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The Business subjects provide a comprehensive introduction to the core practice areas of Business Finance (CB1), Business Economics (CB2) and Business Management (CB3) in an international and global context.  Through the core reading and reference texts students have the opportunity to explore a range of business topics within an actuarial context.

Business Finance (CB1)

Core Principles

Business Finance provides the theory and application of corporate finance as well as the main elements of companies’ financial statements. Candidates will gain knowledge of corporate governance, different types of company structure, management goals and maximising shareholder wealth, traditional and new methods of raising short and long term finance, use of leverage, growth and profitability and mergers and acquisitions. In financial statements analysis, regulation and regulatory bodies for financial reporting, the company’s balance sheet, income and cash flow statements and elements of management accounting are considered.

Exam format:
3 hours and 15 minutes paper-based exam
Recommended study hours:

Business Economics (CB2)

Core Principles

Business Economics introduces the main principles of economics and their application in a business context. In micro economics it covers the operation of single markets, market price and output determination, decisions made by consumers on allocating their budget and by producers on price and output, and different types of market structures and the implication of each for social welfare. In macroeconomics candidates will gain knowledge of the working of the economic system, governments’ macroeconomic objectives, unemployment, inflation, economic growth, international trade and financial systems and financial crises.

Exam format:
3 hours and 15 minutes paper-based exam
Recommended study hours:

Business Management (CB3)

Core Principles

The CB3 Business Management subject is designed to help you understand the business environment in which you will be working, your professional responsibilities and how to tackle business-related problems. It is a practically focused programme, which includes some preparatory work ahead of a business simulation game, completion of a workbook, with some short exercises, and finally an online test. Individuals are encouraged to have work experience before entering for CB3.

Exam format

We have updated the business management case studies and simulation game.

The legal materials prepared by the College of Law now deal with three new areas which are of relevance to actuaries: mergers and acquisitions, data protection and intellectual property. Where possible and relevant the legal materials now also provide a comparison with the law in other jurisdictions.

The format of the College of Law materials has also changed. Each topic now has a workbook which allows you to work through a legal topic and test yourself as you progress. The test yourself questions are designed to get you thinking about the sort of issues which may crop up in the CB3 examination.

There are 52 strategy tutorials – each will take about 5 minutes to complete, with some with additional exercises taking longer.

Overall the time requirement has not changed but the business game and required reading will now run in parallel over a 6 week period. The final assessment will continue to be an online test and not a 3hr examination.

Business Management covers the following key areas:

  • Industry developments and challenges in all practice areas
  • Strategic thinking
  • The importance of lifelong personal development and learning

The exam also covers the legal principles that are relevant to actuarial work by building on the themes introduced in the Online Professional Awareness Test (OPAT).

Successful completion of this exam is a requirement of qualification for those who joined the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries on or after 1 July 2004. If you joined on or after 1 March 2012 you will need to have passed the Professional Awareness Test before you can apply for CB3.

CB3 is an online exam an online business game, a set of written exercises, and an online multiple choice exam. The business game takes approximately an hour per session, over a six week period, but input is not necessarily required every day over this period.

You should download the Syllabus for CB3 and read our Guide to CB3 for information on the following:

  • Entry requirements for CB3
  • Objectives of the exam


The exam pass lists are published on the first working day of each month. The list will include those who have passed the CB3 exam in a time frame spanning two months. For example if you pass the exam between 26 January - 25 February, your name will appear on the pass list that is published on 1 March.

Exam format:
As above
Recommended study hours: