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

  • Diversity event - @Tom Campbell Embracing inclusivityAngela Darlington, Suki Sandhu, Michael Hastings,and Chika Aghadiuno speak to Richard Purcell and Chris Seekings about diversity, inclusivity and ways we can all drive change in our workplaces 13 April 2017
  • p20-21Group-Risk--Paper-machett-of-Family-in-dome--Superstock--1815R-12575237 copy Group risk masterclassKatharine Moxham highlights the opportunities and challenges for the group risk protection market and five recent changes that will affect employers 13 April 2017
  • General Insurance image Redefining the modern actuaryDavid Hare describes how communication is becoming increasingly important in the actuarial profession 09 March 2017
  • Vicky Ford Vicky Ford: Political OperatorVicky Ford, Conservative MEP for East of England, talks to Garry Smith about Brexit negotiations and the need for continued regulatory collaboration 09 March 2017
  • Banking on building in Brexit Britain Banking on building in Brexit BritainFrancisco Sebastian explains the possible impact of Brexit on infrastructure investment in the UK 01 December 2016
  • Andrew Brem The digital revolutionaryAndrew Brem, chief digital officer of Aviva, talks with Richard Purcell and Stephen Hyams about the challenges of digital transformation to create a better customer experience 01 December 2016
  • Cover-Hour-Glass_02 Diffusing the demographic time bombDr Chris Ball looks at how an ageing population can be supported to work longer to encourage the benefits of extending employment lives 03 November 2016
  • p24-Systems-Thinking--Tree-headshaped-jigsaw-root-illustration--Istock--505649964 Systems thinking at Staple InnNico Aspinall introduces 'systems thinking' and explains why it is important to increase its use in actuarial work 03 November 2016
  • p14-16-In-conversation-Watercolour-abstract Driving diversityHelen Crofts and Chika Aghadiuno, the outgoing and incoming chairs of the IFoA's Diversity Advisory Group (DAG) talk to Richard Purcell and Memoria Lewis about how they hope to drive greater diversity in the profession, and discuss some of the challenges and achievements to date 06 October 2016
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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.