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The Actuary The magazine of the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries
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Q&A: Chi Chung Cheng (Hong Kong)


02 JULY 2015 | BY CHI CHUNG CHENG


Chi Chung Cheng


I was born and raised here in Hong Kong, and am studying and working for AIA Hong Kong, specialising in life insurance.

To balance my life against all the actuarial work, I like to do things which do not require too much thinking in my leisure time. I seldom read books, and instead, I like to travel and play sports at the weekends.


Why did you decide to study and work in this specific field?

Your career path can be very narrow if you are not studying life in Hong Kong.


Which actuarial society are you a member of?

The Society of Actuaries.


Which actuarial fields are most dominant in Hong Kong and why?

Life insurance is most dominant because only a few types of insurance currently exist in the market. General insurance and mandatory provident funds are quite standard and mature so there is not much scope for an actuary. Also, there is no standard pensions scheme in Hong Kong as the government has no plans to support universal retirement protection.


Tell us a bit about the market you work and study in?

I am currently working in vitality, which is the idea of promoting healthy lifestyles and providing attractive benefits for boosting the sales of other insurance products. 

I know vitality has existed in the UK for years, but it is new to Hong Kong, and new to many Asian countries.


What kind of support do students get in your company?

It depends on the company policy, as support can differ from one company to another. Most of them will provide study leave and exam fee refunds for actuarial employees. There may also be a salary increment scheme once an exam is passed, but there is no standard incremental rate set by the market for this.


What do you believe are the social and economic drivers for actuarial work in Hong Kong?

I think actuarial work would be driven by pension issues in the foreseeable future. 

The proposal of launching universal retirement protection has been raised a couple of times; the only obstacle now is disapproval from the government. 


What’s the reputation of actuaries and the profession in your country? How does the professional body try to enhance their image?

Actuaries in Hong Kong have a very good reputation. However, when it comes to asking someone from a non-actuarial background, they generally do not know what the job role of an actuary is.


What are your views on the role of an actuary in the market you work in, now and in the future?

New types of insurance products have been introduced in recent years, which has led to actuaries specialising in other areas rather than just life insurance. 

Non-insurance companies will also probably start hiring actuaries to invent and modify their products in the near future.


In the UK, the skill set of an actuary is being recognised across many non-traditional disciplines, is this also true of Hong Kong? 

Actuaries mainly work in insurance companies. I would expect the role of an actuary to become broader and become recognised in other industries in the near future. 

Some actuaries will work in the fields of risk management and investment banking, but they are in a minority, and skill set of an actuary would not be a key consideration for companies in these sectors.


What were the influences that shaped your career decisions to date?

I love solving problems and turning complicated ideas into simple practices.


Could you tell us about your immediate and longer term goals?

The first goal for me is to qualify as an actuary as soon as possible. After that, I would like to see what else I can do by applying the actuarial skill set in other industries.


What do you say when asked: “What is an actuary”?

An actuary explains, interprets and applies complex ideas into practice.


How will you celebrate the day you qualify?

Take a long trip.