Salient. Victoria University of Wellington Students' Newspaper. Volume 32, No. 19. August 6, 1969
The Actuarial Profession
The Actuarial Profession
Those who have read Anthony Sampson's "Anatomy of Britain" and who have seen the graph (at right) showing the progress of the incomes of men in various professions may have wondered about the little known Actuarial profession whose members earnings in the United Kingdom are shown as rising to such high levels.
The practical application of Actuarial work needs a high degree of analytical power and clear thinking and the capacity to express conclusions in clear and logical language. To become an Actuary, a student needs to sit the examinations of the Institute of Actuaries and the course ensures that those contemplating an Actuarial career possess the ability to think logically and to exercise judgment in practical situations.
The course of examinations covers the subjects of applied probability and statistics, some specialised branches of applied mathematics, the fields of demography, mortality, finance and investment, and in the latter stages, tests the ability of the student to apply his knowledge to practical situations. Although the examinations are not easy and require part-time study over a number of years, recent changes in the syllabus have been directed towards reducing the time taken to qualitfy, and it is now possible for students with good passes in university mathematics and statistics to obtain exemption from some of the earlier sections.
The Actuary is a professional man whose special skills are required in connection with long term financial contracts particularly those in the fields of life assurance and superannuation. The majority of Actuaries in Australia and New Zealand are employed by life assurance companies but other Actuaries act in a professional capacity as consultants to superannuation funds, life assurance companies and other financial institutions. In deal with long term contracts, the Actuary has to consider the way in which all aspects of the business are being managed and the need to take an overall, long term, analytical view, gives a man who possesses the right personal qualities the characteristics required in senior positions in his company. Training in the principles of practice of finance and investment is taking an increasing number of Actuaries into positions connected with the stock exchange, banking and commerce.
There are at present about 150 fully qualified Actuaries in Australia and New Zealand, about three-quarters of these are employed by life assurance offices and are divided fairly evenly between technical and managerial positions. There is a large unsatisfied demand for qualified men and it has been estimated that by 1975, there will be a need for at least twice the present number.
Commencing salaries for university graduates employed in the Actuarial Department of life assurance offices in New Zealand are at present in the range $2500 to $2900 depending on age, nature of degree, etc. Most life assurance companies pay salaries in the range of $5200 to $6000 for newly qualified men and subsequent salaries would depend not only on experience but also on ability, personal qualities and the degree of responsibility carried. Persons with suitable qualities can reasonably look forward to attaining responsible positions in which salaries of the order of $8000 p.a. would be payable where the occupant had been qualified for about 10 years. Actuaries in very senior positions would command considerably greater salaries. Most life assurance offices offer a valuable range of fringe benefits, including superannuation, and favourable mortgage facilities for home purchase.
Any graduate who is interested in obtaining further information is best advised to make enquiries from a qualified Actuary who will be able to amplify the information given here.