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An Actuary is responsible for measuring and assessing financial uncertainty and risk for a range of insurance, pension, consultancy and investment firms.
An Actuary is responsible for using a range of mathematical, economic and financial formulas and models to assess financial uncertainty and risk posed by anything from business decisions, insurance policies and pensions to the possibility of natural disasters, freak occurences and other unexpected crises. The purpose of an Actuary's role is to raise confidence in a business's decisions and ward against poor decisions that could lead to financial uncertainty or difficulty. The position is usually held in insurance firms, consultancies, pension firms and investment organisations who might need help planning for the future.
Many of the demands of this role require would-be Actuaries to have first class problem solving skills, excellent numerical capabilities and a strong sense of business acumen. Backgrounds in Economics, Maths or Business would all contribute to an excellent career as an Actuary.
The average starting salary for a graduate Actuary is £25,582. This is a very respectable sum for graduates to start their careers earning and is competitive to similar jobs in Finance and Insurance like Brokerage and Chartered Accountancy.
However, the important thing to remember when considering the remuneration of an Actuary, and similar Finance and Insurance related roles, is that a graduates salary is expected to grow massively after their first few years, especially after they are professionally qualified. Actuaries are widely considered to be in short supply, so earnings once they are Certified are always increasing. It has been known for those at the top of the field to earn £250,000 a year.
The Daily Duties of an Actuary
The day to day duties of an Actuary vary, this is because much of the work conducted by Actuaries is project or client based. This means that each day is different as you work through the Actuarial process with clients. But here are just a few things graduate Actuaries can expect to be doing as part of this fantastic career:
- Analysing Data and Statistics - This is the life blood of an Actuary. Using as much data and statistics as possible to inform the possibilities of risk and threats to insurance policies, insurance products, pension plans or whatever area they specialise in.
- Applying Models and Formulas - These are the tools that allow Actuaries to reach their conclusions. A range of complicated and complex mathematical models allow Actuaries to decide and reach an informed conclusion on the risks posed and potential pitfalls by such things as business deals, acquisitions, insurance policies and other related Actuarial fields.
- Client work - As mentioned before, much of the work Actuaries undertake is client related so this could involve you working at a client's site, meeting with clients to discuss the decisions being made, handling mergers and acquisitions and many more issues that Actuaries are consulted on.
- Developing products - Actuaries often have the data to back up and formulate new products to account for a changing environment. This could be a new type of insurance for a new area of technology or helping pension firms manage an ageing population. Many businesses look to Actuaries to be precise as well as forward thinking when dealing with the changing world.
- Pricing Products - One of the key impacts that Actuaries can have on businesses and organisations is pricing products. Most used when they're working in Insurance firms, Actuaries are able to provide the statistical insight and data driven proof to advise on how products should be priced.
The life of an Actuary is a varied career path that can have a graduate turning their new Actuarial skills to a diverse collection of data, including anything from the mortality rates of patients with a particular heart condition to the likelihood of a hurricane striking the UK. Many of the duties of Actuaries will be decided by the area they are working in, whether this is general insurance, mergers and acquisitions or pensions.
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