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The Actuary The magazine of the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries

Associate status

I read with amusement RobertGroves’s letter (August) regardingthe issue of the associateship status.I am one of these new associates,and to be honest there wasmuch hesitation on my part toapply for this qualificationbecause of reactions like this.

Fortunately my firm felt that itwould be happy that, with nineyears of experience in the industryand only one exam to go, I wascompetent to sign off as ‘anactuary’. Interestingly, all theparticipants of the one-day professionalismcourse for the associateshipqualification were ofsimilar experience (or more) tome, with either one or two examsto go. All of them were still pursuingthe fellowship qualification.

So it was quite apt for the editorto compare the quick qualifiersand the slow ones! I believe thatmost people who will apply forthis will be the slow (and frustrated)ones like myself. Personallyif I was one of these quick qualifiers,I would be quite fearful ofassuming the role of an actuarybecause the reality of that ‘badgeof honour’ that Robert Grovesmentions is one of immenseresponsibility. Many actuarieshave told me that they were notsuddenly enlightened on the daythey qualified. Rather it wasthrough years of experience anddeveloping the softer skills thatthey felt comfortable in givingactuarial advice that clients understoodand valued.

I applaud Robert Groves forbeing honest in a country andindustry that is most renownedfor its stiff upper lip. However, Iquestion his belief in the actuarialprofession and its qualifications.He does not seem very proud (orhappy I might add!) to be anactuary in a new and challengingenvironment.