The ac­tu­ar­ial ad­van­tage

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - EDUCATION GUIDE -

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.

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