Associateship and Fellowship of the IFoA are among the worlds most prestigious actuarial qualifications.
Professor Clifford Friend, director of education, gives an update on the IFoA education review
Associateship and Fellowship of the IFoA are among the world's most prestigious actuarial qualifications. They are held by members because of their international currency, enabling them to work in markets around the world.
Maintaining this pre-eminent status is therefore a key aspect of the IFoA's education strategy. The syllabus for each of the current Associate/Fellowship examinations is reviewed annually and, every decade or so, a wider review also takes place to ensure that they meet the evolving needs of the profession and the increasingly international character of the IFoA's membership.
Over the past two years, a strategic review group has been overseeing such an exercise, engaging directly with employers and drawing on the specialist expertise of volunteers, university partners and learners. A new draft curriculum and examination structure is now being developed and will be considered by the IFoA Council in June 2016. Following this, further consultation is planned during late 2016 to prepare for the new examinations in 2019.
A key area addressed by the review's working groups has been the need to demonstrate competency to actuarial regulators through the application of actuarial knowledge. The review has recommended a redistribution of subjects between modules to provide more coherent study programmes, and to introduce a small number of new areas of learning that will be critical to the future practice of actuarial science - such as data analytics.
The review has ensured that the proposed curriculum will not increase the burden of study, nor the number of examination hours. It has recommended renaming some examination subjects to reflect their content more accurately, and combining other subjects - such as investment and corporate finance - into single study areas.
It is also proposed that the work-based skills assessment will mimic the IFoA's continuing professional development scheme to prepare learners for their professional development post-qualification, and to move material that is specific to a particular jurisdiction into practice modules to meet the requirements of local regulators.
A complete overhaul of the assessment of communication skills is being undertaken to ensure this is truly fit for purpose.
Following stakeholder consultation and final drafting, a transition plan will be developed so that learners studying for the current examinations are not disadvantaged. The proposed new curriculum and examinations have received positive feedback from employers, and implementation will be handled carefully through close engagement with our learners.
Details of the proposed changes will be announced once Council has met in June.