Fit for the future

Henning Wergen
Chairperson AAE Education Committee


Actuaries are regarded as professionals, problem solvers and strategic thinkers with a deep understanding of financial systems. They have highly valued mathematical skills and expertise to help measure the probability and risk of future events and by doing so to serve a greater good, the public interest. Or in other words: Actuaries use numbers and mathematics to make predictions for the future and the well-being of society. So far, so good.

But what is necessary to enable actuaries to perform their tasks correctly? To ensure this, the Actuarial Association of Europe (AAE) has installed a number of necessities for European actuaries: a code of professional conduct, disciplinary processes and last but not least, standards for actuarial education.Today we live in a world where computational power is still increasing with exponential growth. At the same time more and more data is available. Both aspects in theory widen the general actuarial toolkit which needs to be acknowledged. The actuarial scope has changed over the last decades from the traditional (life) actuary (first kind) with a basically deterministic toolkit, to the actuary using stochastic processes (second kind), to the ALM actuary (third kind) to the ERM actuary (fourth kind). Not only Paul Embrechts is seeing a fifth kind of actuary, as a “as a data driven and model guided, critical and socially responsible financial decision maker in an ever changing world governed by uncertainty!”

This thinking is one of the main reasons why the AAE passed a new Core Syllabus for actuarial training in Europe.

This set of over 220 concrete competencies laid out in nine core learning areas replaces the current educational standard that was established in 2011. National actuarial associations are now in a role to install those new standards, several associations are already doing this and expect the first new qualifiers in a not so far future.

Next to actuarial core competencies like traditional statistical methods or modelling techniques for different lines of business, the new Core Syllabus introduces modern data science methods, ethical aspects of working with (big) data, business acumen or communication competencies which will help actuaries to explain their work to non-actuaries and the outside world. It will be their role to ensure that actuarial work can be trusted and is no black box.

The new Core Syllabus will help national associations to prepare their future members for the challenges lying ahead. But it also gives guidance to experienced colleagues to where they can expand their knowledge and toolkit. The new AAE Core Syllabus is a powerful tool for the profession and every member of it. At the same time it is a strong statement that the profession is accepting the challenges of the evolving business environment and is able to transform and develop.

This blog is written in a personal capacity.

November 2019

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