Financial Informatics is the development and evaluation of applications, tools, processes, and structures which manage financial data or support the investment process.

What exactly is Financial Informatics?

There is not a good readily accesible definition of Financial Informatics. We have a bunch of other seemingly related fields such as Computational Finance and Financial Engineering, but we don't even have clear definitions for them. One place we can look for some help with the distinctions is how other fields make them, for example Bio-Informatics vs Computational Biology vs Bio-Engineering. I found a nice blog that helped me refine my ideas a bit.

Mr Altman makes the distinction between tool making (informatics) and scientific discovery in biology (Computational Biology). I like this division. While it leaves a fuzzy line between the two topics, the general idea of the two is clear.

If we were to apply this same distinction on the finance side we'd have some definitions such as

  • Financial Informatics - Developing tools and algorithms which manage financial data or support the investment management process.
  • Computational Finance - Applying computational techniques to the problems of investment management.
  • Financial Engineering - Engineering techniques used to create new financial instruments with specific attributes.
  • Mathematical Finance - Advanced mathematics, e.g. Stochastic Calculus, used to model financial instruments and portfolios.