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The Actuary The magazine of the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries
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Careers

  • p26-27-Independant-Review-iStock-860825280 An independent validation of IMAPIn the second of their articles on improving Internal Model Approval Process (IMAP), Ashish Kwatra and Jennifer Khaleghy explain the implementation of successful IMAP programmes, focusing on independent validation, a key area for the regulator 10 May 2018
  • Anthony Painter Retiring retirementAnthony Painter talks to David Boland about universal basic income and how, given a sense of freedom and security, people can take decisions that are right for their lives 12 April 2018
  • p20-21-Lawyer-promoting-business-iStock-454379811 Defining your dutyImran Benson looks at the risks of professional negligence liability for actuaries 12 April 2018
  • p28-29-Solvency-iStock-830763576 Improving approvalJennifer Khaleghy and Ashish Kwatra give four lessons to improve your IMPAP for internal model approval 12 April 2018
  • p32-33-Meeting-in-Watercolour--Istock--855195688 The art of quantum negotiationKaren Walch, Stephan Mardyks and Joerg Schmitz describe predictive intelligence and the art of quantum negotiation 12 April 2018
  • David Braun David Braun interview: Risk and rewardDavid Braun, managing director and fixed income investment manager at PIMCO, is an actuary with a strong background in insurance and risk, experience which he says is invaluable when running investment portfolios for insurance companies. 08 March 2018
  • Sarah Winkless MBE © Peter Searle Sticky floors & glass ceilingsSarah Winckless talks with Stephen Hyams about Project AMP, the newly launched mentoring programme for aspiring female actuaries which helps to support their career paths 08 February 2018
  • Charles Cowling & Marjorie Ngwenya A proposal for the futureCharles Cowling, chair of the Qualification Task and Finish Group, explains the Chartered Actuary proposal, and Marjorie Ngwenya, president of the IFoA, answers your frequently asked questions 08 February 2018
  • Hitting-the-target-iStock-685774920 Communication: how to hit the targetSamir Parikh explains the strategic thinking behind an effective business presentation 07 December 2017
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What does an actuary do?

Actuaries apply financial and statistical theories to solve real business problems. In effect, they use their skills in maths and statistics to create theoretical models of the world around them.

A typical business problem might involve analysing future financial events, especially when the amount or timing of a payment is uncertain. But it could also involve understanding something like the weather: assessing when and where devastating storms may hit can help predict risks, and their associated costs, for investments or insurance. So a lot of the work an actuary does might be thought of as risk management.

The skills you need
Understanding how businesses operate, and how legislation may affect them, is vital. But what really sets actuaries apart is their natural mathematical, economic and statistical awareness, and their ability to apply this to real situations in the financial world. The ability to communicate these difficult topics to non-specialists is also very important.

Main industry sectors
Actuaries' skills are in great demand throughout the financial sector, particularly in investment, insurance and pensions. Actuaries are also increasingly employed in risk management for large companies. However, actuarial consultancies are probably the biggest employers of actuaries in the UK.

Consultancies - offering advice on issues such as acquisitions, mergers and financing capital projects, and also on occupational pension schemes. 

Investment - involved in research and on the pricing and management of investments, particularly in mitigating risk, and often using their understanding of insurance or pension liabilities to manage the corresponding assets.

Insurance - providing a service to companies that need a huge range of numerical information investigated, analysed and explained; for example to create and price polices, or to ensure they have the money to cover claims.

Pensions - designing and advising on company pension schemes, especially placing a value on accumulated pension commitments.