The path to becoming an actuary involves going through a well-structured education plan. This involves university-level education and post-university examinations, as well as other requirements. Typical questions always raised by school leavers interested in actuarial science are: 1) what is the next step, and 2) what’s with the different societies/institutes? Currently, in ASM, we have many actuarial graduates in the midst of examinations from the major professional bodies stated below. Apart from passing the examinations, there are also practical experience requirements and residential courses to be attended. These ensure that actuaries are not only technically capable, but are also aware of other professional requirement such as Code of Conduct and ethical workplace behaviour. We hope the short description here would help school leavers to understand more of the different options they have. The road to being a qualified actuary is long, but incredibly rewarding!

In Malaysia, most actuaries are from one of the following actuarial bodies:

Society of Actuaries (SOA) – United States

1. Preliminary Education Component

Consists of five papers:
Exam P Probability (same as CAS Exam 1)
Exam FM Financial Mathematics (same as CAS Exam 2)
Exam MLC Actuarial Models – Life Contingencies Segment
Exam MFE Actuarial Models – Financial Economics Segment
(Completion of MLC and MFE will entitle candidate credit for CAS Exam 3)
Exam C Construction and Evaluation of Actuarial Models (same as CAS Exam 4)

2. Validation by Educational Experience

Validation of these topics is required in addition to the four Preliminary Education examinations (P/1, FM/2, MCL, MFE and C/4). The SOA, CIA, and CAS have implemented VEE requirements for the following topics:
VEE – Applied Statistical Methods
VEE – Corporate Finance
VEE – Economics

The VEE topics are no longer tested on in the preliminary exams. Candidates with credit for Course 2 earned prior to 2005 have been given credit for VEE – Economics and VEE – Corporate Finance topics.

Candidates with credit for Course 4 earned prior to 2005 have been given credit for VEE – Applied Statistical Methods.

NOTE: VEE topics are not prerequisites for the preliminary examinations. They need not be completed prior to writing any of the preliminary exams and may be fulfilled independently of the preliminary exam process.

Credit for VEE can be obtained through various courses completed from colleges or other education programs. Within Malaysia, candidates can gain credit via the following Universities:
Universiti Malaya
University Kebangsaan Malaysia
University Tungku Abdul Rahman
University Teknologi MARA

3. Fundamentals of Actuarial practice (FAP)

Web-based course comprising eight modules and two assessments:Modules:
Module 1 – Introduction / The Role of the Professional Actuary
Module 2 – Core External Forces
Module 3 – Risk in Actuarial Problems
Module 4 – Actuarial Solutions
Module 5 – Actuarial Models
Module 6 – Model Selection and Solution Design
Module 7 – Selection of Initial Assumptions
Module 8 – Monitoring Results and Completing the Control CycleAssessments:
First Assessment upon completion of Modules 1 to 5
Final Assessment upon completion of Modules 6 to 8

4. Associate Professionalism Course (ACP)

Half day course covering professionalism, ethics and legal liabilities.Upon completion of the Preliminary Education Component, VEE, FAP and ACP, the candidate will obtain the title of Associate of the SOA (ASA).

5. Specialty Tracks for Fellowship Courses (Effective 1 July 2013)

To proceed from Associate to Fellow in the SOA, specific exams and modules have to be completed from one of the following specialty tracks:
Corporate Finance and ERM (CFE)
Quantitative Finance and Investment (QFI)
Individual Life and Annuities
Retirement Benefits
Group and Health
General Insurance

6. Decision Making and Communication (DMAC) Module

E-learning module on written and oral communication skills and decision making skills, applied in solving business problems.

7. Fellowship Admissions Course (FAC)

Final fellowship course consisting of lectures, case studies and presentations to increase awareness in professional ethical and malpractice issues, encourage problem-solving from different perspectives and facilitate coaching in oral communications.

Upon completion of all of the above, the candidate will obtain the title of Fellow of the SOA (FSA).

Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS) – United States

In general, CAS has a similar preliminary exam structures as SOA. Candidates are required to complete the following three VEE subjects:

  • VEE – Applied Statistical Methods
  • VEE – Corporate Finance
  • VEE – Economics

Credit for VEE can be obtained through various courses completed from colleges or other education programs. Within Malaysia, candidates can gain credit via the following Universities:

  • Universiti Malaya
  • University Kebangsaan Malaysia
  • University Tungku Abdul Rahman
  • University Teknologi MARA

There are 2 online courses to be taken.

  • Online Course 1 – Risk Management and Insurance Operations (same as I&FA CA1)
  • Online Course 2 – Insurance Accounting, Coverage Analysis, Insurance Law, and Insurance Regulation (same as I&FA CA2)

There are 9 exams to be taken with the first four (Exams 1, 2, 3 and 4) being equivalent to the first part of the SOA exam structure.

  • Exam 1 Probability (same as SOA Exam P)
  • Exam 2 Financial Mathematics (same as SOA Exam FM)
  • Exam 3F Models for Financial Economics (same as SOA Exam MFE)
  • Exam 3L Models for Life Contingencies and Statistics (same as SOA Exam MLC)
  • Exam 4 Construction and Evaluation of Actuarial Models (same as SOA Exam C)

At this point, students interested in Life Insurance can opt to continue with the SOA path.

  • Exam 5 Basic Techniques for Ratemaking and Estimating Claim Liabilities
  • Exam 6 Regulation and Financial Reporting (Nation-Specific)
    • Actuarial Institute of Chinese Taipei
    • Canada
    • United States

Course on Professionalism – A two-day course to present candidates with real situations that contain ethical and professionalism issues for an actuary. Candidate must have finished either

  • 4 actuarial exams AND any 4 out of the 2 online courses and 3 VEE subjects; or
  • any 5 actuarial exams

Upon completion of all the above requirements, candidate will be admitted as an Associate of the Casualty Actuarial Society (ACAS).

  • Exam 7 Estimation of Policy Liabilities, Insurance Company Valuation and ERM
  • Exam 8 Advanced Ratemaking
  • Exam 9 Financial Risk and Rate of Return

Upon completion of the Associateship requirements and the above three exams, the candidate will be admitted as a Fellow of the Casualty Actuarial Society (FCAS).

Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (IFoA) – United Kingdom

Core Technical (CT) Stage

Comprises of eight papers and a business awareness module:

  • CT1 Financial Mathematics
  • CT2 Finance and Financial Reporting
  • CT3 Probability and Mathematical Statistics
  • CT4 Models
  • CT5 Contingencies
  • CT6 Statistical Methods
  • CT7 Business Economics
  • CT8 Financial Economics
  • CT9 Business Awareness: 2 day residential course, addresses business problems and professional responsibilities. Distant learning option available.
    Students who join the Actuarial Profession on or after 1 March 2012 must pass the Professional Awareness Test before taking CT9.

Core Applications (CA) Stage

Comprises of one paper and two modules (CA2 and CA3) involving attendance at a 2-day residential course. Distant learning modules for CA2 and CA3 may be offered for candidates who are unable to attend the residential course.

  • CA1 Actuarial Risk Management
  • CA2 Model Documentation, Analysis and Reporting
  • CA3 Communications

Upon completion of the above and the PSC (see below), the candidate may be admitted as Associate.

Specialist Stage

Requires completion of two Specialist Technical (ST) papers and one Specialist Applications (SA) paper:

  • Specialist Technical subjects:
    • ST1 Health and Care
    • ST2 Life Insurance
    • ST4 Pensions and Other Benefits
    • ST5 Finance and Investment A
    • ST6 Finance and Investment B
    • ST7 General Insurance: Reserving and Capital Modelling
    • ST8 General Insurance: Pricing
    • ST9 Enterprise Risk Management
  • Specialist Applications subjects:
    • SA1 Health and Care
    • SA2 Life Insurance
    • SA3 General Insurance
    • SA4 Pensions and Other Benefits
    • SA5 Finance
    • SA6 Investment

Work-Based Skills (WBS)

Practical experience requirement monitoring the development of the candidate in several key areas, supervised by an approved mentor. A minimum of three years’ actuarial work experience is required before being admitted to Fellowship.

Upon completion of the above, the candidate may be admitted as Fellow.

Professional Skills Course (PSC)

Candidates wishing to obtain the Associate designation after February 2012 must complete the PSC prior to transferring to the category of Associate.

Candidates who qualify as a Fellow after February 2012 must complete the PSC within one year of qualification.

Exemptions

Candidates may obtain exemptions from some of the above examinations through university courses in UK:

  • City University, London
  • University of Kent, Canterbury
  • London School of Economics, London
  • Heriot-Watt University, Scotland

The list above is by no means exhaustive. Please refer to the UK Actuarial Profession website (www.actuaries.org.uk) for more information.

UK Practice Modules

A multiple choice examination testing the candidate’s knowledge in the general principles of UK Financial Services, business practices, regulation, legislation and professional guidance notes. Not required to qualify as a Fellow, but required if practising in the UK in a reserved role.

Actuaries Institute – Australia

The actuarial education program in Australia is made up of three parts.

Part I consists of eight core technical (CT) subjects:

  • CT1 – Financial Mathematics
  • CT2 – Finance and Financial Reporting
  • CT3 – Probability and Mathematical Statistics
  • CT4 – Models
  • CT5 – Contingencies
  • CT6 – Statistical Methods
  • CT7 – Business Economics
  • CT8 – Financial Economics

Part I can be completed by either studying an undergraduate actuarial degree at one of the accredited Australian universities, or by distance examination through the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries in the UK; or credit transfer from another actuarial society.

The seven accredited Australian Universities are

  • Australian National University
  • Curtin University
  • Macquarie University
  • Monash University
  • University of Melbourne
  • University of New South Wales
  • Bond University (partially accredited)

Part II consists of:

Part IIA – The Actuarial Control Cycle; and Part IIB – Investment and Asset Modelling

Students may gain exemption by studying at one of six accredited universities listed above (Bond University excluded). These programs are offered either as part of an undergraduate honours degree, as part of a post graduate qualification or as non-award subjects.

Part III

People who wish to become Fellows complete Part III, it is offered by distance study through the Actuaries Institute courses. Part III consists of four modules; students must successfully complete one course from each Module:

There options available for Module 1:

  • Course 7A – Enterprise Risk Management;
  • any Part A (Module 2) or Part B (Module 3) course;
  • a PhD in a relevant area;
  • accountancy qualifications recognised by CPA Australia or the Institute of Chartered Accounts (or overseas equivalents);
  • Certified Financial Analyst (CFA) Charter Holder qualifications;
  • the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries’ ST1 Health and Care Examination and the Actuaries Institute’s online Private Health Insurance course;
  • the Actuarial Society of South Africa’s F101 Health Fellowship Principles Examination and the Actuaries Institute’s online Private Health Insurance course; or

In Module 2 and Module 3, students choose to complete their study in one specialist area of practice:

  • life insurance;
  • general insurance;
  • global retirement income systems; or
  • investment management and finance.

Module 4 Course 10 – Commercial Actuarial Practice is compulsory and comprises a four-day residential course and an eight-hour computer-based assessment.

Professionalism Course

A two-day residential course, It provides members with an opportunity to reflect on what it means to be a professional and aims to explain the obligations, risks and legal responsibilities of members of the actuarial profession. Students qualifying for both Associate or Fellow are required to attend.

Practical Experience & Mentor Program

The Actuaries Institute’s Practical Experience Requirement (PER) provides a structured framework to assist students in achieving relevant practical workplace skills while completing their studies.

Members are required to have three years practical experience in order to become an Associate and attain the designation ‘actuary’. Three years is the equivalent of 135 full-time working weeks (with a full-time working week considered to be at least 35 hours of work time). The PER must span at least three calendar years.

For further information regarding the Actuaries Institute education program please visit their website www.actuaries.asn.au