Yvette is from Malaysian Borneo and now working as an actuarial executive in Kuala Lumpur. Her hobbies include listening to jazz and reggae. Her favourite activity on the weekend is exploring the city, and enjoying the many relaxing beaches and islands that Malaysia has. She is a member of the IFoA.
Which actuarial fields are the most popular in Malaysia and why?
Pricing and valuation within conventional life insurance business are most popular in Malaysia due to a long history and sufficient experience in this field.
Can you tell us a bit about the industry or market that you work in?
I specialise in valuation reserving and reporting.
I am currently working in the life sector within the Takaful business function.Takaful is an Islamic version of insurance which provides cover to Muslims in conformity with Islamic principles.
The concept in Takaful is to share responsibility and mutual assistance. Premiums received from policyholders are divided into
two portions, one for investment and the other for Tabarru'.
Tabarru' is a donation to help policyholders who fulfil the required conditions to receive assistance such as in the case of death or eligibility.
What led you to choose to study for an actuarial qualification with the IFoA?
I had studied other actuarial courses in the UK, therefore it was a natural choice to study for an actuarial qualification with the IFoA.
Which of the actuarial exams do you consider the most difficult and why?
I found CT4 (Models) the most difficult of all the exams I have attempted. There are a few 'scenario' questions which were never my favourite as they take time to envisage and answer.
In how many years do you expect to qualify?
I am hopeful that I can finish all the exams in the next four years.
What kind of support do students get in your company and the market in general?
In Malaysia, most companies will offer study leave and exam fees.
Is there an actuarial student society in your area and what kind of activities does it organise?
Yes. The Malaysia Actuarial Society organises events such as seminars, badminton tournaments, discussions and training.
What would you say are the 'hot' topics in your industry?
The Risk-Based Capital framework.
What's the reputation of actuaries in your country?
Qualified actuaries have a very strong reputation as Malaysia is in short supply of experienced actuaries.
What are your views on the role of an actuary, now and in the future?
Most of the qualified actuaries in Malaysia are attached to a life insurance company. With the introduction of risk-based capital models, it has become mandatory for all insurance companies to employ qualified actuaries to undertake certain tasks.
The change in regulations has boosted the demand for actuaries with the right skills to handle technical assessment and enhance risk management practices.
In future the actuarial market in Malaysia will not just involve traditional functions, but also gradually move towards other sectors such as general insurance, insurance under Islamic regulations (Takaful), risk, pensions, healthcare and so on.
Is the skill set of an actuary becoming recognised across many other disciplines, in the Malaysian market?
The skill set of actuaries remains recognised in the insurance sectors. However, with the risk-based capital coming into effect, the demand for skill, in risk management is increasing.
How would you describe a typical day at work?
The valuation department was established as I joined. Therefore, many projects were set-up from scratch. My typical day is very challenging and involves many meetings with external consultants to fine-tune the projects.
Could you tell us about your immediate and longer term goals?
My immediate goal is to pass the exams and try different types of projects. My longer term goal is to work overseas and gain international experience.
What do you say when asked, "What is an actuary?"
We are helping economic growth and we work smart.
How will you celebrate the day you qualify?
I will take three months off to travel.