The actuarial advantage
ACTUARIAL Science has long been regarded as a rewarding career choice as it offers job stability and a good salary.
“While an actuarial career can be quite well remunerated and is one of the highest paid professions, don’t expect a six- figure annual salary from day one,” says Institute and Faculty of Actuaries ( IFoA) South- East Asia Actuary Representative Caryn Chua.
Simply put, an actuary deals with risk management. This includes calculating the possible risks that an organisation might face, and then devising solutions to avoid them.
There is a common assumption that actuaries only work in insurance companies, thus narrowing their job prospects.
“This isn’t the case, as in reality, actuaries work across general insurance, banking, healthcare, risk and employee benefits,” Chua said. “What’s more, actuarial skills can also be applied in the world of data science, computer coding and modelling. There is also an increasing number of actuaries in C- suite positions.”
The last decade has seen changes in the local regulations that have, in turn, impacted the role of actuaries.
“As risk- based capital regimes are being introduced in Malaysia, financial organisations need better risk- modelling capabilities in calculating capital requirements,” said Chua. The increase in risk awareness, such as cyber- attacks and catastrophe risk, has brought about the need to build more complex predictive models to assess risk.
As such, there is a growing demand for actuaries across the industry today.
In addition, as Malaysia heads towards achieving developed nation status come 2020, actuaries play an important role in moving the country forward.
“Developing nations, boosted by an increasing middle class and technology transformation, will continue to influence the future demand and innovation of financial products. This increases the need for actuaries to help solve problems, analyse and manage risk, as well as communicate effectively in today’s complex business world,” said Chua.
Heriot- Watt University Malaysia is the only university in Malaysia to receive accreditation by the IFoA.
What this means for students is that upon successful completion of the university’s three- year BSc ( Hons) Actuarial Science programme, graduates may be granted exemption recommendation for up to eight professional exams as they work towards becoming an Associate or Fellow of the IFoA. This, of course, would also depend on the modules taken and the grades obtained.
“The IFoA’s actuarial qualifications are highly regarded and internationally recognised. It is a passport which can take you anywhere in the world,” Chua said.
It is important that those considering a career in Actuarial Science understand what they are getting into.
“Do your research online, speak with people in the industry, participate in internships or visit the IFoA’s website to download our official guide,” said Chua.
“There are a number of paths to qualification, such as the Certified Actuarial Analyst ( CAA) for those working in the broader financial services sector or in wider roles within insurance such as IT or data analytics, through to Fellowship, which provides expert knowledge in a specialist field.”
For details on the university’s Actuarial Science programme, visit its campus in Putrajaya, log on to www. hw. edu. my, call 03- 8894 3888 or e- mail hwum@ hw. ac. uk. Alternatively, visit its Putrajaya campus in Precinct 5 during its open days on March 19 and 20. Chua will be speaking at the University’s Open Day on March 19. Also, visit www. actuaries. org. uk to find out more about the actuarial profession.
caryn chua ( left), actuary representative of south- East Asia at the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries ( IFoA), will be giving a talk at heriot- Watt university Malaysia during its Open day on March 19.