Institute and Faculty of Actuaries

Institute and Faculty of Actuaries

Institute and Faculty of Actuaries

What is the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries?

The Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (IFoA) is the UK's only chartered professional body dedicated to educating, developing and regulating actuaries based both in the UK and internationally.

What do actuaries do?

An actuarial career is ranked as one of the best in the world as it offers intellectual challenge, broad opportunities and great potential earnings.

As an actuary you will develop expertise in all aspects of risk, combining your knowledge of statistics, financial theory, economics and business to model the world and quantify potential risks. You may choose to work as a consultant where your communication skills and breadth of knowledge are highly valued, or as a technical expert applying your advanced mathematical capabilities.

It is a career that offers high levels of responsibility; in fact actuaries are behind many of the high level strategic decisions made by financial services companies and governments.

Find out more about an actuarial career.

There are actuarial opportunities across the UK and once qualified it is a career that can also take you abroad.

Find a list of actuarial employers offering jobs, work experience and internships here.

Entry Requirements

What will employers look for?

Most employers are looking for graduates with at least a 2.1 degree and excellent A-levels or equivalent.

  • Maths A-level (or equivalent) at grade B or higher
  • A degree at 2:1 or higher, in any numerate discipline (other disciplines may be considered)
  • Many employers also look for candidates who have a basic knowledge about the IFoA and the qualification route applicable to them
  • Employers will not expect students to have passed any of the IFoA exams on entry to the company. However, you can take the Certificate in Financial Mathematics (CT1) exam to gain an insight into the exams and to show an employer that you can take and pass the exams independently.

What will the IFoA look for?

The minimum requirements for admission as a student of the IFoA are

  • Maths A-level (or equivalent) at grade B
  • A second A-level (or equivalent) in any subject at grade C
  • English GCSE (or equivalent) at grade C
  • Two other GCSEs (or equivalent) in any subject at grade C

For holders of a second class honours degree or above in any subject, the maths A-level requirement is reduced to a grade C.

For holders of a third class honours or above in a mathematical or actuarial science degree, the maths A-level requirement is dropped.

What skills do I need?

Understanding how businesses operate, and how legislation may affect them, is vital. But what really set actuaries apart are their natural mathematical, economic and statistical awareness, and their ability to apply this to real situations in the financial world.

International Actuarial Careers Network (IACN)

The IACN is an global network of students who belong to an online community hosted on the IFoA’s website.

Students are able to join together to discuss industry topics, network with students and employers and find out firsthand what employers and the industry want from them.

It is an opportunity to join like minded people to raise your profile within the profession and amongst employers to help you gain relevant industry knowledge and help you in your job search.

What are the benefits to you?

  • Align yourself with the UK actuarial profession - IFoA
  • Gain access to employers
  • Find out industry knowledge
  • Network with like minded students
  • Get your questions answered by industry specialists
  • Attend career events
  • Newsletter and access to magazines.

To find out more visit the IACN web page

Case Studies

  • Name: Susan Rimmer
  • Role: Trainee Actuary
  • University: University of Glasgow
Introduction
Becoming an actuary is now one of the most lucrative and alluring professions for mathematical graduates. The attraction has even spread to those without mathematical backgrounds, including bio-medics, historians, linguists and many more. Nevertheless, it is also one of the most challenging graduate paths, with an average of 5 years of study and work experience until qualification, when the real benefits roll in. As an actuarial student of 1 year, I am yet to find out if it’s all worth it in the end!
What do INK Underwriting Agencies do?
INK is the MGA (Managing General Agent) entity of the Giles Insurance Brokers group. An MGA is a company who will write insurance on behalf of an Insurer. The Insurer provides the risk capacity, but the MGA will have specialist underwriters who price the insurance and take care of all expenses. The Insurer and the MGA must have a close knit relationship so that profitability is monitored effectively.
How did you get your job at INK?
I gained an internship at Giles Insurance Brokers through an internship with the Saltire Foundation, where my main role was to develop Giles’ understanding of the true risk profitability of the business they place as a broker. After my internship, I was approached by the CEO of Giles to join their developing MGA (INK) as an actuarial student, assisting the underwriters in pricing and profitability monitoring of their business. As the MGA is still very young, I am the only actuarial employee in the company at the moment.
What is a typical day like for you?
A typical day for me does not exist. Most of the work I do at the moment is project based while my role and the company mature, so my work changes on a day-to-day basis. To name but a few, I’ve been involved in analysing profit-share agreements, negotiations with Insurers on a certain book’s profitability and creating pricing structures for various products. My role is similar to that of an actuary in a General Insurance (GI) Insurer in some ways, although I feel that I’ve gained a stronger commercial understanding from the alternative ‘broking’ perspective that my role takes.
Luckily having good analytical skills (and a proficiency in Excel!) means that the rest of my time is taken up with non-actuarial, yet high-profile projects that are key to the development of the group as a whole. This gives me a bit of variation in my role and excellent exposure, which I love, but it still keeps my analytical juices flowing!
Do you have any advice for anyone wanting to get into the industry?
If I were to give any aspiring actuaries advice, I’d say to get some experience before you commit.
Actuarial work can seem very appealing; it utilises a lot of material seen in university, it pays well and the work can even be enjoyable! Although you need to make sure that it’s right for you. The first few years until you qualify are tough, especially if you move to the exciting city of London like I did! This is because work/life balance can be difficult to manage and it is essential that you are engaged with the work you are doing.
The area that you specialise in is also very important to think about; Pensions, Life Insurance, General Insurance pricing, reserving or Solvency II, Enterprise Risk Management and many more. Even though the underlying skills are transferable, the day to day jobs are very different.
Once you’ve had a bit of a taster, you’ll be in a much better position to decide if you want to begin the journey towards becoming an actuary.

Training & Profiles

Training: Passing the profession’s exams is the first step to becoming an actuary, coupled with at least 3 years practical experience. The majority of our students apply to a graduate trainee scheme with a firm who will support you, meet the costs associated with your exams and study, provide you with study leave and also give you the practical experience you need in order to qualify.

For more information please see the following qualification information

A list of companies that have indicated that they accept internship students or have trainee graduate positions is available in the ‘Directory of Actuarial Employers’, which will be available at the careers fair.

You will find further information about these vacancies and the work of an actuary on the IFoA’s website

Application Procedure

All applications will be dealt with by the employer – see the Directory of Actuarial Employers.

International Actuarial Careers Network (IACN)

The IACN is a global network of students who belong to an online community hosted on the IFoA’s website.

Students are able to join together to discuss industry topics, network with students and employers and find out firsthand what employers and the industry want from them.

It is an opportunity to join like minded people to raise your profile within the profession and amongst employers to help you gain relevant industry knowledge and help you in your job search.

What are the benefits to you?

  • Align yourself with the UK actuarial profession - IFoA
  • Gain access to employers
  • Find out industry knowledge
  • Network with like minded students
  • Get your questions answered by industry specialists
  • Attend career events
  • Newsletter and access to magazines.

To find out more visit the IACN web page.