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Predicting the future: Qualifying as an actuary

The road to becoming a professional actuary is long but rewarding. Explore the professional requirements to enter this risky business. Actuarial science is the application of statistical and mathematical methods to forecast and manage risk mainly associated with demography (such as the analysis of population mortality and life expectancy). Essentially, it is the science of making calculated predictions about trends and probabilities in the future, based on patterns of events that happened in the past. The work of an actuary Actuaries are problem-solvers, business analysts and consultants financial risk assessors who look at past and present business information to develop and communicate a picture of the future. As a high-profile career where a wrong decision can cost millions and sometimes even billions of ringgit actuaries are highly sought-after specialists. With their skills in mathematics, statistics, economics and finance, actuaries are able to gauge and make expert financial predictions, which enable organisations and individuals to plan for the future. Traditionally, actuaries are associated with the insurance industry life, general and health which calls on their expertise in calculating and predicting risk. Today, an increasing number of actuaries build their careers in healthcare, banking, business and risk management, and assessment. The path to becoming a qualified actuary A degree in actuarial science is only the first step; learning doesnt stop after graduation. Qualifying as a professional actuary is a rigorous and demanding process which requires aspiring actuaries to pass eight to nine professional exams. Actuarial trainees take exams at their own pace while working for an employer, as full-time professional experience is a requirement for qualification. The actuarial qualification process takes at least three to seven years after graduation to qualify. Recognised actuarial qualifications in Malaysia Currently, there are no local actuary qualification examinations conducted in Malaysia. However, Malaysian insurance regulators, Bank Negara Malaysia and the Actuarial Society of Malaysia (ASM) recognise members of the following organisations as qualified actuaries: Institute of Actuaries (England)

Faculty of Actuaries (Scotland)

Institute of Actuaries of Australia Canadian Institute of Actuaries Society of Actuaries (US) Casualty Actuarial Society (US).

Source: Actuarial Society of Malaysia Exemptions from some exams may be awarded to students who have a relevant degree of an appropriate standard, or studied actuarial science at postgraduate level. For a comparison of different qualifications and examinations, please see the ASM website at www.actuaries.org.my/?page_id=25. Finding work Actuaries work in many areas that benefit the public, including life and non-life insurance, pension funds, savings, capital projects, investments, healthcare and risk management. Employers of actuarial science graduates include: Life insurance companies

Investment and financial services, including takaful Actuarial consultancies specialising in employee benefits, life insurance and general insurance Government sector; Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) and EPF are major actuarial employers Universities; academia and administration.

The demand According to ASM, there are only about 30-40 qualified actuaries in Malaysia at present. ASM predicts that given the continuous growth of the insurance industry, demand for qualified actuaries will continue to grow over the next few decades. The president of ASM estimated that a minimum of 100 actuaries are needed to serve the Malaysian population of 24 million people. Overseas, actuaries are employed in various work areas ranging from strategic planning to weather forecasting.

What is an actuary?
What is an actuary? Actuaries are experts in risk management. They use their mathematical skills to help measure the probability and risk of future events. This information is useful to many industries, including

healthcare, pensions, insurance, banking and investments, where a single decision can have a major financial impact. Actuaries in the UK belong to the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries. It is a global profession with internationally-recognised qualifications. It is also very highly regarded, in the way that medicine and law are, and an actuarial career can be one of the most diverse, exciting and rewarding in the world. In fact, due to the difficult exams and the expertise required, being an actuary carries quite a reputation. What skills do actuaries have? People who work as actuaries come from all sorts of backgrounds, though clearly they share a love of maths. Actuaries are problem solvers and strategic thinkers with a deep understanding of financial systems. On the way to achieving a qualification, you'll develop these and other key skills - analysing data, evaluating financial risks, communicating clearly - through exams and work-based training. Who should become an actuary?

A graduate typically with a 2:1 in a numerate subject (others may be suitable) Loves logic and problem solving Good communicator Excellent business acumen

Find out more about what actuaries do or why you should become an actuary.

What does an actuary do?

Out of our 23,950 members


22% work in Pensions 27% work in Life Insurance 12% work in General Insurance 5% work in Investment 2% work in Education 1% work in Health and Care 33% work in other sectors

What are the main industry sectors I could work in? Actuaries' skills are in great demand throughout the financial sector, particularly in investment, insurance and pensions. Actuaries are also increasingly employed in risk management for large companies. However, actuarial consultancies are probably the biggest employers of actuaries in the UK. There are many areas where actuaries work, including; Consultancies - offering advice on issues such as acquisitions, mergers and financing capital projects, and also on occupational pension schemes Investment - involved in research and on the pricing and management of investments, particularly in mitigating the risk of investments Insurance - providing a service to companies which need a huge range of numerical information investigated, analysed and explained; for example to create and price polices, or to ensure they have the money to cover claims Pensions - designing and advising on company pension schemes, especially placing a value on accumulated pension commitments. What kind of projects do actuaries work on? Every area of business is subject to risks so an actuarial career offers many options. A typical business problem might involve analysing future financial events, especially when elements are uncertain. But it could also involve understanding something like the weather: assessing when and where devastating storms may hit and their associated costs, for investments or insurance. Due to an actuary's skill the opportunities open to them are endless, they can even be employed in the marketing and development of financial products. What skills do I need? Understanding how businesses operate is vital, but what really sets actuaries apart is their natural mathematical, economic and statistical awareness, and their ability to apply this to real business issues. The ability to communicate these difficult topics to non-specialists is also very important. Find out more about the skills that you need at each stage of qualification. Can I work in other areas?

The skills that you will gain as an actuary will be invaluable to you in your future career, whether that is as an actuary or other. Many actuaries change practice area and career paths. They move into teaching, alternative risk roles, consultants, business operations managers, career advisers the list is endless. Can I work abroad? Yes - With the skills you will gain with the UK Profession, they can take you anywhere in the world. With mutual recognition agreements with some of the other actuarial professional bodies, once you have qualified it may be easy to transfer to another professional body if your work takes you that way.

Becoming an actuary
Become an actuary

How much do actuaries earn? What do they do day to day? How can the Profession and working actuaries? This section of the website will h answer those questions and many more.

The career is very diverse, and the different routes to qualificationwhet the UK or internationally, will allow you to explore the career path in a suits you.

International Actuarial Careers Network

The IACN is an global network of students who belong to an online comm hosted on the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries website.

Students are able to join together to discuss industry topics, network with students and employers and find out firsthand what employers and the ind want from them. It is an opportunity to join like minded people to raise y profile within the Actuarial Profession and amongst employers to help yo relevant industry knowledge and help you in your job search.

If this sounds like something that would interest you - come and find out

Have you got a question?


Contact the team or one of our many Career Ambassadors for more information on the working life of an actuary.

How to become an actuary


It takes on average between three and six years to qualify as an actuary, but the rewards are well worth the effort. Most actuaries start their training once they graduate, but the information below also applies to people entering from another career.
Step 1 - Take an A-Level or a Higher in maths or an equivalent You'll definitely need this to become an actuary. But it's worth noting that whatever you eventually decide to do, taking maths will broaden your career options. Step 2 - Get a good degree For most actuarial employers, a 2.1 or better is essential. Any subject is acceptable, but employers prefer candidates with numerate degrees such as actuarial science, maths, stats, economics, engineering, chemistry or physics. We have links with universites with accreditation or exemption agreements, do you want to find out more? Step 3 - Find a trainee position Join an actuarial firm and develop your skills while you qualify. Your careers adviser can help, and you can download aDirectory of actuarial employers offering work experience or graduate trainee positions, or visit the actuaries pages of theInside Careers website. There is no age limit for joining the profession. If you're interested in changing from another career or profession, we usually recommend you undertake one or two of our examinations independently, to assess your skills. Your experience in your current career may be valuable to an actuarial firm, and you may wish to contact actuarial employers directly to discuss your potential. Step 4 - Register as an actuarial student and gain your qualifications

To become an Associate or Fellow of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries you must pass our examinations, or be granted exemption from them, and also attain a satisfactory level of workbased skills. This usually takes between three and six years. You study by distance learning, and many employers offer support for study, some offering paid study leave during your training. In the Students section of this website you can learn all about the qualifications you need to enter the profession, how and when to apply for student membership, and you can download and complete an application form. Our qualifications shows you what exams you need in order to qualify as an Associate or Fellow of the Profession. TheStudent Handbook is a helpful resource in outlining the route through the exams we recommend. Step 5 - Enjoy a job anywhere in the world Within the actuarial profession there are many different and exciting career paths, and once you're qualified, your skills can take you anywhere. Some actuaries specialise in technical research, while others may focus more on commercial activities. Most go on to be practising specialists in one of the traditional financial fields, with many becoming senior managers in insurance companies or firms of consultants.

Our qualifications
Actuarial student
The aim of the actuarial education strategy is to equip the actuaries of the future with the skills they will need for their employers and clients. All exam subjects can be taken by wellestablished distance learning methods, but we also make use of university-based education. This provides flexibility in structuring courses, and means an increased choice of tuition provision for students both before and after they enter the profession. The entry standards for student membership are set out in the admission regulations on the right. More information on student membership

Associate
Students can become Associate members of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries and gain the right to describe themselves as an actuary and to use the letters AIA or AFA. As an actuary and an Associate of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries, members have a breadth of expertise that brings wide and varied opportunities.

More information on Associate membership

Fellow
Members of the profession who wish to continue their studies to an advanced level, or who specialise in a particular actuarial field, may take further specialist exams to qualify as a Fellow. Fellows use the letters FIA or FFA and are highly sought after as experts in their chosen field. The Council may also recommend a person who is eminent or experienced in matters relative to the profession, for election as an Honorary Fellow. More information on Fellow membership

Chartered Enterprise Risk Actuary


CERA, or the Chartered Enterprise Risk Actuary qualification, is a global risk management qualification which the UK Actuarial Profession is accredited to award to members who meet certain criteria. It is one of the most comprehensive and rigorous enterprise risk management qualifications available. It aims to address the urgent need for highly-qualified risk management professionals worldwide, especially in the financial sector. More information on the CERA qualification

International students
Are you an international student? Or would you like to be? On this page, you will find information to help you find work in the UK or to be a member of the UK Profession abroad.

Bharat
Read the profile Position: Assistant Manager, Actuarial Studied: Bachelor of Commerce Now working for: Prudential, India
International students How do I obtain a work permit to work in the UK? Work permits are issued by the Borders and Immigration Agency, which is part of the Home Office. Work permit applications can only be made by employers based in the UK who wish to employ people from outside the European Economic Area. Individuals are not allowed to make applications on their own behalf.

Is there anyone I can talk to in the country I live? Yes, the Institute and Faculty has appointed education advisers overseas to advise students and those contemplating an actuarial career on matters related to the profession, particularly with regard to the education, tuition and examination activities. How do I apply to be a member? We offer a reduced rate for education services to help students in certain countries. Please see the how to register as a student page to understand if you are eligible for this reduced rate and other elements relating to admission. Application forms and admission notes are available also on that page. UK Students Can I work abroad? Yes - With the skills you will gain with the UK Profession, they can take you anywhere in the world. With mutual recognition agreements with some of the other actuarial professional bodies, once you have qualified it may be easy to transfer to another professional body if your work takes you that way. Speak to employers to find out what opportunities are available to you.

International Actuarial Careers Network (IACN)

Welcome to the International Actuarial Careers Network (IACN). You are one step closer to belonging to a network of students interested in becoming an actuary. Below you will find details of what the network is, how you can join and what the benefits are to you. For see the current breakdown of the membership please see the IACN statistics.
What is the International Actuarial Careers Network?

The IACN is an global network of students who belong to an online community hosted on the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries website. Students are able to join together to discuss industry topics, network with students and employers and find out firsthand what employers and the industry want from them. It is an opportunity to join like minded people to raise your profile within the Actuarial Profession and amongst employers to help you gain relevant industry knowledge and help you in your job search. How does it work? If you are interested in joining this online network, you will need to register using the registration form. On registration you will be asked to provide your contact details to enable us to provide you with relevant information. Once you have done this, you will be given details of how to log into the community and how the community works. You will then be able to upload documents, start discussion topics, respond to discussion threads and ask questions to the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries or employers. The community will be monitored regularly. Please note that any content that you upload will be attributed to the username you create when you log onto the website. Therefore, please ensure that you are happy with the content before you publish it. See our full terms and conditions online. How will we use your details? Your details will be used by us to contact you about our activities and services and our qualifications. It will be kept for the duration of your time as a member of the network. It is important to keep your details up to date. You will get regular reminders to do this. We will not share your details with any third parties and no members on the community will be able to access your contact details. But please note that any content you place on the community will be attributed to your username. We are confident that you will benefit greatly from being a member of the IACN, but if at any time you would like to opt out of any notifications or updates, then please contact us by emailing us. What are we offering you? Access to Career Ambassadors

Networking and links with employers etc

Q&A sessions

Discussion topics Profiles Articles Industry information Information on local events Careers newsletter Free access to The Actuary online Welcome gift.

What are the benefits to you?


Align yourself with the UK Actuarial Profession Gain access to employers Find out industry knowledge Network with like minded students Get your questions answered by industry specialists Attend career events Newsletter and access to magazines.

Welcome gift When you successfully register as a member of the IACN you will recieve a free welcome gift. Ensure that you fill in the postal details on the registration form to allow us to send it to you. Any questions? If you have any questions about the network then please contact us using the details below Email: yourfuture@actuaries.org.uk Telephone: +44 (0)20 7632 2137

International newsletters
International newsletters As our international presence increases, we want to be able to reach you in a more personal way so that you get a feel for the sort of things we are doing to help build the membership

community. Newsletters like these are being sent to our members in different parts of the world to ensure that you feel up to date with the activities that the Profession is engaged in. In order to give you information that is relevant and interesting to you, we want you to keep us up to date with activities that you are involved in, so that we can advertise your events, talks and presentations and support you in many other ways. You can send your ideas to our international newsletter team.

Get a taste of actuarial work

Watch and listen ...... ... as newly qualified actuaries explain how an actuarial qualification will enable them to ent range of careers.

Why do I need work experience? Employers are looking for much more than an excellent academic record and work experience can give you the edge. It shows initiative, drive and determination, and the fact that you've learnt in real life situations. 47% of employers say that it is "not very likely" that they would take on a graduate with no work experience. High Fliers, "The graduate market in 2013 How do I get work experience? Many actuarial employers encourage internships, and often use them as opportunities to evaluate suitable candidates for future positions. The Directory of Actuarial Employers will show you which employers currently offer internships. Your careers adviser should also be able to provide a wealth of information about internships. What do I do if i can't get any actuarial work experience? If you're struggling to find an actuarial work placement, it is often worth approaching large employers such as insurance companies for general office-based work experience. Although this may not be what you had in mind, it will be a useful insight into the workings of the industry. Once you've established yourself, mention your interest in actuarial work, and see where it takes you. Can I take any exams before I become a member? If you are interested in joining the profession, learning more about it, or simply improving your financial skills, you can get a taste of what it's like to study as an actuary by taking our Certificate in Financial Mathematics exam. This exam can be taken as a non-member. It

would show an employer you are keen on this route, you can take and pass the exams independantly and that you are a good investment. However, do not consider taking our exams if you are struggling with your university course - the 2:1 or higher is a basic requirement, it is more important to achieve that. How do I get an actuarial graduate position? The Directory of Actuarial Employers will show you which employers currently offer graduate actuarial trainee roles. Themeet our members page gives you an idea of what roles are out there, and what previous graduates have done since leaving university.

What can an actuary earn?


Wherever you go in the world, you'll find the actuarial profession is one of the highest paid.
Here is the basic salary you might expect to earn at different levels of responsibility.

Responsibility level Chief actuary, senior partner Senior function head, practice director Function head, practice head Department manager, managing consultant Section manager, senior consultant Section leader, consultant Senior actuary, junior consultant Actuary Student actuary

Average basic salary () 221,250+ 134,343 110,747 87,557 81,239 67,298 59,836 46,515 32,842

Source: XpertHR Salary survey of actuaries and actuarial students, 2011-12 For more information visit www.xperthr.co.uk

Meet some of our members


Case Studies

Chris
Read the profile Position: Actuarial Analyst Studied: Physics Now working for: Guy Carpenter, London

Claire
Read the profile Position: Actuarial Trainee Studied: Actuarial Science Now working for: Hymans Robertson, Edinburgh

Andrew
Read the profile Position: Actuary, Investment Proposition Studied: Mathematics Now working for: Standard Life, Edinburgh

Bhavna
Read the profile Position: Actuarial Senior Associate Studied: Mathematics Now working for: Mercer Ltd, Liverpool

Video Profiles

Naila
Watch the video Position: Senior Consultant Studied: Mathematics with French Now working for: Deloitte, London

Jon
Watch the video Position: Consulting Actuary Studied: Mathematics Now working for: Hymans Robertson, LLP, London

Jinita
Watch the video Position: Associate Consultant Studied: Actuarial Science Now working for: Lane Clark & Peacock LLP, London

Careers events
Current Events
Please note that for all of these events, you will need to contact the university directly to apply for a space. If you are not at the university, you will be unable to attend. UK Cass Business School Actuarial careers talk UEA - Actuarial Careers Reception 19 March 20 March DLG 09 - social science building Darcy Thompson Common Room 18:0020:00 13:0016:00 Registration link

Open to all actuarial students

International 23 March 20 March June - TBC 14:00-17:00 16:30-17:30 TBC Jomo Kenyatta University Actuarial Fair Hong Kong University Strathmore University Actuarial Fair Nairobi, Kenya Hong Kong Nairobi, Kenya

Past Events
We have made available the presentations from past events - please see the right hand menu to find links to these.

24 October 2012 - Actuarial Careers Reception, Staple Inn Hall, London

Photographs from a careers fair at Heriot Watt University on 12 February 2013 can be viewed here.

Contact us
If you have any queries about future events, or would like us to organise an event for a school or university then please contact Jenni Hughes

Career Ambassadors

This page outlines who our Career Ambassadors are and the role they have in the Profession.
The role of a Career Ambassador is to promote the Profession by helping to advise those interested in the career path about the role of an actuary and give them informal and personal advice about their route in. Our Career Ambassadors are at many different stages in their actuarial qualification, from new graduates to senior actuaries. They are also working for many different employers in various roles, which allows for a huge variety of insight into a dynamic and ever changing career and professional body. Our Career Ambassadors are based all over the world, and do a number of different tasks for the purpose of promoting the work of actuaries.

Career presentations at schools and universities Career fairs at schools and presentations Career case studies for publications and online platforms Over the phone and email advice

If you would like a Career Ambassador to come to your school or university or would like some advice from a Career Ambassador then please contact jenni.hughes@actuaries.org.uk For case studies on some of our members see meet some of our members. If you would like further details on the task description of a Career Ambassador and other volunteer opportunities then see the volunteering pages.

Are you attending a careers event?


If you are then we can provide you with the following material;

FAQ folders Directory of Actuarial Employers Inside Careers (universities only) Stand (upon request) Posters IACN leaflets (universities only) Squeezy dice.

Please send me details of the event - Name of institution, location, date, time and contact at the institution.

Career sponsorship events


There are a number of events that the Careers department sponsors during the year. The events and supporting documentation are outlined below.

Highland Senior Mathematics Weekend 15-17 March Lagganlia Centre for Outdoor Learning Kingussie View a selection of photographs from the weekend here.

The above event has been running for 14 years and has proven to be hugely popular with senior students studying advanced mathematics in their sixth year of high school. The key aims of the weekend are:

To further foster and develop an enjoyment of mathematics through the application of advanced mathematics to real problems. To make students aware of the importance of mathematics, science and technology in business and industry, as well as the careers and opportunities available to them. To promote an ethos of both individual determination and commitment to a shared goal through a series of indoor and outdoor activities.

The event was a huge success, Suzanne Vaughan, a member of Scottish Board went to the event on behalf of the profession. Her account of the event is below. "On the rather chilly afternoon of Friday 15 March 2013, I drove from my lovely warm office in Edinburgh up to Lagganlia Outdoor Centre (near Aviemore) to attend the Highland Senior Mathematics Weekend on behalf of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries. This was a maths boot camp for the Highlands and Islands brightest mathematic students (aged 16 and 17), brought together for the weekend to show them how their mathematic skills could open up a world of job opportunities. This event was organised by the Highland Council but sponsored by the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries via the Scottish Board.

I opened the weekend on behalf of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries with an evening session covering the Actuarial qualification and career path. I also included a workshop which gave the students a chance to work through some real life actuarial problem solving (one question even based on a past CA1 exam paper question!). The highlight for me of the weekend, apart from the absolutely stunning views of the snow-capped mountains of Aviemore, was the complete enthusiasm the students showed towards this event and our profession. They showed a real passion for learning and finding out more about what a career as an actuary could offer. It was a highly rewarding experience, and to me this is exactly the sort of opportunities we should be seeking out more regularly to broaden awareness of our profession amongst this age group. If we want to remain one of the most well sought after professions it is important that young people know who we are and what we can offer. As a profession I believe we still have plenty of work to do in this area, but I am convinced we are moving in the right direction." View a selection of photographs from the weekend here

An article was also written after the event, that article is under "Associated documents".

Careers questions answered


What qualifications do I need to become an actuary?
Most employers are looking for graduates with at least a 2.1 degree and excellent A-levels or equivalent. The minimum requirements for admission as a student of the Actuarial Profession are

Maths A-level (or equivalent) at grade B, together with a second A-level (or equivalent) in any subject at grade C; or Three Scottish National Qualifications Authority Higher passes, one of which must be in mathematics at Grade A; or The Irish Leaving Certificate in at least five subjects; one of the passes must be in mathematics at Grade A; or The Actuarial Professions CT1 exam taken as a non-member; or Other qualifications which are considered to be equivalent to the above.

For holders of a second class honours degree or above in a non-mathematical subject, the maths A-level requirement is reduced to a grade C. For holders of a third class honours or above in a mathematical or actuarial science degree, the maths A-level requirement is dropped.

What if I dont meet the entry requirements?


There is the option to take the Certificate in Financial Mathematics (CT1) exam. It will give you the option to see if the maths skills and experience you have is enough to take our exams. If you do take and pass the exam, then you will be eligible to become a member of the profession. However, there are a few things to note before you consider this option 1) Most employers look for students with a minimum 2:1 in a numerate degree and a maths A Level 2) You will be up against students with upper 1st or 2nd class numerate degrees and who have exemptions from several subjects 3) Each company, especially in the recession will have upped their entry requirements in order to facilitate the huge number of applicants for each position if you do not meet the basic requirements it may put you at a disadvantage 4) If you spoke to an employer and explained that you have/or are thinking of taking CT1, which could get you into the Profession then it may exempt you from some of their entry requirements. Please note that this is not definite, it is just something to be aware of, each company will have specific requirements that you will need to meet. It would be worth in this situation to call employers directly through the Directory of Actuarial Employers to see if they can give you any advice as they will have their own procedures in place.

What A Levels should I do?


In order to become a student member of The Actuarial Profession, you will need to have a grade B at A level mathematics and a grade C in another A level subject, or equivalent. Other than the mathematics A level, it is your choice which subjects you choose.

How do I choose my university and course?


For the majority of actuaries, a good degree is essential. Most employers prefer candidates with numerate degrees from a university department with a strong reputation.

A numerate degree may also lead to exemptions from some of the Profession's exams. For a list of those universities click here. Actuarial science degrees, in particular, are likely to give the most exemptions. You could look at the University League Tables for further information on where the universities you are looking at fall.

Will I benefit from studying a degree in actuarial science?


Several universities offer undergraduate degrees in actuarial science, which offer exemptions from some or all of the Core technical subject examinations. The advantages of studying for an actuarial science degree are:

It is an opportunity to find out more about actuarial work before starting employment. If you achieve a sufficiently high standard in the appropriate university exams, then you will be recommended for exemption from the corresponding professional exams. If you have an actuarial degree you should be able to qualify more quickly than if you take a course which gives fewer exemptions. You may be more focused on your work and be promoted more quickly. A higher number of exam passes or exemptions may mean that the you receive a higher salary (probably staggered and dependent on future exam success). An actuarial degree gives an excellent grounding in subjects like economics, finance, mathematics, and statistics, as well as the more actuarial subjects. This makes actuarial graduates suitable for a range of careers, not just actuarial work.

But I won't be at a disadvantage if I'm not doing an actuarial degree, will I?


There are benefits to studying alternative degrees:

Non-actuarial degrees enable students to experience a greater range of courses and to pursue a variety of interests outside actuarial work. Non-actuarial degrees may still lead to exemption from some of the Core technical subjects (eg CT3 Probability and mathematical statistics). Some employers are less enthusiastic than others about employing actuarial science graduates, so you may wish to seek the views of your favoured employers. Experience in the office is at least as important as exam passes. Actuarial graduates should not assume that they will necessarily be paid more than other graduates.

What about postgraduate degrees?


Postgraduate degrees which offer exemption from Core technical subjects or Specialist technical subjects are also available. These have similar advantages to the actuarial science degrees noted above.

However, students typically have to find private funding for these postgraduate courses.

Where can I get sponsorship?


The Worshipful Company of Actuaries do offer funding through a charitable trust. Also, the Staple Inn Actuarial Society (SIAS) offers funding at university level.

How long does it take to qualify?


In order to become a Associate or Fellow of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries, students must pass exams, completion a number of practical modules, and acquire a satisfactory level of workbased skills. This means that the average qualification time is currently three to six years.

What exemptions from the professional examinations will I obtain?


This will depend on the scope and standard of the subjects covered by the university examinations taken and on the performance you have achieved. It is possible to gain exemptions from all eight of the Core technical subjects on some undergraduate and postgraduate degrees. Some postgraduate degrees offer the opportunity for exemptions from Core applications and Specialist technical subjects. Details of the universities and courses we have agreements with are available, along with information on how to apply. If you have taken a different university course you may still be eligible for exemption from some of our exams, but will need to apply to us for confirmation. You must be a member of the Profession before you can gain any of the exemptions.

Where are actuaries based in the UK?


Actuaries work in cities throughout the UK and not just in London. Details of many actuarial employers can be found in theDirectory of Actuarial Employers.

How do I obtain a work permit to work in the UK?


Work permits are issued by the Borders and Immigration Agency, which is part of the Home Office. Work permit applications can only be made by employers based in the UK who wish to employ people from outside the European Economic Area. Individuals are not allowed to make applications on their own behalf.

Do I have to work as an actuary to qualify?


Yes, as well as passing the examinations, Associateship and Fellowship requires the satisfactory completion of a period ofwork based training, evidenced by a learning log.

What happens in a graduate placement?


Once you gain a placement within a firm, you will embark on a route through the exams and gaining the necessary work experience for you to qualify as a Fellow of the Actuarial Profession.

Typically employers give you one day off a week to study although this is subject to each individual employer. You will be given a study mentor who will be able to support you through the qualifications. You will be given a salary which will usually increase when you pass exams and take on more work and responsibility.

Will I need to continue training once I have qualified?


Yes, actuaries are required to maintain their competence once qualified through continuing professional development(CPD).

Contact us
Please use the contact details below to find out more

Careers enquiries Please email careers@actuaries.org.uk or call 01865 268 228 To attend an Actuarial Careers Evening or Reception Please email jenni.hughes@actuaries.org.uk or call 020 7632 2137 To become a Careers Ambassador Please email jenni.hughes@actuaries.org.uk or call 020 7632 2137 Would you like an actuary to give a presentation or attend a school or university fair? Please email jenni.hughes@actuaries.org.uk or call 020 7632 2137

Actuarial Science
Subject description
Are you interested in money and investing it? Do you enjoy maths, and find statistics fascinating? If so, working as an actuary could be possible career option. The UK spends billions of pounds each year on financial products such as insurance, pensions and mortgages. Actuaries are experts who design products like these to look after people's financial needs and to protect their financial interests: part of their work is to try to predict what money will do when it is invested. Actuaries sometimes give specialised evidence in court (for example in fraud cases) or work with the government to predict how much money will be needed to meet the nation's spending needs on services such as health, education and social care. To qualify as an actuary you need a good honours degree in Actuarial Science (or a subject with a high numerical content such as Mathematics or Economics) and specialist professional qualifications from the Faculty and Institute of Actuaries. It is important to find out which courses are approved by the Faculty and Institute and give exemptions from some of the professional examinations for actuarial trainees.

Example areas of study


The following is as list of example topic areas that actuarial science degree courses could include and is intended as a guide to the subjects you may study. It is important to check the exact focus of the course with the institutions that you wish to apply to before you submit your application.

Algebra and calculus Statistical theory and practice Financial and investment mathematics Computing in mathematics Financial economics Actuarial investigations Distribution theory Time series and simulation Life assurance practice Demography Financial risk management Pension funds Database systems Data analysis Macroeconomics Econometrics Financial accounting

Financial forecasting Numbers and functions Life insurance mathematics Organisational behaviour International monetary economics Survival models Probability and inference Problems of finance and investment Stochastic and actuarial methods in finance Research methods Microeconomics Statistics and statistical reporting

Some career possibilities


By choosing an actuarial science degree you are not committing yourself to becoming an actuary. Many graduates do become actuarial trainees but others go on to a variety of financial and other careers including insurance, accountancy training, finance companies, banking or research for higher degrees.

What do I need to get on a course?


The entry requirements for actuarial science degrees do vary so it is important to check these requirements with the institutions that you wish to apply to. The list below is intended as a guide to the grades and qualifications that you may need.

UCAS Tariff: 220 - 300 points including mathematics A-level: AB - AAA including A in mathematics SQA Highers: AAABB including mathematics SQA Advanced Highers: AB - AAA including mathematics Irish Leaving Certificates: AAABB including mathematics International Baccalaureate: 34 - 38 points including mathematics BTEC National Diploma: relevant subjects considered

For your application or interview, evidence of the following could be useful:


Work experience or work shadowing in a financial organisation (such as a bank, and insurance company or the Stock Exchange) Interest and knowledge of financial issues (for example by reading The Economist and The Financial Times) Further information is available from The Actuarial Profession and the Association of Consulting Actuaries (ACA).

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Credits:

BSc Actuarial Science


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Degree Structure Teaching and Assessment Suggested Preliminary Reading UCAS Code: N321 BSc/ActSci HEFCE/QAA Teaching Assessment: Approved 22 out of 24 points (November 1999) - as part of a single assessment of Mathematics and Statistics. Course Requirement: A level Mathematics at grade A or International Baccalaureate Higher level Mathematics (with 7). Normally required: A level: grades A A A, one of which must be Mathematics. Further Mathematics is highly desirable. International Baccalaureate: Diploma with 38 points including 7 6 6 at Higher level (with 7 in Mathematics).

If you have enjoyed mathematics at A level and are interested in the applications of statistics to the social sciences, then you should consider this subject. Actuarial science applies mathematical skills to a range of applied subjects and helps to solve important problems for insurance, government, commerce, industry and academic researchers. If you choose the Actuarial Science degree then you take additional courses, which together with the mathematics and statistics required, can lead to exemptions from all of the first of the examinations of the Institute of Actuaries. See Undergraduate Programme Accreditation and Exemptions for more information. Take a look at what Statistics graduates have gone on to do here.

Degree Structure
The BSc Actuarial Science degree involves studying courses to the value of twelve units over three years as indicated below.

First Year
1. 2. 3. 4. ST102 Elementary Statistical Theory MA100 Mathematical Methods AC100 Elements of Accounting and Finance or MA103 Introduction to Abstract Mathematics EC102 Economics B

Elementary Statistical Theory is a theoretical statistics course which is appropriate whether or not your A level Mathematics course included statistics. It forms the basis for later statistics options. Mathematical Methods is an introductory level 'how to do it' course designed to prepare you for using mathematics seriously in the social sciences or any other context. Elements of Accounting and Finance will give you an introduction to the preparation, uses and limitations of accounting information and problems of finance and investment. You will also take an Economics course.

Second Year
1. 2. 3. 4. ST202 Probability, Distribution Theory and Inference MA212 Further Mathematical Methods ST227 Survival Methods (half) and ST226 Actuarial Investigations - Financial (half) Courses to the value of one unit (to be discussed with tutor)

Probability, Distribution Theory and Inference will develop your knowledge of probability and statistics beyond the first year course. It will also provide the probability and statistics basis for all third year courses. Further Mathematical Methods covers the mathematics needed for statistics and actuarial courses. Actuarial investigations (Financial) is a course on compound interest techniques from an actuarial viewpoint and Survival models provides an introduction to actuarial mathematics and statistics. Within in the optional unit you can choose from courses in economics, mathematics, sociology, psychology, information systems, or anything else that might interest you. Alternatively, you can do an applied statistics project.

Third Year
1. ST302 Stochastic Processes (half) and ST304 Time Series and Forecasting (half) 2. ST306 Actuarial Mathematics: General (half) and ST300 Regression and Generalised Linear Models (half) 3. ST305 Actuarial Mathematics: Life 4. ST330 Stochastic and Actuarial Methods in Finance There are no options in the third year, but you might substitute one or two of these courses with an option taught outside the department. This however may affect exemptions from the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries examinations. You might be able to gain exemptions from the core technical stage of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries examinations if you reach a sufficient standard in the relevant LSE courses. This is normally well above a pass mark. There could be changes in the programme given here for the second and third years of the degree to keep up with developments in Actuarial Science. Have a look at the BSc Actuarial Science regulations page for more information on option courses.

Teaching and Assessment


You will usually attend a mixture of lectures and related classes totally between ten and fifteen hours per week. Your personal tutor will be able to offer general guidance and assistance with both academic and personal concerns and you will be expected to meet him or her at least three times a term. Most courses are assessed by a three hour examination in June. A small number of courses are assessed by project work. The class of degree you will attain is based on the assessment over all three years with the emphasis on marks gained in the second and third years.

Suggested Preliminary Reading


The following books can help prepare for the programmes: J S Rosenthal Struck by Lightening: the curious world of probabilities (Harper Collins, 2005) V Bryant Yet Another Introduction to Analysis (Cambridge University Press, 1990) N L Biggs Discrete Mathematics (Oxford University Press, 2003) P Eccles An Introduction to Mathematical Reasoning (Cambridge University Press, 1998) D Hand Statistics: a very short introduction (Oxford University Press, 2008)

The following are books on mathematics and statistics containing little to no formulas: A Dilnot The Tiger That Isn't: Seeing Through a World of Numbers (Profile books, 2007) K J Devlin The Millennium Problems: the seven greatest unsolved mathematical puzzles of our time (Granta Books, 2005) P J Davis and R Hersh The Mathematical Experience (Houghton Mifflin, 2000)