The Institute and Faculty of Actuaries in the UK has been engaged in a series of consultations during 2018 in respect of the role of Chartered Actuary (CAct). These consultations continue with the last one in London just a few weeks ago. The Chartered Actuary concept has been positioned to encourage a wider group of individuals to enter the actuarial profession. It was also positioned as a way of giving the actuarial profession a more recognisable standard outside of the actuarial industry. The new role gives the Institute a tool to market the actuarial profession in a recognisable way to a wider choice of industry outside of the insurance and banking worlds.
All good reasoning, and a route that has been followed by other professions: it does however prompt one very practical question – is there a risk of devaluing the existing market-recognised qualification?
It is true that roles for actuaries are changing. The actuarial resource requirements are increasingly emphasising the need for strong IT skills at all levels as well as good communication skills and all-round soft skills. Slowly but surely technical automation is replacing some elements of more traditional actuarial work. Actuaries need to be able to interpret technical results and interpret these in a way that is understandable by colleagues and clients at all levels. Actuaries also need to develop appropriate business judgement skills and clearly and constructively communicate recommendations and explain risks. So yes, all in all the traditional training and outlook of an actuary needs to change with the times and as actuarial recruiters at Raretec we agree that this is all necessary.
In summary the Institute’s main reasons for proposing the new qualification level included:
- A need to attract a wider pool of individuals to the industry
- A recognised standard of qualification to enable actuaries to venture into non-traditional industries
- A recognised standard to enable industries who may not have hired actuaries in the past to compare like with like to other professions within their industries
- A way of potentially expanding the curriculum to allow for changes in technologies and skills requirements for both traditional and non-traditional actuarial roles.
We all appreciate that the term chartered professional is a means of recognising that an individual has reached a professional level of skill or competence in a field of work. We all recognise the term “Chartered Engineer” or “Chartered Architect” as a badge of qualification so in theory why not have a Chartered Actuary. All good in theory until you look under the bonnet and realise that the new look CAct qualification is the rebranding of the actuarial associate qualification.
With many years’ recruitment experience, across diverse industries and having worked with HR professionals in all of that time, I believe that having this qualification will potentially downgrade the value of the Fellow qualification. Perception becomes reality and the only people that are likely to benefit from introducing the term Chartered Actuary are those individuals who for whatever reason have decided not to complete the full suite of exams. We also believe that there will be a lot of confusion within HR departments if the term Chartered Actuary is introduced and it could also affect the salary levels that the industry is willing pay for non PCF roles.
It may be possible to achieve the goals of the Profession in different ways, by engaging senior professionals in working with universities to engage with a broader spectrum of students, or by the development of industry or methodology specific sub-qualifications as a way of dealing with sector or technology requirements. In my view, however, the interests of the whole are best served by protecting the primacy of the Actuarial Associate and Fellow status and clearly differentiating and variants from that in the marketplace.
We await the outcome of the decision from the Profession with interest.
If you have any opinion on the new Chartered Actuary status, we would be really interested to hear your thoughts! Do you think it will affect your role? Please share any thoughts you have with me at firstname.lastname@example.org – naturally this is completely confidential and I look forward to hearing your comments.
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