Actuary

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    Actuaries use statistical techniques and mathematical skills to assess the probability of an event and its financial consequences. They use their knowledge of business and economics, together with their understanding of probability theory, statistics and investment theory, to provide strategic, commercial and financial advice.

     

    Types of actuary

    Actuaries work in these areas:

    • banking;
    • corporate finance;
    • investment management;
    • life, healthcare and general insurance;
    • pensions.

     

    Duties

    • analysing statistical data;
    • computer modelling of statistics to determine potential risks;
    • preparing presentations and reports;
    • communicating findings to clients, managers and stakeholders;
    • keeping abreast of financial developments in the business world;
    • developing new financial products;
    • preparing presentations, reports, valuations and quarterly updates;
    • monitoring risk within trading positions in investment banking to ensure excessive risks are not taken during the fast pace of trading;
    • presenting reports, explaining their implications to managers and directors and advising on risk limitation;
    • advising on issues such as the selection of investment managers or the administration of pensions and benefits;
    • working with IT professionals to develop systems to ensure compliance with the requirements of regulatory bodies;
    • communicating with clients and carrying out relationship management, including with investment managers, financial directors and external stakeholders;
    • supervising staff;
    • working with mergers and acquisitions.

     

    Employers of Actuaries

    • Life assurance companies
    • Pension funds
    • Insurance companies and consultancies
    • Healthcare providers
    • The government’s Actuaries Department
    • Actuarial consultancies
    • Investment banks
    • Accountancy firms
    • Management consultancies

     

    Qualifications

    Although this area of work is open to all graduates with strong numerical skills, the following degree subjects may increase your chances:

    • actuarial science or actuarial mathematics;
    • business or finance;
    • economics;
    • engineering;
    • mathematics or statistics;
    • risk management;
    • science, e.g. physics and chemistry.

     

    Skills

    Employers look for candidates who are confident in their abilities, as well as motivated, as the qualification process is difficult and lengthy. Further valued skills include:

    • excellent numeracy
    • research and analytical ability
    • problem-solving ability
    • a deep understanding of economics and of the legislation relating to financial services
    • attention to detail
    • self-discipline, determination and an appreciation of the demands of studying while working
    • high level of computer literacy, as specialized software may be used
    • written and verbal communication skills
    • sound judgement and a genuine interest in business
    • commitment to an actuarial career.

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