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The Actuary The magazine of the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries

Actuaries of the future

It has been a busy start to the year and despite murmurs of a double-dip recession, activities in the business world continue seemingly unflustered.

During a brief respite from Northern Hemisphere winter blues and year-end deadlines, I spent a week in Nairobi, Kenya, as a volunteer lecturer at Strathmore University. The university has recently developed an actuarial programme, one of a few in the country. I was moved by the eagerness of the actuaries in the making — both at university and in the working world.

The actuarial profession in Kenya is one that is deservedly well respected and still fairly rare, with less than ten qualified actuaries in the country, though roughly ten times as many students. I am told there are, and have met more, Kenyan-born or raised qualified actuaries further afield.

It struck me how, despite taking on a tough undergraduate course, in the students’ view, graduating with an actuarial degree simply isn’t sufficient. Without supplementing it with a qualification such as the CFA or ACCA, the prospects of finding work after graduating are limited. Many take evening classes so that they have at least one professional qualification when they leave after the typical four years. I was heartened to see their widespread hardworking ethic despite a bleak actuarial job market.

Their economy at large, however, looks to be expanding, and regulatory change that will no doubt come with it seems to suggest that there will be a place for the signing actuary and, with it, more jobs for students. My thanks go to the students and faculty members at Strathmore University and to the Kenyan actuaries and students who made my visit one to remember.

In this month’s magazine we are covering the topics of ERM and pensions, and the Actuarial Profession invites you to early bird registration at the Pension conference and the Risk and investment conference to be held in June this year. We continue our search for a budding journalist, from any part of the globe to take on the editorial challenge of our student page. I look forward to receiving further enquiries.

Marjorie Ngwenya