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The Actuary The magazine of the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries

The actuarial ashes

1st test Which actuaries will be better-rounded individuals once qualified?
The UK exams were recently reworked to include:
– three core application exams (including modelling and the much-maligned communication exam) and
– a new two-day residential business awareness course within part I exams
The Australian exams incorporate a course on the actuarial control cycle. In addition a new six-day residential commercial actuarial practice course has been added to conclude the Aussie exams.
Result The Australian example looks like a fine training ground for future convention attendances, but the UK’s longstanding emphasis on communications combined with the residential course for newer students gets the nod. England goes onenil ahead.
2nd test Who currently has the tougher CPD requirements?
The minimum CPD requirement is 15 hours of formal CPD plus 52 hours of informal CPD each year.
The minimum CPD requirement is 20 hours of core CPD plus 50 hours of non-core CPD each year.
Result Neither side is giving an inch in this field. A hard-fought draw.
3rd test What are the plans for CPD going forward?
Coming out of the Morris review, the UK Professional Affairs Board agrees proposals for strengthening of CPD. Implementation and training are being driven by the Education and CPD Board.
The IAAust has released PS500 (discussion draft), a new standard for CPD requiring formal documentation of hours and verification of records. Effective date expected to be 1 January 2006.
Result Both teams post a strong first innings but rain intervenes to give both sides time to produce final CPD policy. A draw the only result possible in the time available.
4th test Who is doing more about peer review?A working party has been established by the Life Board to develop proposals for the introduction of peer review, including reviewing options available. However, any proposals may be after the new Professional Oversight Board has been established. The Pensions Board is further down the road of peer review with a recommended practice guidance note for scheme actuaries.
The Australian Institute has released an exposure draft on external peer review to members (PS505). This includes guidance on appointment, responsibilities, rotation, and reporting requirements. Effective date expected to be 1 January 2006.
Result The Aussies score first with the Poms slightly slower to get out of their crease. Australia wins a tight contest to level the series at one apiece.
5th test Finally, which has better convention locations?
2004 UK Life Convention in Edinburgh, Scotland
2005 Australian Biennial Convention in Cairns, Queensland
Result While all actuaries feel better with a tan, the cultural experience of a weekend in Scotland’s capital city is hard to beat. In a controversial umpire decision, the verdict goes to the old town (and pubs) of Edinburgh.
While it may not be a coincidence that the final score matches the result in this summer’s cricket series, it is clear that both bodies are investing considerable time and energy in improving the actuarial profession. While the details are obviously slightly different, the overriding principles seem to be the same.
For the record the author is a Scot, who has previously worked in both Sydney and Yorkshire. As such, he is in a relatively unbiased position and appreciates that, while referring to England and the Institute of Actuaries above, all UK developments are in complete conjunction with the Faculty of Actuaries.
Iain Bulcraig is a senior consultant working for PricewaterhouseCoopers in Edinburgh