I was surprised by the contents of Rizwan Majeed Khan's letter (The Actuary, April 2014). The key skills that actuaries bring to business are not mathematics but how to use mathematics to solve very practical problems. The ultimate role for an actuary is to be sitting in some board or trustee meeting, explaining to non-executives why the maths is saying "do this" or "don't do this". This is what the later exams teach. I am also surprised that Mr Khan thinks the answers are "lengthy essays". They are not - they are the key points that a good actuary would make in a particular circumstance. What investigations are required, why there may be problems and where you may find data and what to do with it. Hardly lengthy essays. The later exams also test communication and the ability to empathise with the person to whom the actuary is giving advice - these are all essential skills for an actuary
We already have a reputation as a set of nerds who find it difficult to answer a question in a way that makes sense. We do not want to become more like that.
Steve Dixon, 4 April
The editor welcomes readers' letters but reserves the right to edit them for publication. Please email [email protected]. The deadline for receiving letters for the June issue is 19 May 2014.