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The Actuary The magazine of the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries

Profession: Getting your CPD for free

Recent changes to the Profession’s Continuing Professional Development (CPD) scheme mean that actuaries who hold a Practising Certificate now need to undertake at least 30 hours of verifiable CPD a year. Further changes to the CPD scheme are planned for other members from July next year.

Even at 30 hours every year, the Profession’s CPD requirements are still lower than those for some other professions, with at least one other profession requiring members to undertake a minimum of 90 hours per year. The requirement is also probably lower than the number of hours many members would commit to CPD in the absence of such a mandatory scheme. Nonetheless, members may be concerned as to how to meet these increasing CPD requirements during a time when their employer may be less keen to pay for their attendance at suitable events, particularly if there are travel and accommodation costs to be met in addition.

However, most members should be able to meet their CPD requirements by clocking up ‘free’ CPD in a variety of ways. The majority of members either hold a Practising Certificate or fall into the next category of member — Category 2. The CPD requirements for these groups are summarised below:

Practising certificate-holders
Certificate-holders must undertake at least 30 hours of CPD a year. All of this must be verifiable — for instance, where your attendance at an event or outcome of the activity is verifiable by someone else. At least 20 hours must be technically relevant to your area of work, of which at least 10 hours should be external to your employer. At least six hours must relate to professionalism activity, balanced between CPD linked to the Actuaries’ Code and CPD linked to non-technical skills such as business skills, management skills, staff development and IT.

Category 2 actuaries
Category 2 actuaries must undertake at least 15 hours of CPD a year, which must be a combination of verifiable and personally assessed hours. At least 10 hours must be relevant to your area of work and at least two hours must relate to professionalism activity.

So how can you obtain relevant CPD for free? First, an important point to remember is that all CPD should develop or maintain your professional skills, otherwise it is not CPD. A few ideas as to how to obtain appropriate CPD are listed below:

>> Attendance at the sessional meetings or open forums organised by the Profession, although time spent undertaking informal discussions in the pub after attending such a meeting unfortunately does not count as CPD
>> Attending local meetings organised by one of the regional actuarial societies including SIAS
>> Taking part in a working party linked to the Profession, perhaps leading to a presentation at a sessional meeting or other event organised by the Profession
>> By giving something back via ‘service to the Profession’. Up to 15 hours CPD a year can be counted under this area, which includes time spent on Profession committees. Details can be found on the Profession’s website under the appropriate Practice Area
>> Attending presentations put on by actuarial consultancies — each may only provide an hour or so of CPD but, as they say, look after the minutes and the hours will look after themselves
>> Attending presentations organised by other professional bodies of which you or your firm may be a member
>> Personal and relevant reading or private study. This is not verifiable, but it still counts if the outcome of such learning is recorded. Unfortunately watching films such as Double Indemnity can’t be counted as CPD, even if you watch it with someone external to your own firm.

With the vast array of free CPD opportunities available, it should be achievable for most members to meet their CPD requirements without too many problems. But do not forget that the CPD scheme is concerned with a ‘minimum’ requirement — at certain times it may be appropriate for you to undertake much more than the minimum in order to keep up to date with the relevant knowledge, skills and regulations for your role.

The key consideration should be how you remain competent to undertake your work, and therefore at the same time adhere to the requirements of the Actuaries’ Code.


Kate Angell is a senior non-life consultant in Watson Wyatt’s Insurance & Financial Services Practice. She chairs the Actuarial Profession’s General Insurance Communications Committee and is a member of the General Insurance Practice Executive Committee