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The Actuary The magazine of the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries
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Enjoy your student experience here!

As autumn approaches have you fond memories of cosy student times by the fireside, textbooks and cocoa to hand? Or do you envy current students their tutorial camaraderie and modern tuition materials? Or do you simply wish you too could brush up on modern financial techniques?

If so, you can turn these dreams into reality – the profession is now offering its courses to all members, irrespective of status.

Subjects

If you fancy studying in a specific discipline you can choose from any of the pre-qualification subjects. We envisage that the more recent additions to the qualification suite will prove most popular, including the technical subjects in models and financial economics. The subjects in the specialist practice areas are also likely to appeal, particularly for those moving into new fields, like health and care or finance.

The core technical level covers the basic building blocks, the specialist technical level the principles in each of the application areas and the specialist application level looks at the specific implementation in the UK. A brief reminder of the pre-qualification subjects on offer is given in tables 1, 2, and 3 below.

In addition there are the core application subjects covering CA1, assets, liabilities and asset-liability management, CA2, computer modelling, and CA3, communications. Although actuaries are welcome to study these if they wish, we do not expect many will need to improve their skills in these areas.

UK practice modules

As well as pre-qualification subjects, actuaries may be interested in taking one of the UK practice modules which have recently been introduced for newly qualified actuaries working in the UK.

These are particularly likely to appeal to actuaries coming to work in the UK from a period overseas, or who are transferring to a new practice area.

These provide knowledge of UK business practice, regulation, legislation, and professional guidance notes relevant to the work of an actuary practising in each specialism.

The reading for each specialism consists of the core reading for the relevant specialist application subject, together with material generic to all areas. The course is examined by a multiple choice examination.

Study options

You can choose the method of study which suits you best from:

  • a course of reading;
  • a distance-learning course, with self-assessed tests, marked assignments. and tutorials (if you wish) through BPP Actuarial Education;
  • an optional examination.

All successfully completing the examination will receive a certificate.

Specific courses in modern finance

If you prefer, you can take a course focused on the application of modern financial techniques, specifically designed for post-qualification study and leading to an examination if required.

Certificates are offered in:

  • practical financial economics;
  • derivatives (this is the same subject as ST6 in the pre-qualification subjects).

Tuition for these courses is through a structured course of reading, with an optional examination.

The certificate in practical financial economics is aimed at helping actuaries who have not studied financial economics before, to appreciate the principles of modern finance theory and its application in their practice fields.

The basic certificate in derivatives covers mathematics and basic principles of derivatives, including the terminology, the nature of derivatives contracts, valuing products, analysing risks, and using derivatives within a portfolio.

Next steps

For all courses, syllabuses are available on the profession’s website along with past examination papers together with solutions.

To apply for a course, or for further information, please visit the website or contact Karen Brocklesby, registrar, emailkarenb@actuaries.org.uk

Table 1 - Core Technical

CT1 Financial Mathematics: a grounding in financial mathematics and its simple applications

CT2 Finance and Financial Reporting: a basic understanding of corporate finance including the instruments used by companies to raise finance/ manage financial risk and interpreting accounts and financial statements

CT3 Probability and Mathematical Statistics: a grounding in the aspects of statistics and statistical modelling of relevance to actuarial work

CT4 Models: a grounding in stochastic processes and survival models and their application

CT5 Contingencies: a grounding in mathematical techniques to model and value cashflows dependent on death, survival, or other uncertain risks

CT6 Statistical Methods: a further grounding in mathematical and statistical techniques of particular relevance to financial work

CT7 Economics: a grounding in the fundamental concepts of economics as they affect the operation of insurance and other financial systems

CT8 Financial Economics: the skills needed to construct asset liability models, to value financial derivatives, to communicate with other financial professionals and to critically evaluate modern financial theories

Table 2 - Specialist Technical

ST1 Health and Care: the application, in simple situations, of the principles of actuarial planning and control needed in health and care matters

ST2 Life Insurance: the principles of actuarial planning and control, and mathematical and economic techniques, relevant to the operation on sound financial lines of life insurance companies

ST3 General Insurance: the application, in simple situations, of the mathematical and economic techniques and the principles of actuarial planning and control needed for the operation on sound financial lines of general insurers

ST4 Pensions and Other Benefits: the application, in simple situations, of the mathematical and economic techniques and the principles of actuarial planning and control needed for the operation on sound financial lines of providers of pensions or other employee benefits

ST5 Finance & Investment A: the application, in simple situations, of the principles of actuarial planning and control to the appraisal of investments, and to the selection and management of investments appropriate to the needs of investors

ST6 Finance & Investment B: the valuation of financial derivatives

Table 3 - Specialist Application

SA1 Health and Care: the application of knowledge of the United Kingdom health and care environment and the principles of actuarial practice to the provision of health and care benefits in the United Kingdom

SA2 Life Insurance: the application of knowledge of the United Kingdom life insurance environment and the principles of actuarial practice to a United Kingdom life insurance company

SA3 General Insurance: the application of knowledge of the United Kingdom general insurance environment and the principles of actuarial practice to providers of general insurance in the United Kingdom

SA4 Pensions and Other Benefits: the application of knowledge of the United Kingdom pensions and employee benefit environment and the principles of actuarial practice to providers of pensions and employee benefits in the United Kingdom

SA5 Finance: the application of knowledge of the United Kingdom financial environment and the principles of actuarial practice to the financial management of clients’ affairs

SA6 Investment: the application of knowledge of the United Kingdom investment environment and the principles of actuarial practice to the selection and management of investments appropriate to the needs of investors