The quantity of finance research has grown enormously over the past two decades, yet questions remain over its breadth and ability to benefit the economy and society beyond academia. Using multisource data, we argue that individual and institutional incentives have fostered insularity and a consequent homogeneity in the discipline. We examine the characteristics of research that is published and cited in the leading field journals in finance, arguing that the work has become abstract and unrelated to real world issues. The work published in the ‘top’ journals makes increasing use of US data, even where the researchers are drawn from different countries. Using information from impact assessment, publication patterns, and grant capture, we illustrate that this narrow agenda lacks relevance to the financial services sector, the economy or wider society compared to other areas of business and management research. In particular, we highlight the relative absence of research on ethics in academic finance and discuss the likely consequences for the discipline including its relevance to society.