Actuarial credentialing and exams

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The actuarial credentialing and exam process usually requires passing a rigorous series of professional examinations, most often taking several years in total, before one can become recognized as a credentialed actuary. In some countries, such as Denmark, most study takes place in a university setting. In others, such as the U.S., most study takes place during employment through a series of examinations. In the UK, and countries based on its process, there is a hybrid university-exam structure.

Policies of various countries[edit]

Australia[edit]

The education system in Australia is divided into three components: an exam-based curriculum; a professionalism course; and work experience (IAA-Ed 2013). The system is governed by the Institute of Actuaries of Australia.

The exam-based curriculum is in three parts. Part I relies on exemptions from an accredited under-graduate degree from either Monash University, Macquarie University, University of New South Wales, University of Melbourne, Australian National University or Curtin University (IAA-Part I 2013). The courses cover subjects including finance, financial mathematics, economics, contingencies, demography, models, probability and statistics. Students may also gain exemptions by passing the exams of the Institute of Actuaries in London (IAA-Part I 2013). Part II is the Actuarial control cycle and is also offered by each of the universities above (IAA-Part II 2013). Part III consists of four half-year courses of which two are compulsory and the other two allow specialization (IAA-Part III 2006).

To become an Associate, one needs to complete Part I and Part II of the accreditation process, perform 3 years of recognized work experience, and complete a professionalism course.

To become a Fellow, Part I, II, III need to be all completed, and a professionalism course. Work experience is not required however, as the Institute deems that those who've successfully completed Part III have shown enough level of professionalism.

Bangladesh[edit]

The Actuarial Society of Bangladesh is the unique Professional Body of Actuaries in Bangladesh. Actuarial Society of Bangladesh follow the curriculum of The Institute and Faculty of Actuaries, United Kingdom. No University in Bangladesh provide the academic degrees like bachelor's degree, master's degrees etc. in Actuarial Science. University of Dhaka, Rajshahi University, Jahangirnagar University provide a few course of Actuarial Science in Statistics, Applied Statistics department.

Canada[edit]

The Canadian Institute of Actuaries (the CIA) recognizes fellows of both the Society of Actuaries and the Casualty Actuary Society, provided that they have specialized study in Canadian actuarial practice. For fellows of the SOA, this is fulfilled by taking the CIA’s Practice Education Course (PEC). For fellows of the Casualty Actuarial Society, this is fulfilled by taking the nation specific Exam 6-Canada, instead of Exam 6-United States (CAS 2011b). Unlike their American counterparts, the CIA only has one class of actuary: Fellow. Further, the CIA requires three years of actuarial practice within the previous decade, and 18 months of Canadian actuarial practice within the last three years, to become a fellow (CIA 2004). The CIA also offers an associate designation however this offered without any voting rights and associates are not permitted to add this designation to their signature.

Denmark[edit]

In Denmark it normally takes five years of study at the University of Copenhagen to become an actuary with no professional experience requirement. There is a focus on statistics and probability theory, and a requirement for a master's thesis (Norberg 1990). By Danish law, responsibility for the practise of any life insurance business must be taken by a formally acknowledged and approved actuary. In order to be approved as a formally responsible actuary, three to five years of professional experience is required (Haastrup & Nielsen 2007).

Germany[edit]

The current rules for the German Actuarial Society require an actuary to pass more than 13 exams (DAV 2011).

Greece[edit]

In Greece the only specialized school of actuaries is the Department of Statistics and Actuary-Finance Mathematics of the University of the Aegean, in Samos. The duration of studies is four years, with a practice period included, and the certificate given is a Bachelor's Degree. The Diploma of Actuary is given by the Actuaries Union of Greece, after successful exams within the Union. Other schools that offer actuary directions can be found throughout the rest departments of Statistics in the various universities of the country, most notably that of the Athens University of Economics and Business (OPA/ASOEE), which is also the top economic university of Greece.

India[edit]

The Actuarial Society of India (now converted into Institute of Actuaries of India) offers both associate-ship and fellowship classes of membership. However, prospective candidates must be admitted to the society as students before they achieve associate-ship or fellowship. The exam sequence is similar to the British model, with Core and Specialty technical and application exams. The exams are conducted twice a year during the months of May–June and October–November (ASI 2006). Starting from January 2012, the institute has started conducting entrance exam. Only those applicants who clear the entrance test can appear for the Core Technical papers.

Italy[edit]

Italian actuaries also receive their training through university plus a single examination given by the state (Esame di Stato). The studies usually take a total of five years to complete, three (Triennale) plus two (Magistrale), because students need to pass at least 30 exams (the exact number depends on the university and curriculum), many with both written and oral components on actuarial and economic topics. After university, to become qualified to sign statements of actuarial opinion, students must pass the Esame di Stato, which is offered twice a year in Rome and Trieste; the Esame di Stato consists of two written sections, a practical portion, and an oral exam. The association of qualified actuaries is called "Ordine degli Attuari" ("Order of Actuaries").

Mexico[edit]

Unlike in the United States, in Mexico actuarial training consists of a full four or five-year licenciatura (bachelor) degree course. Only a few universities in the country offer the degree; some of them are the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), Autonomous University of Yucatán (UADY), Universidad de las Americas Puebla (UDLAP), Universidad Anahuac, Autonomous Technological Institute of Mexico (ITAM), Autonomous University of Guadalajara (UAG), and Autonomous University of Nuevo León (UANL).

Norway[edit]

In Norway the education to become an actuary takes five years. The education usually consists of a bachelors degree (three years) and a masters degree (two years). The bachelors degree needs to contain a specific amount of courses in mathematics and statistics. The masters degree usually consists of one year of courses and one year writing a masters degree about a topic related to the actuarial profession. The University of Bergen and The University of Oslo offers the education to become an actuary in Norway (University of Bergen 2011). In order to become an international qualified actuary a person with a Norwegian actuarial education also need to take two courses in economics (macroeconomics and accounting) and a course in ethics. The course in ethics lasts a day and is offered by the Norwegian Society of Actuaries (Norwegian Society of Actuaries 2011).

Portugal[edit]

In Portugal the only school offering a degree in actuarial science is ISEG at the University of Lisbon. It is a two-year master's degree, fully integrated into the Bologna regimen. If the student does sufficiently well in the programme, as determined by an examiner appointed by the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries, he/she will be exempt from some of the UK professional actuarial examinations.

South Africa[edit]

Actuaries in South Africa are served by the Actuarial Society of South Africa (ASSA). Until recently the requirement to qualify as an actuary in South Africa was to pass the exams hosted by the UK bodies. Starting in 2010, a South African actuarial qualification hosted by ASSA has replaced this arrangement (ASSA's website). Key changes include exam syllabuses based on South African specific content. The UK actuarial professional bodies however still supports Actuaries qualification through the UK. Students may receive exemption from part of the examinations for qualification from approved universities. The South Africa qualification does have mutual recognition with many of the international actuarial bodies as well as approval of the syllabus from the International Actuarial Association.

Sweden[edit]

Actuarial training in Sweden takes place at Stockholm University. The five-year master's program (for those with no previous university-level knowledge in mathematics, or without a bachelor degree in mathematics) covers the subjects mathematics, mathematical statistics, insurance mathematics, financial mathematics, insurance law and insurance economics. The program operates under the Division of Mathematical Statistics (Stockholm University 2006). For those with a bachelor degree in mathematics statistics or with a master in mathematics, a two years full-time master degree Aktuarieprogrammet has been created since 2002, at Stockholm University, which has a long history of research on insurance mathematics.

Turkey[edit]

Qualification in Turkey consists of a series of exams administered by an exam board made up of representatives of the Actuarial Society of Turkey, the government and universities. The exams are split into 3 levels: first level (essentials of insurance and economy, mathematics, statistics and probability, financial mathematics); second level (accounting and financial reporting, insurance mathematics (life and non-life), risk analysis, actuarial modeling); and third level (investment and risk management, non-life insurance, life insurance, health insurance, pension systems). After completing the first level exams, a candidate becomes an "actuarial trainee", after the second level an "assistant actuary", and after the third level and 3 years of related work experience the candidate becomes an "actuary".

UK and Ireland[edit]

Qualification in the United Kingdom and Ireland consists of a combination of exams and courses provided by the professional body, the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries. The exams may only be taken upon having officially joined the body,[1] unlike many other countries where exams may be taken earlier. Most trainee actuaries study whilst working for an actuarial employer using resources provided by ActEd[2] (The Actuarial Education Company, a subsidiary of BPP Actuarial Education Ltd.) which is contracted to provide actuarial tuition for students on behalf of Institute and Faculty Education Ltd (IFE), a subsidiary of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries.[3]

However, a candidate may offer proof of having previously covered topics (at a high enough standard), usually while at university, in order to be exempt from taking certain subjects.[4]

The exams themselves are now split into four sections:[5] Core Technical (CT), Core Applications (CA), Specialist Technical (ST), and Specialist Applications (SA). For students who joined the Profession after June 2004, a further requirement that the student carry out a "Work-based skills" exercise has been brought into effect. This involves the student submitting a series of essays to the Profession detailing the work that he or she has performed. In addition to exams, essays and courses, it is required that the candidate have at least three years' experience of actuarial work under supervision of a recognized actuary in order to qualify as a Fellow of the Institute of Actuaries (FIA) or of the Faculty of Actuaries (FFA) (Institute and Faculty of Actuaries 2011a).

Actuaries can also gain partial credit towards Fellowship of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries by following an actuarial science degree at an accredited university. At the undergraduate level the only locally accredited programmes are currently at University of Manchester, University College Dublin, Queen's University Belfast, Heriot-Watt University, University of Edinburgh, the London School of Economics, University of Southampton, City University, London and the University of Kent. Full-time accredited masters programmes are provided only by the University of Kent, Heriot-Watt University and City University; part-time accredited masters degrees are offered by Imperial College London and the University of Leicester. Actuarial programmes that offer the possibility of exemption from individual professional exams are also available at City University, London, Heriot-Watt University, the London School of Economics, the University of Southampton, Swansea University, the University of Kent and the University of Warwick. In Ireland exemptions are offered by National University of Ireland, Galway, Dublin City University, University College Cork. Some South African universities are also accredited by the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries. These universities include the University of Pretoria, University of Cape Town, Stellenbosch University, University of the Free State and the University of the Witwatersrand. ISEG in Lisbon, Portugal, offers the possibility of exemption from some professional exams of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries.

Note that the UK Profession is currently introducing the Certified Actuarial Analyst (CAA) qualification to "provide those working in financial and actuarial roles at a technical level around the world with valuable skills and a well respected qualification".[6]

United States[edit]

In the U.S., for life, health, and pension actuaries, exams are given by the Society of Actuaries, while for property and casualty actuaries the exams are administered by the Casualty Actuarial Society. The Society of Actuaries’ requirements for Associateship include passing five preliminary examinations, demonstrating educational experience in economics, corporate finance and applied statistics—called validation by educational experience (VEE), completing an eight-module self-learning series, and taking a course on professionalism (SOA 2012a). One may also become an associate of the SOA by becoming a Chartered Enterprise Risk Analyst (CERA) through the SOA. (SOA 2012b). For Fellowship, three other modules, two exams, and a special fellowship admission course is added (SOA 2012c). The Casualty Actuarial Society requires the successful completion of seven examinations, two modules and VEE for Associateship and three additional exams for Fellowship. In addition to these requirements, casualty actuarial candidates must also complete professionalism education and be recommended for membership by existing members (CAS 2011a).

In order to sign statements of actuarial opinion, however, American actuaries must be members of the American Academy of Actuaries. Academy membership requirements include membership in one of the recognized actuarial societies, at least three years of full-time equivalent experience in responsible actuarial work, and either residency in the United States for at least three years or a non-resident or new resident who meets certain requirements (AAA 2010). Continuing education is required after certification for all actuaries who sign statements of actuarial opinion (AAA 2008).

In the pension area, American actuaries must pass three examinations to become an Enrolled Actuary. Some pension-related filings to the Internal Revenue Service and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation require the signature of an Enrolled Actuary. Many Enrolled Actuaries belong to the Conference of Consulting Actuaries or the American Society of Pension Professionals and Actuaries.

In 2009, the Society of Actuaries began a high-level accreditation system for universities, recognizing the best actuarial schools as Centers of Actuarial Excellence.

Other countries[edit]

Many other countries pattern their requirements after the larger societies of the US or UK. In general, the websites of these organizations are often the easiest source for finding out about membership requirements and resources.

References[edit]