Associate Actuary Vs Fellow Actuary
Associateship and Fellowship are two levels of actuarial qualification. Getting an Associateship or Fellowship in actuary really adds your value and makes you worth hiring. Organizations in different countries have different assessment system to become Associate or Fellow. Mainly there are two systems: US system and UK system. For example in United Kingdom, Faculty of Actuaries and Institute of Actuaries have a common assessment system whereas in North America, Society of Actuaries and Casualty Actuarial Society together have a common assessment system. Assessment system would vary from country to country based on the organizational standards. Anyhow, all these organizations including Faculty of Actuaries, Institute of Actuaries, Society of Actuaries or Casualty Actuarial Society are members of International Actuarial Association (IAA), a worldwide association.
As per the qualification system of Faculty and Institute of Actuaries, an actuary would be evaluated for work based skills, four stages of examinations and some modules demanding attendance. Four stages of examinations are Core Technical Stage, Core Applications Stage, Specialist Technical Stage and Specialist Applications Stage. Subjects in Core Technical stage are Financial Mathematics (CT1), Finance and Financial Reporting (CT2), Probability and Mathematical Statistics (CT3), Models (CT4), Contingencies (CT5), Statistical Methods (CT6), Economics (CT7) and Financial Economics (CT8). Along with these modules, a business awareness module (CT9) which covers business strategy topics is also there which includes attendance.
Core Applications Stage aims at making actuaries capable to apply the knowledge practically in actuarial areas like life insurance, pensions, health insurance etc. Teaching actuarial concepts to apply across different areas is the first module. Second module, which is a modeling module, ensures that candidate has data analysis skills to use spreadsheets in order to make models. A two day event is conducted to assess candidates on this module. Third module assesses the communication skills of candidate; how successfully a candidate communicates with non-technical audience.
To qualify as an Associate of the Faculty or Institute of Actuaries, candidate needs to complete Core Technical and Core Applications examinations and they also need to prove one year’s work based skills and also attend one day Professionalism course. But to qualify as a Fellow of the Faculty or Institute of Actuaries, candidate has to take Specialist Technical and Specialist Applications stage examinations also along with Core Applications and Core Technical examinations. Moreover, he needs to have three years work based skills and attended two day Professionalism course. To complete Specialist Technical stage, two examinations are to be done out of 6 choices and for Specialist Applications stage, one subject is to be selected from 6 topics.
As per SOA qualification system, candidate needs to complete Associateship Professionalism Course, a set of 6 courses listed below and have Application for Admission as an Associate approved by SOA Board of Governors in order to attain Associateship. Six courses need to be completed successfully are: Mathematical Foundations of Actuarial Science, Interest Theory, Economics and Finance, Actuarial Methods, Actuarial Modeling, Application of Basic Actuarial Principles and Finance and Investments.
In order to attain Fellowship, in addition to passing SOA Associateship examination requirements, candidate has to pass two courses and complete Fellowship Admissions Course. In case of two courses, candidate has the freedom to choose two from a list of seven. CAS assessment system is very much similar to that of SOA system. Only difference is that certain courses to be completed are different in case of CAS system.
US Society of Actuaries Education System is used in North America and UK Institute of Actuary Education System is used by most of the countries in the world. Anyhow, qualification process, whether it is US system or UK system, is not at all an easy one. But, once qualified it provides you many benefits in terms of growth opportunities, salary etc.