Actuarial careers

 

Actuaries deal with risk, ensuring their clients have all the data and information they need to make the right decision for their company. This requires the actuary to have an astute understanding of their client’s needs, market conditions, trends, legislation changes and various other commercial aspects.

Actuaries present their client with the cost implications for the different options through the analysis of past and present data. Therefore it is paramount that actuaries are able to explain their findings to potentially number-shy clients, in an easy to understand way.

As well as being highly numerate actuaries are also creative when problem solving, innovative and personable when dealing with clients.

Actuarial careers are attractive for students who want to use their mathematical and statistical modelling skills and apply them to everyday business problems.

There are over 7500 Actuary Fellows in the UK, with 41% of UK trained actuarial professionals working internationally. Actuaries work within specialist actuarial companies and in-house, within a range of sectors including consultancy, finance and investment, insurance and pensions.

Professional qualifications

Take an average of 3-6 years to complete, and consist of exams, module completion, log book entries and the successful assessment of employment skills. These must be completed alongside actuarial employment. Once you have successfully completed the qualifications you will become a Fellow of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries. More information about the professional qualifications can be found at Actuaries.org.

Useful links

  • Download the Vault guide to Actuarial Careers for anoverview
  • Visit The Actuarial Profession website for information on becoming an actuary 
  • Go to the Prospects website for a description of thejob role
  • Keep up-to-date with The Actuary magazine online edition for sector news

Useful Information

Routes in

Trainee positions are available for new entrants into the profession. Employers will normally support trainees to complete the professional qualifications alongside their work. Support is normally financial, time off to study or both.

Graduate training schemes and internships

Here are some examples of employers who offer actuarial graduate schemes and internships. You can also search LSE CareerHub for actuarial vacancies.

Get experience

There are few structured internship and work experience opportunities within this area of work. See Directory of Actuarial Employers for a list of companies which offer work experience. If not advertised on their website it is also good to approach companies speculatively to see if they will offer you work experience or even work shadowing.

Another option is to work within an actuarial firm within a support role whilst you work. Again, a speculative approach would have most success.

Otherwise, relevant skills can be obtained from other experiences such as extra-curricular activities, volunteering, part time work or your education.

Job roles

Actuary – consultancy

Working with a variety of clients, an actuarial consultant will advise on pensions, mergers and acquisitions, risk management and recovery and financing of corporate projects. The majority of actuaries in the UK work within a consultancy role.

Actuary – investments

The models and techniques applied by actuaries can be used to buy and sell assets, measure and analyse investment performance and decisions and portfolio management. The use of actuary’s skills in assessing risk also apply in corporate finance and banking, to ensure maximum return on an investment. The world of investments, especially within banking, can be fast moving, slightly different from that of the consultancy, insurance and pensions world.

Actuary – insurance

You’ll generally be working in house, with your client being your employer, within the area of life or general insurance. Within life you’ll be responsible for developing and pricing insurance products, risk assessment and even marketing. Actuaries working within general insurance, which includes personal and commercial insurance, will advise on their company’s financial management. Often an insurance actuary will advise their employer on the size of monetary reserves for claims and will assess risk verses the benefit of an insurance product. Depending on the type of company an actuary is working for will depend on their area of specialism, e.g. car insurance, healthcare, finance etc.

Actuary – pensions

The mathematical and statistical work an actuary contributes to the design and format of occupational pension schemes, whether for the individual or for a large scheme with hundreds, thousands or even millions of people. An actuary working in pensions must ensure enough money is available for pension pay-outs but must measure the risk of investments made with the pension reserves.

Useful links

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