Andy Morris, CERA qualified actuary
Andy Morris, Corporate Actuary, Sun Life Financial of Canada, chose to do ST9 soon after it was introduced. Here he explains why.
When and why did you choose an actuarial career?
During my final year at university, I decided that I didn’t really want to continue with research science any further – it just wasn’t for me. I had a look at other available options, and after doing a bit of research, I found that being an actuary had a lot of the things I was interested in as a career – it’s about solving difficult problems, you’re always learning and stretching yourself, and the money’s not bad either!
What does your work involve?
I currently work on the team who are implementing Solvency II in our firm. Solvency II is a big set of EU directives which are basically all about improving risk management in insurance companies Europe-wide. It's going to be a very big change when it comes into force in a few years' time.
My current job in the team is involved in working out the new methodology we are going to need in order to work under Solvency II. In some respects we have quite a blank canvas on which to work, which makes it quite interesting – you aren’t just doing the same old thing you’ve done before.
Why did you choose to study for the CERA qualification?
I was looking at which two of the ST series of exams to do at the time that ST9 was being introduced. I had a look and decided that it was something very different from ST2, and would give more variety to my study and more breadth to my knowledge than some of the other options.
What practical application does it have for your job?
Well, with the idea of Solvency II being all about getting people to think about the risks they are exposed to in their businesses, the extra grounding in risk management that you get is a definite plus.
What is the key value of the qualification for you?
Having the extra qualification obviously looks good and is a good way to signify that you’ve done the extra risk management training in more depth than most. Also, I think the fact it's being promoted both here and abroad means that over time it will become widely recognised and a useful thing to have done.
What are your future plans?
I’ve never yet been able to make any plans for the future that have survived very far into it!Given the multinational nature of the company, the idea of working abroad at some point is something I’d be very interested in. Mind you, I did get told by a careers questionnaire once that my ideal career choices would be either an actuary or a metalworker, so I’ve still got options to explore there too!
What advice would you give to others considering taking the CERA qualification?
Do some research first – look at the material you would have to study, the exam papers, things like that. Some people (like me) may prefer the variety that studying for CERA gives, but others might decide that they want to stick to exams which share more with each other, to benefit from the overlaps.
Also, look at how widespread and recognised the qualification is and how useful you think the knowledge and qualification would be to your role and future plans. Once you’ve looked at all that, then you’ll be making a far more informed decision as to whether it's right for you.