicability to the non- idealised problems encountered by actuaries requires some delicate considerations. An attempt is made to outline these further considerations.

Sessional meetings: papers and abstracts of discussions
Copyright © Institute and Faculty of Actuaries 2002

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