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Actuary Consultancy Profile


This Section of the site details information that you might find useful if you are looking to secure employment or require further details regarding working as an Actuary Consultancy. This page details the following Information:-

Finding Suitable Work as an Actuary Consultancy

Working Duties Expected
Hours and Environment
Working Skills Required
Training Requirements
Salary Expectations
Trade Information
Other useful Actuary Consultancy Work Information

Finding Suitable Work

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Working Duties Expected

Actuaries are problem solvers, who use their training to analyse and interpret data, create models of the future to assess risks and estimate outcomes. In essence, actuaries make financial sense of the future.

An actuary evaluates outcomes of events by conducting careful studies of similar events in the past, thus assessing probabilities and risk. They traditionally worked in the fields of life assurance and pensions but now work increasingly in other financial areas.

Actuarial consultants provide an advisory service, offering advice to organisations on employees' benefits, such as pension provision. Others provide advice to organisations on assurance matters.

What does the role encounter?

An Actuarial Consultant’s work includes:

Advising companies and other employers on aspects of pension arrangements and employee benefits. Some may offer broader management consultancy services including human resource (HR) management, investment, takeovers and mergers, healthcare, corporate finance and risk issues and damages.

Consultants also advise life offices which are too small to have their own actuarial department, or larger assurance companies which need specialist advice on particular problems. Some consulting actuaries advise on:

• the award of damages;
• the apportionment of trust funds;
• the assessment of capital projects;
• health matters, especially with the growth of trusts in The National Health Service (NHS).

Actuaries develop and use their knowledge of economics, accounting, marketing, legislation and business practice. Typical work activities include:

• using mathematical modelling techniques and statistical concepts to determine probability and assess risks;
• explaining the implications of this work to management and advising on risk limitation;
• advising on marketing and administration of pensions and life assurance schemes;
• carrying out actuarial valuations;
• working with IT professionals to develop systems to ensure compliance with the requirements of regulatory bodies;
• supervising staff.

What level of salary and benefits are there?

These figures are purely for guidance only. Salaries may vary for the area the job is situated in, age, experience along with a host of other factors:

• Typical starting salaries for graduates: £18,000 - £26,000. Starting salaries will vary according to specialism and location. For example, salaries are likely to be higher in actuarial consultancy in the London area.
• Typical salaries for a newly qualified actuary are in the range £41,000 to £55,000. Salary progression is then dependent upon the individual and their performance and the development of their career path. Senior positions can easily earn in excess of £100,000.

What type of hours will I have to work?

Working hours are according to need. Working in actuarial consultancy can involve long hours and occasional weekend work during a crisis or to complete a project. Long hours are less likely for more junior staff, eg student actuaries (graduate trainees) but they will be devoting time towards studying for the professional examinations. Self-employment is very unusual. There are a handful of actuaries who have their own actuarial consultancy firms, but most actuaries are employed by large actuarial consultancies. Flexible working conditions can be negotiated with some employers, eg part-time work and career breaks. Actuarial employers are usually located around London and the south east, Bristol and Edinburgh but there are opportunities worldwide. The Faculty of Actuaries and Institute of Actuaries publish a list of employers recruiting graduate trainees. Work/life balance is largely down to individual choice. More senior roles can require greater input eg long hours for those who choose to take the route to senior management. The life of an actuarial student is dominated by the professional examinations and in the run up to examinations it may be necessary to reconsider your social commitments. There is a professional responsibility to the job of an actuary. Those working in pensions for example have a responsibility for whether or not people can retire and live on their pension. They also have a responsibility to look after the interests of pension members. The work of an actuarial consultant is generally office based but there can be some travel to meetings, eg: to visit clients. It is also possible to spend part or all of an actuarial career based overseas.

What type of skills will I need?

You will need to have some or all of the following type of skills to carry out this job:

• good communication skills are important for consultancy, for example the ability to explain complex issues to clients who do not have an actuarial background;
• analytical skills are important as are creative problem-solving skills and the ability to apply skills to new situations and to react swiftly to changes (eg in legislation);
• effective team working is vital;
• for senior positions, the ability to manage is essential;
• IT skills matter too. There can be some programming and writing of spreadsheets for example, although training would usually be provided by the employer.

What type of training will I receive?

An essential element in becoming a professional actuary is to study, train and qualify to be a Fellow of either the Faculty of Actuaries (Scotland) or Institute of Actuaries (the rest of the UK). Each is of equal status and which of them you choose to qualify for is a matter of personal choice.

Since a large majority of actuarial students carry out their studies whilst in full-time employment, the support of your employer is important. In practice the chances are that if you are in Scotland you will join the Faculty and in other parts of the UK you will join the Institute, but there are Institute members in Scotland and vice versa.

Study leave is given by employers (usually one day a week or equivalent) but additional study, eg evening and weekends, is needed in order to pass the examinations. It is possible to qualify within three years, although the average time is five to six years.

Career Progression:

Once qualified, actuaries can move quite quickly to managerial positions. In a consultancy, this may lead to a partnership with direct responsibility for a range of clients.

The Institute of Actuaries and Faculty of Actuaries encourage qualified members to undertake continuing professional development (CPD) and to keep a record of this. CPD is seen as vital in order to meet the challenges of change and to enable actuaries to enter new areas of work as they wish. CPD is both informal, for example reading papers, and formal through attendance at courses, seminars and conferences. Applicants for senior positions carrying statutory responsibilities are required to demonstrate that they have undertaken appropriate CPD.

Completion of the professional examinations and experience are important for progression into senior roles. Once qualified it is possible to consider moving between areas ie pensions, investment, general insurance.

What Sort Of Industries Have A Requirement For This Type Of Job?

Consultancies provide advice on a wide range of areas, including employee benefits, acquisitions and mergers, corporate recovery and financial capital projects. Many consultancies also provide advice to clients on pension schemes.

The Government Actuary's Department (GAD) provides advice to government and other public sector bodies, for example local government and The National Health Service (NHS). This includes offering advice about occupational pensions.

The GAD is also responsible for producing the official population forecasts for the UK, reports regularly to parliament and monitors the financial condition of life assurance companies on behalf of their regulatory body.

Are Their Related Types Of Jobs?

Yes. This list is not exhaustive but here are some similar and associated types of role:

• Actuary, insurance company
• Chartered accountant
• Insurance broker
• Insurance underwriter
• Investment analyst
• Operational researcher
• Pension scheme manager
• Risk analyst
• Statistician

What trade magazines or publications are available for this industry?

All of the following magazines and journals can be purchased from any good bookstore:

The Actuary.
Financial Times.
TARGET City and Finance.
Hobson's Finance Casebook.
Inside Careers: Actuaries.
The Faculty and Institute of Actuaries List of Actuarial Employers in the UK and Ireland.

Where can I find further information?

Further information can be found by visiting any of the following bodies and organisations the addresses and their respective websites are:

The Association of Consulting Actuaries
No. 1 Wardrobe Place, London EC4V 5AG
Tel: 020 7248 3163

Faculty of Actuaries
Maclaurin House, 18 Dublin Street, Edinburgh EH1 3PP
Tel: 0131 240 1300

Government Actuary's Department (GAD)
New King's Beam House, 22 Upper Ground, London SE1 9RJ
Tel: 020 7211 2600

Institute of Actuaries
Napier House, 4 Worcester Street, Oxford OX1 2AW
Tel: 01865 268228

The National Health Service (NHS)
PO Box 376, Bristol BS99 3EY
Tel: 020 7210 4850

Other Useful Actuary Consultancy Work Information

We have a section available at this site on Actuary Consultancy job interview tips that you may find of interest should you wish to brush up your skills in this area and we also have number of career articles that may also be of use to you from within our guides and documents section.

Locations where we feature Jobs include:-
Aberdeen, Berkshire, Aberdeen, Bath, Bedfordshire, Berkshire, Birmingham, Bradford, Bristol, Cambridgeshire, Cardiff, Central London, Cheltenham, Cornwall, Coventry, Derby, Devon, Docklands, Dorset, Dundee, Durham, East Midlands, East Sussex, Edinburgh, Essex, Glasgow, Gloucester, Hampshire, Hertfordshire, Kent, Lancashire, Leeds, Leicester, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Middlesbrough, Midlands and in various parts of the West Midlands

Details of other Actuary Consultancy Jobs can also be found in other UK wide areas including:-
Milton Keynes, Newcastle, Newcastle Upon Tyne, Norfolk, North London, North Midlands, Northampton, Northamptonshire, Northern Ireland, Northumberland, Norwich, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, Oxford, Oxfordshire, Plymouth, Salisbury, Scotland, Sheffield, Shropshire, Somerset, South East, South London, South Midlands, Southampton, Staffordshire Surrey, Swansea, Swindon, Telford, Wales, Warwickshire, West End, West London, West Midlands, Worcestershire, York and throughout Yorkshire.

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