Category Archives: Wider Fields

GAAPS Top Consultant Interviewed by Famous French Financial Newspaper

Mrs Sophie Sicard, one of our top consultants in the French market, was recently interviewed by L’Agefi, a famous business and financial newspaper, highly appreciated among citizens of the “Pays des Lumiѐres”.

Sophie explains the importance of actuarial skills, which have become more and more appreciated not only within assurance companies but also in Investment Banking.

Actuaries solve practical problems. Certainly, some of them are essentially connected to insurance. However, they are more and more requested in the resolution of problems related to finance, in particular in the trading rooms’ risk management. Especially with increasing complexity of financial products it is necessary to take into account a largest number of risks, in a very rigorous, coherent and transparent way.

A few years ago, the investment department would have been considered the best place to work. Lately, actuarial skills have become essential in risk management, as well as in financial engineering. In addition, with the introduction of Basel II, a huge range of new opportunities have come up.

But “Just having a sound set of technical skills is not enough” -said Sophie- “They also need to develop other types of soft skills. Communication skills, ability to liaise effectively at all levels and managing team are also very important “.  Being able to explain complex technical concepts to non-technical people in an easy to understand language is a crucial aspect to succeed in this profession.

If you would like to find out more about the original interview (in French), click on this link:  Full article. There is an approximate translation into English here.

Argonauts Dinner at Painters’ Hall

The first Argonauts Meeting of this year, with myself as chairman, was recently held at Painters’ Hall.

Painters' Hall

There were two speakers; the first, Andre Kerr, is an RAF pilot who is taking the actuarial exams as a hobby and he gave the most wonderful speech on ‘Supersonic Risk Management’. The highlight for me was when he told us about trying to get the Institute to approve his taking an exam whilst he was stationed in Afghanistan; knowing the enormous number of regulations regarding which calculator you can take into an exam, he was concerned about how they would react to the fact that he would need to keep his gun with him, in fact they provided no restrictions for him.

Our second speaker was Richard Cousins of PwC. He started his speech on ‘Working as a credit advisor’ by saying that Andrew was a hard act to follow, in this case this was a very true statement but he performed admirably.

After the dinner, more people stayed for longer for drinks than I have ever known at an Argonauts dinner before. All crowded around our guest speaker.

The next Argonauts meeting will be at Tallow Chandlers Hall and the final meeting of the year will be held at The Ivy. I’m only chair for a year but if it were up to me we would almost definitely use Painters Hall again next year.

For more information about joining The  Argonauts, contact Heath Mottram, the Honorary Secretary.

Actuaries Back On the Government’s Shortage Occupation List

The Government has just published a 243 page document providing a full review of the recommended shortage occupation lists for the UK and Scotland.

Chapter 7 gives The recommended UK shortage occupation list and Page 207 lists:

Qualified actuary working in the life assurance, general insurance, and health and care sectors, etc;

Please be aware that The Professions definition of Qualified Actuaries includes Associates as well as Fellows.

As you can see the listing is ambigous in the use of the word – “etc”.

Updates will be posted to The GAAPS Blog once matters are clarified.

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Joint Regional Seminar on Economic Capital

About 1000 actuaries and actuarial students are attending the Joint Regional Seminar on Economic Capital.

Yesterday I attended the Bangkok arm. It was lively, well organised, useful and interesting.

The president of the Society of Actuaries gave an introductory speech and it emerges that 25% of the American Society at Associate level and below reside in Asia. I also loved his definition of what differentiates actuaries from others. “When we provide a number. We give it a context that’s what makes us special”

One of the best speakers of the day was a Thai gentleman named Sutee who said “he wanted to be measured by how people felt after his presentation.” Well I for one felt stimulated to learn more about economic capital and that at last I truly understood all the jargon surrounding it.

The final presentation was by Mark Saunders It was by far the best presentation on presentation skills I have ever heard – and I’ve been to many.

Dr Kaye Announced as Chairman Designate of The Argonauts

Dr Geraldine Kaye was announced as the Chairman designate of The Argonauts at the most recent meeting at The Ivy.

The Argonauts is a dining club open to qualified actuaries practising in non-traditional areas (i.e. areas other than traditional life actuarial or pension actuarial work), such as finance, general insurance, investment management, pension scheme administration and risk management.

Brid Meaney was the actuarial speaker. She is an excellent speaker and spoke about Solvency II, providing insights that even Geraldine had not heard of before.

The non-actuarial guest speaker at the event was Robert Gardener. He gave a fascinating presentation in which he spoke about social networking and explained how it works. He also described how he had developed Mallow Street, a place for the pensions community to connect and share knowledge, into a social network with 1,700 members and one of the most influential voices in the pensions industry.

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