If there are any actuaries on this board, I would greatly appreciate your input. My background is in investment banking, I have my CFA designation and I am sitting for part II of the upcoming FRM exam. I do not have a love affair with IB and I love math and risk management. As a result, I am contemplating becoming an actuary. I am planning on sitting for the probability exam, likely in March 2011. If anyone has any suggestions on how best to prepare for this exam, what the best study materials are (ideally all encompassing) and any other tidbits that I can use to pass this first test, I would be very appreciative.
There is an actuary forum… actuarypost.com or something like that But from what I heard most people start taking the actuary exames in undergrad and finish up in their late 20s. If you were to get an actuary job you will probably start at an entry level job. If you are in your late 20s or early 30s why not a master in statistics or MFE. Should be able to get a risk management job after that.
Thx. Unfortunately I’m 36, not a young buck anymore. Guess I’m getting into this game a bit late. I don’t want to go back to school. I would rather get a test or two under my belt and then get into the industry, and then continue to take the necessary tests until I reach the pinnacle (FCAS).
Dude, you’re like a million years old to begin the actuary game; unless you want to work for an insurance company. Look at an MFE or CQF --> quickest and most efficient way into risk management.
I think it’s actuarialoutpost.
it’s never too late. don’t let anyone tell you it is.
I’d agree though, there are probably better options out there for you. I’m 27, just passed LII, and considering it as well but more so because I’m working for an insurer (trying to get into the asset management arm) and it would be a great increase in knowledge and leverage for future more leadership type roles within the company, but it will probably take like 12 years to get FSA status. LII gives you credit (VEE) for 3 exams.
jcole - thx for the forum suggestion. Considering that you work for an insurer maybe you have some suggestions on breaking into the industry. Given my background (private equity and IB, CFA designation and hope to finish up FRM this year, finance undergrad), would an entry-level job be necessary to get into the industry or (and hopefully) is there good opportunities to break in higher up the ladder than the first rung given my education and admittedly less than center of the plate experience. Any words of wisdom would be appreciated, as I’ve just recently had the actuarial epiphany.
everyone wants out of the insurance industry into IB and PE. funny you want it. wanna engage in an OTC job swap?
supacharja Wrote: ------------------------------------------------------- > jcole - thx for the forum suggestion. Considering > that you work for an insurer maybe you have some > suggestions on breaking into the industry. Given > my background (private equity and IB, CFA > designation and hope to finish up FRM this year, > finance undergrad), would an entry-level job be > necessary to get into the industry or (and > hopefully) is there good opportunities to break in > higher up the ladder than the first rung given my > education and admittedly less than center of the > plate experience. Any words of wisdom would be > appreciated, as I’ve just recently had the > actuarial epiphany. Do you want to do investment research for an insurer, or get into the actuarial components of insurance? If the latter, I think you’ll have to start at the bottom and you’d probably have a tough time (they usually hire Actuarial Science majors and sponsor them throughout the exam process, typically 50-70k from what I’ve seen, and then escalates to 120’ish and plateaus). Or do you want to get into the asset management arm of the company (fixed income analyst, for example)? Or, there are other ‘hybrid’ type components in between - I’ve got a buddy who has 4 actuarial exams completed and is on the ‘Liability Driven Investing’ side of an insurer, which uses CFA and actuarial type stuff to - in my words - mediate between the actuaries on the insurer side and the CFA’s on the investment side. Kind of a mid-office type role (again, my opinion), but gets to touch PM and other areas, as well as communicate with the insurer parent company side. A position like these you could probably come in at a middle level (I’m in the midwest and you’d probably make like 80k 1st year, with bonus similarly contingent upon performance but up to 50%). Assuming you’re east coast you’d probably checkout companies based in Hartford or the like where there AM arms are. Similar again to IB is a big piece on networking (at least that is what has gotten me the few shots I’ve had), but with CFA/FRM I’m sure there are some insurers that could put you to work. From what I’ve seen the fixed income sides are usually bigger compononents of the insurer’s holdings and therefore the AM sides.
jcole - thx for the response. I definitely would like to gravitate to the asset management side of the business where I could utilize some of my human capital (in college I worked at a major mutual fund, so I wouldn’t mind getting back to my roots). The idea is to hammer out the first few actuarial tests and then migrate from my current job. I’m currently in the southwest and there are some major insurers in my area. Plus, I’ve got a buddy that recruits for one of the big boys, so hopefully I’ll be able to fit into a scenario similar to what you described. With respect to the first few exams, are there some time-tested tricks that you’ve come across? Do you just purchase recommended readings through SOA or is there a better option? Any sage wisdom you can impart on how best to kick these tests would be great. Thx.
supacharja Wrote: ------------------------------------------------------- > jcole - thx for the response. I definitely would > like to gravitate to the asset management side of > the business where I could utilize some of my > human capital (in college I worked at a major > mutual fund, so I wouldn’t mind getting back to my > roots). The idea is to hammer out the first few > actuarial tests and then migrate from my current > job. I’m currently in the southwest and there are > some major insurers in my area. Plus, I’ve got a > buddy that recruits for one of the big boys, so > hopefully I’ll be able to fit into a scenario > similar to what you described. > > With respect to the first few exams, are there > some time-tested tricks that you’ve come across? > Do you just purchase recommended readings through > SOA or is there a better option? Any sage wisdom > you can impart on how best to kick these tests > would be great. Thx. A recruiter will help immensely. I haven’t actually taken them, but check out that actuarialoutpost and they’ll get you squared away on the tricks of the trade. You’ll need to apply to get the VEE credit for 3 exams that LII provides. Here’s the FSA site: http://www.soa.org/education/exam-req/edu-fsa-req.aspx
Thx, I actually spoke to SOA last week and apparently my charter covers the 3 VEE requirements. What is your quality of work life? At this point (since I’m getting older), I am less interested in money and more interested in a balanced work/life balance. I don’t want to work ridiculous hours…am looking for a simple 8-5 or similar. Could you give some color on what the expectations are? Thx for the insight already given.
supacharja Wrote: ------------------------------------------------------- > Thx, I actually spoke to SOA last week and > apparently my charter covers the 3 VEE > requirements. What is your quality of work life? > At this point (since I’m getting older), I am less > interested in money and more interested in a > balanced work/life balance. I don’t want to work > ridiculous hours…am looking for a simple 8-5 or > similar. Could you give some color on what the > expectations are? Thx for the insight already > given. That’s one of the things that insurers are known for, is a relatively better work/life balance. The guys I’ve talked to average 45-55, some less, some more (earnings season, etc…). Much fewer hours I’ve heard then ER guys with IB’s.
That’s great. Better than the 80 plus I’ve been averaging for years. Thx for your insights.
Depends I guess. Insurance is a mature industry, they are always trying to milk cost savings and scam more work out of you. Still nobody is gonna work freakin’ 80hrs. Fairly laid back, but lots of penny pinching. Actuaries are total freaks though, there was this guy, “same shirt guy”. We walked by one day and tried to mark his shirt, in an attempt to see if he was in fact wearing the same shirt every day, or just a collection of the same shirts. The test was inconclusive so I just walked up and said, “dood is that the same shirt?”. He said yes, that he has saving for 1 share of Berkshire class A and living at home with mom. He also didn’t bring/buy lunch but instead scammed snacks all day for extra savings. Only in actuarial man, amazing.
Sounds a little like Milton from Office Space…little scary that it’s actually real life though. Variety is the spice of life…your guy sounds like he makes the office interesting (sadly, unbeknownst to him). But, gotta give him props for being brutally honest. You have to respect someone with the attitude “I don’t give a f***, here I am in all my glory.” Reflection on the company, that’s another issue entirely.
Dear Supacharja, Does your FCAS comment mean you are leaning toward property/casualty insurance, or are you also considering life/annuity/pension/health? The Casualty Actuarial Society concerns itself with the former, while the Society of Actuaries concerns itself with the latter. Luckily, both orgs jointly set the first few exams, so you don’t have to commit to one direction just yet. All power to you if you want to go all the way to Fellow, but it is indeed a long haul. You might also want to consider the intermediate Associate designation. If you’re looking for exam prep providers, you can find some listed within actuarialoutpost.com. You’ll also find a discussion thread for exam P and threads for all subsequent exams. Depending where you live, there may be a local actuarial society. Some of these societies run prep courses, or may be able to direct you to something in your area. I don’t know your level of math background, but be prepared for stuff that goes beyond introductory stats. When I wrote the equivalent of exam P many, many moons ago, the syllabus included things like moment generating functions and functions of random variables. As well, some of the problems definitely required some grounding in calculus. If you do decide to write exam P next spring, I wish you all the best!
Morning Breadmaker: Thank you for your considerate response. At the moment I am not sure which direction to head. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I am not currently in the industry so I am unsure of which insurance arm I am most interested in. What has drawn my interest in actuary work is what appears to be a beautiful marriage between math and risk management, both of which I enjoy. While this may admittedly be a naive comment, it would seem that there is considerable upside in all but the pension arm. My plan is to hammer out the first few exams and then to catch on with an insurer. That will then likely dictate which direction I will head. It sounds as though you are either a fellow or an associate. What are your general impressions of your industry and what do you see as having the most opportunity within it? Given your vantage point, I would greatly respect your thoughts on this. Secondarily, are you implying that Exam P is too much for anyone that wasn’t an actuarial science major? My educational background is the following: finance undergrad, CFA designation and provided that I pass Part II of the upcoming FRM exam, the FRM designation. I have never had any problems with math, but then again I have never even heard of moment generating functions (or if I have they have long been forgotten). The reality is that outside the scope of the CFA/FRM curriculum, I will likely be new to most of the material within Exam P. With enough studying and by strictly following the syllabus I am hopeful that I can clear Exam P on the first attempt. I’ve never had to take a test twice, so I am hoping that won’t be the case with any of the actuary exams as well. If you have any words of wisdom on what helped you clear Exam P or any other sage advice on the exam process I would greatly appreciate your insight. At this point my plan is to dip my toes with the first two tests and then dive in after I conceivable have a better handle on the situation. I just know that is the general direction I want to travel. Looking forward to continuing this discussion with you.
Dear Supacharja, You guessed it: I am an actuary. I’ve also written CFA exams, so I think I can meet you halfway in the discussion. With your background, I agree that getting into the asset side is your best bet. I’m sure your CFA charter and I-banking experience could be a real plus to a life/P&C/health co that is investing in wider asset classes with unique risk/reward characteristics. As well, someone who can understand both the asset and liability sides and tie them together would be a bonus: just like the asset side, the liability side ain’t getting any simpler! Your odds going for a traditional entry-level actuarial job are much worse: the first thing we actuaries look for is number of actuarial exams passed. I had a quick look at the curriculum for FRM 1 and 2. While there is some pure stats & probability stuff there, I’m not sure if there’s enough to prepare you for exam P. Please check the following link for an outline of the subject areas you need to know, some suggested readings, and a link to sample questions: www.beanactuary.org/exams/syllabi/2010-sept-oct-exam-p.pdf. It’s not all doom and gloom: the quant stuff in the CFA and FRM exams (normal curve, t-curve, confidence intervals, hypothesis testing, correlation, covariance, linear regression, etc.) is also in exam P, so it’s not like you will be walking in cold. While you are older than the average entry-level actuarial exam taker, there are those that get into the exam system later in life and from a variety of backgrounds. I sense you have some real drive and ambition, but I will caution you: actuarial exams are tough! The early exams have some heavy-duty math, the later exams have a huge volume of material, and if you really, really, really, really want to become a Fellow, be prepared to invest YEARS in the process.