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The Actuary The magazine of the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries
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Q&A: Roopal Shard (India)


02 JULY 2015 | Roopal Shard


Roopal Shard

I am an economics graduate from the University of Delhi. I currently work at Milliman India specialising in pensions. I am also part of a non-government organisation in Delhi that looks into matters of public interest.

I have an avid interest in singing and passed my grade 4 exam from Trinity College, London. I plan to sit further singing exams. As well as my interest in fiction, I also enjoy reading about theoretical physics and the latest discoveries in the field of science.



Why did you decide to study and work in this specific field?

I chose to be an actuary because I wanted to pursue a career that uses mathematics practically, and is also a part of the financial services industry.


Which actuarial society are you a member of? 

I am a member of both the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries and the Institute of Actuaries of India.


Which actuarial fields are most dominant in India and why? 

Life insurance is the most dominant field because it is one of the first actuarial services in India and is in high demand.


Tell us a bit about the market that you work and study in?

I work in the employee benefits team at Milliman, focused on Asian clients. We value the liabilities of firms with respect to end-of-service-benefits the company are obliged to pay to their employees. 


What kind of support do students get in your company? 

The exam fee is paid by the company if the student passes the exam. There are also exam-based salary increments to encourage students to pass exams, and study leave.


Is there an actuarial student society in the area where you work? If so, what kind of activities does it organise?

The Institute of Actuaries of India regularly organises seminars and workshops for actuaries specialising in various fields. However, most of these events take place in Mumbai. 


What do you believe are the social and economic drivers for actuarial work in India? 

The main driver for gratuity benefits and health insurance is the lack of a strong social security system and a universal healthcare system provided by the goverment.

 

What’s the reputation and image of actuaries and the profession in India? 

The Institute of Actuaries of India is very highly regarded in India. It is also recognised by the IFoA. The IAI exams are extremely difficult and have a low pass percentage year after year. The IAI makes sure that member actuaries follow the guidelines and law laid down by it. 


What are your views on the role of an actuary in the market you work in, now and in the future?

I think the role of an actuary has become quite important in the field of end-of-service-benefits because as companies expand, so do their liabilities. 

Firms are facing a pressing need to actuarially certify their liability figures. There is also a growing awareness among clients about what an actuary does and why it is important. 


In the UK the skill set of an actuary is being recognised across many not traditional disciplines. Is this also true of India?

I don’t think this trend is very popular in India as there are a large number of management graduates with similar skill sets that are able to secure jobs in challenging areas such as investment banking, financial risk management and enterprise risk management. 


What were the influences that shaped your career decisions to date? 

My love for economics and mathematics led me to choose a career in actuarial science. The mix of mathematics and finance was one of the key attractions of this field.

 

What are your immediate and longer term goals?

My immediate goals are to learn more about my field and work on more challenging projects. My long-term goal is to become a fully qualified actuarial consultant in the field of pensions and employee benefits.


What do you say when asked “What is an actuary”? 

My reply is that an actuary quantifies the level of risk for a company or individual, designs complex insurance products and/or helps clients make risk-driven decisions. 


How will you celebrate the day you qualify?

I will take a really long vacation.