Why I decided to pursue this profession?
I desired a career where I could use the mathematical and analytical skills I developed at university and continue learning through professional exams. Aon stood out to me as a graduate because of their exceptional study policies, support throughout the application process and the inclusive, welcoming nature of the company. I started working on a range of trustee advisory and corporate advisory client teams and, after being promoted to consultant, eventually decided to join the corporate consultancy team. I enjoy the fast-paced work involved with corporate consulting and being face-to-face with clients.
Background to qualifications and training
I completed the actuarial examinations towards becoming a fellow of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries. This involved 13 exams, one of which I had an exemption from my university course. The exams started by covering the basics of actuarial mathematics, statistics, business finance, economics, modelling and communications. Then, the later exams focus on actuarial practices and pensions specific actuarial consulting.
Throughout my career I have had exceptional training opportunities, including a two week in person induction and regular training days. A lot of my technical knowledge came from my senior team members, who always took the time to pass on their knowledge and answer any questions. I have also had great opportunities to meet clients and develop my presentation skills and style.
What my current role involves
My main role as a corporate actuarial consultant is to assist client leads with providing strategic and funding advice to sponsors of DB pension schemes. A large part of this role involves producing pension accounting disclosures for the sponsor’s wider financial accounts.
I am also a member of the member options specialist team and IFA selection team where we advise clients on how they can reduce their liabilities via liability management exercises and provide members with more options and support at retirement.
I am also a local resourcing manager for my office and Actuarial Apprenticeship champion, assisting actuarial students with their apprenticeship.
I am going to continue developing in my role as a consultant and over time work my way towards being a client team lead, directly advising clients on the appropriate strategy for supporting their pension scheme. I am also planning to take on a people management role to assist in the development of more junior colleagues.
I am always looking out for opportunities to present to continue improving my confidence and presentation style.
The main piece of advice I would give to someone in the actuarial career is to be proactive, whether that is putting your hand up for work, or raising a new solution to a client. Sometimes timescales for projects can be tight, especially when producing accounting disclosures, so it is important to be actively on top of work in progress and deadlines.
I would also advise any aspiring actuaries to push themselves out of their comfort zone. When I started my career I had limited experience delivering presentations and I assumed that I would be more comfortable in the calculations side of my role. As my career has developed, as expected I enjoy the mathematical elements of being an actuary but I also love the client facing aspect of my role and being able to speak to clients and other pensions industry contacts.