Nomura Holdings, Inc.
As far back as the Edo period (1603–1868), rice futures were already being traded at the Osaka Dojima Rice Exchange. Japan in those days was clearly highly innovative, given that it was more than 100 years before Europe began conducting similar financial transactions at the end of the 19th century. However, it was North America and Europe that led the way in derivatives, starting in the 1970s. Through the remarkable developments in the field of financial engineering, complex derivatives and other financial instruments have only become widely used in the last 20 or 30 years. Today, with its extensive use of mathematics, the discipline is probably better described as “mathematical finance”. Indeed, without mathematical application finance would not be as sophisticated or globalized as it is now (although the development of rules, legislations and other infrastructure has also been vital).