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The Actuary The magazine of the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries

Working overseas: Focus - Asia

Asia offers a wealth of opportunities for actuaries looking for a move abroad. The Asian insurance markets have bounced back, post-global recession, which has meant that demand for permanent actuarial specialists far outstrips supply.

Solvency II is adding to this rapid growth in a more subtle way, with European life companies that have a presence in Asia needing to ensure that their Asia business is compliant well in advance of the looming Solvency II deadlines. While many of these companies have made a lot of headway building specialist Solvency II teams in Europe, the lack of established ICA/QIS5 expertise in Asia makes the need more acute.

In Europe the Solvency II boom began with a need for valuations and modelling specialists, and Asia is following suit. Current life insurance skill sets in high demand include ICA, RBC, EEV, MCEV, IFRS, financial reporting and economic capital. Modelling skills, too, are at a premium — Prophet is particularly sought-after, while ALS and ESG skills are also desirable.

Much of the demand is centred on Hong Kong, where many life companies base their regional headquarters. This makes it a focal point for both life companies and consultancies. Ideal candidates for these positions in Asia will have past Solvency II-related actuarial experience in Europe. As many of these life companies have their head offices in Europe, English is often the only required language.

The non-life market is a niche market within Asia but is set to expand aggressively. European companies in the region that have head offices in London are well equipped to adjust to Solvency II, as they can call on their overseas counterparts. Naturally, the need for this expertise in non-life spans across companies, consultancies and reinsurers.

Many European actuaries are now capitalising on this shortage in Asia, with high salaries and anxious insurers making for a good combination. Longer term, individuals that aid companies in their Solvency II projects will be crucial to that company’s future growth. They will know the internal models and reporting standards that future plans will be built on, making them integral to success and highly prized.

Luke Hawkins is a senior consultant at Darwin Rhodes, Asia


Further reading: Working Overseas

This special supplement looks at career opportunities for actuaries around the world, and how to plan for a move abroad

Emmanuel Kenning - Global trends and opportunities
Trevor Watkins - Actuarial qualifications
Hannah Kaye - Actuarial skills travel well
Andrew Smith - Lecturing in Armenia and Albania

Region focus
Mark Dainty - United Kingdom
Jan Sparks - Europe
Wilhelm de Wet - South Africa
Luke Hawkins - Asia

Case studies
Switzerland - Alex Summers
Spain - Carl Haughton
South Africa - Bjorn Landewig
South Africa - Ashlin Noonan
Nigeria - Alexandre Aquereburu
Hong Kong - Paul Murray
Hong Kong - Mark Stamper
Indonesia - Chris Lossin
Bermuda - Amy Guna
Australia - Matt Noyce
Australia - Ashley Palmer