Category Archives: Articles

Invite to discussion on dimension reduction techniques and forecasting interest rates

A free talk for actuarials on the methods used when forecasting interest rates will take place at Staple Inn, London on Tuesday 17 July 2012 at 18:00. The talk will help to broaden understanding on the following topics by,

· providing an overview of the methods available and their possible uses.

· Highlight the importance of the many assumptions and choices to be made by the modeller

 · Discuss how a business’s assets and liabilities should be considered when constructing an interest rate model

 · Place such issues in the context of a Solvency II internal model, touching on issues relating to curve fitting and tail behaviour.

 Guests are invited to turn up on the night and are invited to enjoy a free drink at buffet at a nearby pub after the talk. Please contact 0207 632 1498 for more information.

ACTed tutorials sessions

One of our newest employees, Dami Ogunjimi gives us an insight into the ACTed tutorials sessions.

On Geraldine’s advice I opted for three full day regular tutorial’s spread out over a 2 month period, along with a block two full day tutorials to help me with my two exams. The tutorials proved intensive but informative beyond what I could read from notes alone.

The tutorial consisted of the lecturer explaining further what we read from our course notes, and going through past paper questions, to put our learning into practice. Giving us the chance to identify our weaknesses and work on them with the aid of the lecturer and our peers.

During the day it crossed my mind that I would have never worked out how to solve some of the problems without help. This alone proved the tutorials were worth both the money and time invested. Towards the end of our sessions, we were given useful hints and tips on revision techniques and how to deal with the exam on the day.

Along with enhancing our actuarial studies, the tutorials proved to be a great way to meet other students and expand our network. Not only did this result in some of us establishing ‘study buddies’, but we gained friends who are we are likely to know throughout our working lives

In my opinion, ACTed have hit the nail on the head with these tutorials. Excellent teaching methods provided by the lecturers, coupled with a relaxed environment ensure you get the most out of the sessions, without it being a tedious experience. I personally would encourage other students to attend if able to do so.


GAAPS Australia’s Executive Director in The Actuary Magazine!

Good Morning everyone and first of all Happy 2012 to each one of you!!

Here at GAAPS we kicked off the New Year with a lot of enthusiasm… one of the many reasons being because our Australian branch Executive Director, Mr Tony Snoyman, got an entire page in the Actuary magazine!

I guess you’ve always wondered who are the faces behind the GAAPS brand and who are the people working at GAAPS desks…
Well, here you have the chance to find out more about our fantastic team!

Read the article

Soapbox: In praise of pioneers

Dr Geraldine Kaye interviewed by the famous magazine The Actuary investigates ways to encourage members of the actuarial profession to advance into new areas where actuaries can put their skills to use.

In time, a wheel turns full circle. In the first few volumes of the actuarial journal dating back to 1851 are papers relating to fire and other forms of general insurance. Yet, just around 15 years ago, when I started conducting general insurance salary surveys, there were only approximately 100 general insurance actuaries and general insurance was at that time being hailed as the new area for actuaries to explore.

When I first became an actuary, my dream was to become the first female stockbroker. It’s just as well that I didn’t, as the first lady stockbroker was ‘drummed out’. Back then, there were many actuaries in the investment field sliding up and down the yield curves. Now, there appears to be a relatively small number of investment actuaries in relation to the total number of actuaries that now exist. Why has this departure from such a lucrative field occurred? Dare I say that the Profession has not made it easy for them to remain within its folds?

I joined the Argonauts Dining Club about 25 years ago and I am proud to have been elected as chairperson of the club this year. The Argonauts is a dining club for actuaries working in the non-traditional fields or in non-standard occupations such as investment. Its remit has recently been widened to include general insurance actuaries as there were no specific dining clubs to cater for them. When I joined, I was an academic actuary and there were only a few academic actuaries — now there are many.

But why are actuaries turning away from the profession either by lapsing their membership or just denying or converting their membership to Affiliate status? I am particularly aware of this trend as chairperson of Argonauts, because it directly affects my members.

Most of these could be a case of ‘what’s in it for me?’ syndrome and, even worse, for some there are actually advantages in lapsing. Now that Type 3 membership of the Institute has been abolished, wider-fields actuaries must attend professionalism courses run by the Profession. As mentioned on the People/Society pages in the October 2011 edition of The Actuary on Argonauts: actuaries journeying though uncharted waters, the current CPD costs and bureaucracy are forcing experienced wider-field actuaries out of the profession.

Nobody argues that CPD is not a good thing but it must be relevant and appropriate. Many actuaries in the wider fields must not only pay their own professional subscriptions, but also fees for attendance at courses. However, money is only a small part of it. There is also the dismay that comes from having to take time out of their precious holiday allowance for attendance.

There seems to me to be few advantages in remaining a full member of the Profession rather than the cheaper version of an affiliate unless one is a ‘signing’ actuary or relishes in kudos the membership this exclusive club provides.

Why have I gone into such detail about this? For a start, new fields are trodden by pioneers. An HR director I once dealt with likened employing actuaries to addiction: “They are addictive — if you have one, you want more”. If they don’t have one (or worse, have one but don’t know it), then it might well be safe to say that they wouldn’t want more. To drive actuarial careers into new fields, we must encourage vision within our membership and keep them in the fold, not drive them out.

When I set up GAAPS Actuarial, a recruitment company dedicated to actuaries over 20 years ago, there were only a few actuaries as recruiters. At that time, many questioned my departure from the actuarial profession — I persevered and responded that I had not stopped being an actuary, I was merely utilising my skills in a new field. “Every change is chancy” goes the old Yemenite proverb, and chance was what I took in my change of profession. Now more and more actuaries have come forth in the recruitment industry — it has even become an acceptable profession for an actuary.

Challenging as it is for actuarial careers to advance into new areas, we must encourage pioneers by making it both effortless and simple to remain within the folds of the profession. New fields grow out of the work of these pioneers, and much less so from artificial lobbying and seeding by the Profession itself.

We must support our actuarial pioneers and their enterprises and must not forget to also refer to our history when searching out new avenues of endeavour.

(24 Nov 2011 by , Dr Geraldine Kaye)


 Read the original article

Over a quarter of a million pounds raised in memory of Louise Wolffe

Last Saturday I attended the 10th  anniversary of the Louise Gergel (nee Wolffe) Foundation. The Foundation was set up by her family after her untimely death from Hughes Syndrome also know as “sticky blood”. The purpose of the foundation is to facilitate research and disseminate information about this little known disease which is far more prevalent and causes many secondary problems for which it is not recognised as the cause.

As the first GAAPS employee, she was instrumental in helping me set GAAPS on its successful path.

The aim of this foundation is to raise public awareness of the disease and to help finance research into Hughes Syndrome at St Thomas’ Hospital in London. They have already raised over one quarter million pounds since they started and I wish them all the possible success for this noble cause.

If you consider contributing into this mission, you can visit

Dr. Geraldine Kaye

Letter of the Month: Women in the Profession

The following letter by Dr Geraldine Kaye, MD of GAAPS was published as Letter of the Month in this month’s issue of The Actuary Magazine

Women in the Profession
In response to your invitation for feedback on the introduction of the page dedicated to the profession’s female actuaries, I write as one of the first ever female actuaries to qualify in the UK — I was within the first 20. Times have moved on, or so I had thought.

Reading The Actuary magazine and coming across a special page for women in our professional magazine seems demeaning. Non-professional issues are, in my opinion, dealt with perfectly adequately elsewhere. On a professional level, there are no differences between men and women in the actuarial profession. We have taken and passed the same exams.

A page dedicated to female actuaries seems not only superfluous, given today’s heavily legislated business conduct stipulated against gender bias, but comes across as patronising towards achievements from both genders. Surely what is achieved by both male and female actuaries are celebrated on the same page. No doubt, with careful forethought, a note that has been included to encompass male interest, seems to contradict the point of a page dedicated to women in the first place?

This may be a ‘call to action’ page for women to participate in the opportunities increasingly available to them worldwide, but surely a way to address issues and celebrate women in the actuarial profession should not be narrowed down in drawing a deliberate line to differentiate gender achievements in the actuarial industry when we are trying to achieve equality?
G. Kaye
8 September 2011

Editor’s comment:
Helen Crofts’ suggestion to have a women’s page in the magazine was widely debated and 
I sought the views of the editorial advisory panel and other actuaries — male and female. There was no consensus view. The aim of the page was to have a home for resources related to women in business. In the spirit of sharing information that was indicated to be of interest to at least some of the readership, across the gender spectrum, I suggested a trial page with the aim of gauging feedback from readers. I have since received mixed feedback, from males and females alike, and I thank you for taking the time to write in.

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Working Overseas: Making Your Points

In this month’s Actuary Magazine Tim McMahon outlines the new requirements for actuaries wanting to work in the UK and provides a summary of the UK governemnt’s points based immigration system.

The requirements for the Tier 1 (General) visa (previously known as the Highly Skilled Migrant Programme) were changed in April 2010 to permit applicants with only a Bachelor’s degree to apply but requires higher previous earnings.

The trade-off between lowering the minimum educational requirement to a Bachelor’s degree, while increasing the earnings requirement, has benefited actuarial applicants. This in turn helps employers as the Tier 1 visa does not require the employer to sponsor the overseas employee or to apply for a work permit. The Tier 1 visa readily permits the holder to work in the UK and to switch employer as they wish.

Dr Geraldine Kaye, managing director of GAAPS Actuarial, says:

“We are delighted about these welcome changes to the points-based system, and these will allow UK employers to continue to tap into the international market for the right skills / experience.”

Read the full article

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