Jenni Hughes provides an overview of the Certified Actuarial Analyst (CAA) qualification as it continues to attract global interest
On 21 May the IFoA opened registration for the first CAA exam session. It has been many years since the IFoA offered a new membership qualification and its aim is to provide an internationally recognised credential for professionals working alongside actuaries, and to extend actuarial knowledge to a broader reach of technical and analytical roles in the financial services industry.
As well as a level of technical expertise, the qualification develops wider skills such as communication and professionalism. It provides a level of assurance through ongoing professionalism and personal development requirements, within the regulatory framework and membership requirements of a globally respected professional body.
Within a month of launch, the IFoA had already seen interest from more than 30 countries, serving to confirm the global appeal of the CAA. You can see the breakdown by region in Table 1 below.
Who should consider the CAA?
Over the past few years there has been an increase in the number of analysts working in professional technical roles in financial services, and we recognise that the Fellowship qualification may not be relevant for all roles within the actuarial arena. It helps employers to broaden the scope of relevant qualifications that may be applicable to the wide range of roles that their employees perform worldwide.
The qualification would be suitable for school leavers: candidates with strong maths skills interested in starting their career and learning on the job without having to undertake a degree; degree-level candidates who have left university and are interested in actuarial work; those who already have a professional qualification and are looking to add an actuarial dimension to their current skillset; and current employees of an actuarial organisation - who perhaps are working in an analytical support role or who has started the Fellowship exams but feels their skills are better served by a more technical qualification.
Why would candidates take the CAA?
All kinds of people are interested in the CAA. They explain in their own words above why the CAA is of benefit to their work and careers.
What should I do if I want to complete the CAA?
Registration for the first exam session closes on 18 July. To help you prepare for the exam, you can access study material and tool kits such as the resource guide, syllabus and specimen exam paper for Module 0 on the IFoA website. External study support is also available.
After registering with the IFoA and paying for the exam, candidates will be given login details for the Pearson VUE website where they can book the venue, date and time of the Module 0 exam. The exam will be taken at one of Pearson VUE's test centres available in hundreds of locations around the world.
Jenni Hughes is careers marketing leader, IFoA. If you and/or your colleagues would like to arrange a meeting with the IFoA to hear more about the CAA and how it can benefit you or your business, email: [email protected]; or visit the website: www.actuaries.org.uk/becoming-actuary/caa
Grainne Burke was the first candidate to register for the CAA. She is based in Dublin, Ireland.
"I started working with AXA as a business support analyst in September 2013 and quickly found that I really enjoyed the work I was involved in. The next natural step forward for me was a professional qualification related to my position. When I researched the CAA, I realised this was a technical qualification that would be hugely beneficial and highly relevant to my role.
"Being a member of such a prestigious and recognised professional body with a global community means that my CAA qualification will be recognised worldwide. I will have gained a greater understanding of insurance and the calculations of premiums that need to be charged. The work-based skills part of the qualification will also assist me in improving my communication and professionalism skills.
"I believe this qualification will help me to move forwards with my career. The technical and communication skills I will gain will enable me to become a more successful analyst and will assist me in taking on a more senior analytical role. The communication and professionalism skills I think are necessary in order for me to progress into more managerial positions.
"The next step for me is to pass the Module 0 exam in August and then continue to complete the CAA qualification. After that I would like to take on more responsibility within my present role and eventually work towards progressing to a team-leader position."
Moses Chege works as a life and investment consultant at JW Seagon & Co Ltd in Kenya.
"I am proud to be associated with the IFoA and more so through the newly introduced CAA qualification. I am keen on qualifying as a CAA and much more so here in Kenya, where the market, though competitive, is growing to be a leader in Africa.
"I graduated in May 2013 with a BSc in Actuarial Science from Dedan Kimathi University of Technology. But before that, I had started working at JW Seagon & Co Ltd as an intern in the Life and Investments department. After a three-month internship I was confirmed as a full-time Life and Investment consultant.
"At first, I was involved in the day-to-day activities of the life department, but was soon allocated a group of clients on our international medical portfolio, as well as generating new business and updating our clients on the investments side on how their offshore investments are performing.
"This year, I wanted to pursue another professional course, but one with a blend of insurance, finance and investments. CAA was the first to come to mind. I decided to approach my employer with the proposal on whether I could be fully or partially sponsored and fortunately enough, I got the go ahead.
"Pursuing the CAA is an opportunity of a lifetime, and am thankful to my employer and most of all the IFoA for this new qualification. I think it will go a long way in ensuring people have the necessary skills to work in all spheres of actuarial, finance and risk management. I am excited to be an IFoA student and cannot wait to qualify as a CAA in the near future."
Tony Carter is a risk analyst and statistician and works for SLE Worldwide Australia in Sydney.
"I work for SLE Worldwide, a managing general underwriter that has grown to be Australia's largest independent, privately owned business of its kind. Our portfolios are now of a size where they would benefit from regular and detailed actuarial analysis.
"I already hold a Masters in biostatistics and previously researched in public health for over a decade, so I'm fairly comfortable with the mathematics, statistics and modelling required for the CAA course and the insurance industry in general.
"Nonetheless, the actuarial approach has traditionally dominated analytics in insurance. So as a relative newcomer to insurance, I see the CAA qualification as complementary to my skills, in that I'll have a solid grounding in the actuarial standards and methods specific to insurance.
"With a blend of statistics and knowledge gained via the CAA qualification, I'll have the skills to answer the questions that keep not only the chiefs but also the underwriters awake at night, and provide an evidence base to guide their strategic decisions.
"I was asked what my next steps were: as the old Buddhist saying goes: 'Before enlightenment, chop wood and carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood and carry water'."