Research from the Bank of International Settlements (BIS) is not to be read by the faint hearted. However, perseverance can pay off with some interesting nuggets. In their ongoing research into the causes of the great recession they have found that the growth of a country’s financial system holds back overall economic growth because a growing financial sector is a drag on productivity growth.

Why is that? "One could argue that the financial sector competes with the rest of the economy for resources (human as well as capital), and strong growth in the relatively well paid financial sector drains other parts of the economy of talented people," suggests economist Niels Jensen of Absolute Return Partners.

BIS actually goes one step further in its conclusions. Not only does strong growth in the financial sector act as a drag on overall economic growth, credit booms do the same, and that is because credit booms harm the more R&D intensive engines of economic growth.

"This is a poorly understood side effect of low interest rates combined with strong credit growth, and could become a real issue for some countries – in particular the Anglo-Saxon ones, where the financial sector continues to grow", Niels concludes.