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The Actuary The magazine of the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries
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Careers

  • Benefiting from our CPD co-ordinator's briefing 2018Online materials from November's CPD Co-ordinators' briefing are now available for IFoA members to access on our website. 07 February 2019
  • The adaptable actuaryI recently attended the IFoA's event The Actuary as a Data Scientist, which gave an interesting window on the profession's future. 07 February 2019
  • p12_leeter_istock_ Uphill struggle?The trouble with the truth is that motives can be misconstrued. However, as Churchill said, The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is. 07 February 2019
  • Lord-Paul-Myners_DSF7974-©Peter-Searle- Interview: Lord Paul MynersLord Paul Myners talks with Stephen Hyams about the economic outlook, Brexit, fintech, short-termism in investments and pension matters 07 February 2019
  • Dodo-shutterstock_134626151 Digital or dodo? How to avoid extinctionActuaries will have to adapt to survive in the digital age, say Eoin Lyons and Matt Oldham 07 February 2019
  • Rosaline Chow Koo ©David Mahoney Interview: Rosaline Chow KooRosaline Chow Koo is the founder and CEO of fintech start-up CXA Group, which recently won InsurTech of the Year at the Asia Insurance Industry Awards. Sharad Bajla and Francisco Sebastian spoke with her about her journey. 06 December 2018
  • Letters: film editsThe Secret Actuary's exposé of actuaries in films in the November edition of The Actuary missed a few tricks. 06 December 2018
  • The actuary as data scientistThis one-day event exploring data science for actuaries took place at Staple Inn Hall on 5 November. 06 December 2018
  • Council update: strategising for the futureCouncil's second meeting of the 2018-19 sessional year took place in London on 19 October. 06 December 2018
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What does an actuary do?

Actuaries apply financial and statistical theories to solve real business problems. In effect, they use their skills in maths and statistics to create theoretical models of the world around them.

A typical business problem might involve analysing future financial events, especially when the amount or timing of a payment is uncertain. But it could also involve understanding something like the weather: assessing when and where devastating storms may hit can help predict risks, and their associated costs, for investments or insurance. So a lot of the work an actuary does might be thought of as risk management.

The skills you need
Understanding how businesses operate, and how legislation may affect them, is vital. But what really sets actuaries apart is their natural mathematical, economic and statistical awareness, and their ability to apply this to real situations in the financial world. The ability to communicate these difficult topics to non-specialists is also very important.

Main industry sectors
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.

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 risk, and often using their understanding of insurance or pension liabilities to manage the corresponding assets.

Insurance - providing a service to companies that 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.