Adhnan was born and grew up in Edinburgh. He currently works for Ernst & Young in the general insurance sector specialising in reserving, capital modelling and Solvency II. He describes himself as sporty, enjoying climbing, and more recently scuba diving with friends. He is a member of the IF0A.
Which actuarial fields are the most popular in the UK and why?
The general insurance industry has grown rapidly in recent times and there are many areas still developing. This has led to more opportunities for actuarial involvement. On the other hand the pensions industry has been in decline as defined benefit schemes are being phased out in favour of defined contribution schemes. The life insurance industry is well-established and fairly stable.
Can you tell us a bit about the industry that you work in?
I have primarily worked on projects with London Market companies. The London Market is one of the oldest insurance markets in the world and specialises in writing insurance for large and unique risks, such as major property developments and sea vessels.
What led you to choose to study for an actuarial qualification with the IFoA?
After studying maths at university I wanted to continue to use the analytical skills I had developed. Actuarial work seemed like a natural choice.
Which of the actuarial exams do you consider the most difficult and why?
I think CA1 (Actuarial Risk Management) is one of the more difficult exams, mainly because there is a very wide range of topics that you could be tested on.
In how many years do you expect to qualify?
Hopefully I will qualify this summer, making it about three years.
What kind of support do students get in your company, and in the market in general?
We can take a day off from work each week between the exam sittings. We also get the cost of all our study material and exam registration covered. This is fairly standard across the market, with some variations within companies.
Is there an actuarial student society in your area, and what kind of activities does it organise?
Yes in the UK we have the Staple Inn Acturial Society (SIAS). It organises events such as talks on important industry developments, and social activities such as football, poker, and boat parties.
What would you say are the 'hot' topics in your industry?
There are a number of such topics at the moment, including the implementation of Solvency II and how to treat customers fairly.
What's the reputation of actuaries in your country?
The profession is highly regarded. Although many people still don't know exactly what an actuary does!
What are your views on the role of an actuary, now and in the future?
Actuaries are required to evaluate the past in order to understand potential outcomes in the future, whether in regard to legislative changes or to assist insurers to better understand and use the information they have on their policyholders. There will also be a need for them in an increasingly broader context.
In the UK the skill set of an actuary is being recognised across many disciplines. Do you agree?
Yes. Insurers have a wealth of information that is not used to its full potential. Actuaries can help in the field of analytics, to identify trends and provide insight into an insurer's data. In banking, for example, regulatory changes mean that more detailed analysis is required on the way risk is assessed and managed.
How would you describe a typical day at work?
I work in a consultancy so each day varies.
I prioritise my day as I might be working on a number of projects at once. I also attend meetings to talk about non-client based work, such as research and development.
What were the influences that shaped your career decisions to date?
An interest to learn and be stretched in order to develop new skills. Right now I am in an environment that encourages this.
Could you tell us about your immediate and longer term goals?
My immediate goals are to finish my exams. In the long term I would like to specialise in a particular area, which I haven't decided on yet!
How will you celebrate the day you qualify?
Probably something that I will regret later.
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