Actuary (Occupation Code : 212101)

Scarce Skill
Description

Analyses mathematical, statistical, demographic, financial or economic data to predict and assess the long-term risk involved in financial decisions and planning.

Tasks
Designing the benefits of medical schemes, the determination of contributions and financial management on a sound long-term basis.
Calculating the extent of compensation, e.g. to dependants where the breadwinner cannot continue to earn an income due to, for example, a motor vehicle accident.
Evaluating investments in shares, property and other transactions.
Designing and analysing financial derivative instruments, e.g. options and futures.
Determining the reserves for outstanding claims of general and developing statistical rating models.
Developing computer models to simulate the entire financial performance of financial institutions such as insurers, banks and medical schemes.
Developing long-term capital projects such as the development and financing of a power station.
Developing credit-risk rating models for banks for both corporate and retail credit risk.
Modelling the financial impact of epidemics e.g. the HIV/AIDS epidemic in South Africa.

Occupation Regulation
To become an actuary you have to write a series of examinations through the Actuarial Society of South Africa (ASSA) which is a professional actuarial body and an internationally recognised training and accreditation institution. To become a Fellow of Actuarial Society (FASSA)  you must pass your examinations, or be granted exemption from them and also attain a satisfactory level of work-based skills. To qualify as an actuary in South Africa, you need to complete the subjects prescribed in the syllabus of the Actuarial Society. Exemptions from many of these subjects can be obtained by completing relevant subjects at accredited universities. Assessment of the final Fellowship stage of the qualification is conducted by the Board of Examiners appointed by the Actuarial Society. This usually takes between three and six years.
To become an Associate actuary (AMASSA) you must have passed all the relevant examinations or examination models and have completed a learning log showing the acquisition of work-based skills over a period of one year.

 

Learning Pathway Description

No South African academic institution offers a complete and qualifying training course for actuaries. To qualify as an actuary you must pass the examinations set by the Actuarial Society of South Africa which manages all matters relating to these examinations. Studies are done through correspondence and this seldom takes less than 5 years. During this period you will normally be employed by a life assurance company or a firm of consulting actuaries.
The actuarial profession is open to individuals in other careers.  You can join the actuarial profession and write the examinations with any mathematical based degree. Some universities offer degrees particularly geared to actuarial studies which may entitle you to exemptions from certain subjects.
For entry into all the learning pathways for this occupation you need a National Senior Certificate - Degree Entrance, with Mathematics and English as subjects. Please check the specific entry requirements at the institution of your choice.
There are various routes to become a actuary. The first learning pathway allows for entry into the occupation directly after completion of a general three-year BSc degree with subjects such as Actuarial Science and Mathematical Statistics.
The second learning pathway allows for a directed BSc degree in mathematical related sciences such as Mathematics and Mathematics Statistics.
The third learning pathway allows for a directed BSc degree in Actuarial Science.
The fourth learning pathway is to become an actuary after you have completed an honours degree in Actuarial Science or Mathematical Sciences. You need to enrol through the professional body (The Actuarial Society of South Africa - ASSA) as a Fellow of the Actuarial Society of South Africa - FASSA and pass a series of roughly 16 exams.
Universities have exemption agreements with ASSA to allow students who perform well to obtain exemptions for many subjects. These exemptions allow graduates to continue with the next level of professional subjects directly through ASSA.
Typically you will spend four years of full-time study at an accredited university. Experience has shown that about half the graduates from four-year university programmes may go on to qualify as Fellows after a further three to five years of part-time study.
 

Show Learning Pathway
Alternate Occupation Names
Actuary Manager
Average Adjuster