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Institute & Faculty of Actuaries examinations - Guidance for new learners

Introduction

The Core Principles subjects (made up of the Actuarial Statistics (CS), Actuarial Mathematics (CM), and Core Business (CB) modules) in the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries' (IFoA's) professional exams provide an initial grounding in many of the key principles and concepts required in actuarial work. These principles and concepts are developed in the later IFoA exams.

It is a requirement that students pass or obtain exemptions from all of the Core Principles subjects on the way to qualifying as an Associate or Fellow of the IFoA.

The Core Principles exams can be attempted in any order, and there is no requirement to pass any exam before sitting another. However it can be useful for students to pass certain Core Principles exams before others. Further information on an appropriate order for students to sit the Core Principles exams is provided within this document.

CS1 – Actuarial Statistics 1

This subject provides a grounding in the basics of statistical techniques that are of particular relevance to actuarial work, including features of statistical distributions, data analysis, statistical inference, regression theory and applications, and Bayesian statistics.

CS2 – Actuarial Statistics 2

This subject provides a grounding in statistical modelling techniques that are of particular relevance to actuarial work, including using statistical distributions for risk modelling, time series models, stochastic processes, survival models and machine learning.

It is useful, but not mandatory, to have studied subject CS1 before studying CS2, as this subject assumes competence with the basic statistical techniques covered in CS1.

CM1 – Actuarial Mathematics 1

This subject provides a grounding in the principles of mathematics and modelling as applied to actuarial work, focusing particularly on deterministic models which can be used to model and value known cashflows as well as those which are dependent on death, survival, or other uncertain risks.  It introduces the theory of interest rates, the basic types of life and health insurance contracts and the concepts of pricing and reserving.

It is useful, but not mandatory, to have studied subject CS1 before studying CM1, as this introduces techniques that are drawn upon and used in this subject.

CM2 – Actuarial Mathematics 2

This subject provides a further grounding in the principles of mathematics and modelling as applied to actuarial work, focusing on stochastic asset-liability models and the valuation of financial derivatives.  It also includes theories on the behaviour of financial markets and different measures of investment risk.

It is useful, but not mandatory, to have studied subjects CS1, CS2, CM1 and CB2 before studying CM2, as these introduce techniques that are drawn upon and used in this subject.

CB1 – Business Finance

This subject provides a basic understanding of corporate finance, including a knowledge of the instruments used by companies to raise finance and manage financial risk.  It also provides the ability to interpret the accounts and financial statements of companies and financial institutions.

It is useful, but not mandatory, to have studied subject CM1 before studying CB1, in order to obtain a basic understanding of interest rates.

This subject is closely linked to subjects CB2 and CB3.

CB2 – Business Economics

This subject provides an introduction to the core economic principles and how these can be used in a business environment to help decision making and behaviour.  It provides a grounding in the fundamental concepts of microeconomics that explain how economic agents make decisions and how these decisions interact.  It also provides a grounding in the principles underlying macroeconomics that explain how the economic system works, where it fails and how decisions taken by economic agents affect the economic system. 

This subject is closely linked to subjects CB1 and CB3.

CB3 – Business Management

This subject provides an understanding of the wider business content in which actuaries operate, including consideration of relevant case studies.  It includes consideration of business strategy, competition, culture, values and behaviour, change management, leadership and team-working.

This subject is closely linked to subjects CB1 and CB2

Later IFoA Exams

The relationship between the Core Principles exams and the other IFoA exams is briefly set out below.

The Core Practice (CP) subjects assume knowledge and understanding across all the Core Principles (CS, CM, CB) subjects, as they build upon the principles and concepts developed there.

The Specialist Principles (SP) subjects and the Specialist Advanced (SA) subjects use the concepts developed in the CS, CM, CB and CP subjects to solve complex problems, to produce coherent advice and to make recommendations in specific practice areas.

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Contact Details

Education Services Team

education.services@actuaries.org.uk

Institute and Faculty of Actuaries, 1st Floor, Park Central, 40/41 Park End Street, Oxford, OX1 1JD

+44 01865 268207

We aim to respond to all enquiries within two working days.

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Events calendar

  • KSS event in Glasgow: Public Sector Pensions

    Hymans Robertson, Glasgow 20 Waterloo St, Glasgow
    30 January 2020

    Spaces available

    – the unappreciated key assumption, the resulting unsustainable promises, the unmanaged risk and the unrecognised debt? 

    Speaker: Allan Martin will present this talk on 30 January in Glasgow, Stirling and Edinburgh. If you wish to register for another location please return to the Events Calendar.

  • KSS event in Stirling: Public Sector Pensions

    M&G Prudential, Stirling Craigforth Campus, Stirling
    30 January 2020

    Spaces available

    – the unappreciated key assumption, the resulting unsustainable promises, the unmanaged risk and the unrecognised debt? 

    Speaker: Allan Martin will present this talk on 30 January in Glasgow, Stirling and Edinburgh. If you wish to register for another location please return to the Events Calendar.

  • KSS event in Edinburgh: Public Sector Pensions

    Hymans Robertson 1, Exchange Place, Semple St, Edinburgh
    30 January 2020

    Spaces available

    – the unappreciated key assumption, the resulting unsustainable promises, the unmanaged risk and the unrecognised debt? 

    Speaker: Allan Martin will present this talk on 30 January in Glasgow, Stirling and Edinburgh. If you wish to register for another location please return to the Events Calendar.

  • The Great Risk Transfer – Breakfast briefing and launch event

    Staple Inn Hall, High Holborn London WC1V 7QJ
    31 January 2020

    Fully booked.

     

    Launch of the IFoA’s 2020 thought leadership campaign The Great Risk Transfer. The campaign will examine the trend of the transfer of risk from institutions to individuals, and how people can be better equipped to manage the financial risks they now face. At this breakfast event the IFoA will launch a call for evidence on this topic.

  • Joint IFoA and SOAT Professional Skills Training event - Bangkok

    Thai Life Insurance PCL, 13th Floor, Meeting Room 13/2, 123 Ratchadaphisek Road, Din Daeng, Bangkok 10400, Thailand  
    7 February 2020

    Spaces available

    This session is jointly organised by the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (IFoA) and the Society of Actuaries of Thailand (SOAT).

    Video case studies will be selected from the IFoA’s 2019/2020 online content which covers a range of topics under an overarching theme of “A Trusted Profession”. This session is suitable for actuaries working in any area (i.e. it is not specifically aimed at Life, GI or any other technical discipline) and is interactive, so you should come along prepared to take part in the discussions.

     

  • Cyber Risk Event

    Staple Inn Hall, High Holborn, London, WC1V 7QJ
    10 February 2020

    Spaces available

    What do good cyber practices look like and, to what extent, can we as an industry implement these operationally and recognise these for underwriting?

  • KSS event: Where now for pensions?

    Royal London Group, 1 Thistle Street, Edinburgh, EH2 1DG
    18 February 2020

    Spaces available

    With a single party government at Westminster holding a comfortable majority, and with the first phase of Brexit complete, the potential for radical reforms of the pensions landscape is increased. 

    Former Pensions Minister Steve Webb discusses what changes we can expect to see in pensions including in state pensions, pension tax relief, automatic enrolment and the workplace pension landscape.

  • Sessional: Impact of E-cigarettes Working Party

    Royal College of Physicians, 9 Queen St, Edinburgh EH2 1JQ
    24 February 2020

    Spaces available

    This sessional meeting will be of direct interest to actuaries and others working in the in the Health and Care, Life or Pensions sectors or indeed actuaries with an interest in morbidity or mortality. Note: Registration is from 17.30 in time for the sessional to begin at 18.00.

  • KSS event: How is Scotland’s population changing and what are the implications?

    New Register House, 3 West Register Street, Edinburgh
    5 March 2020

    Spaces available

    The National Records of Scotland (NRS) collects, preserves and produces information about Scotland's people and history to inform current and future generations - work that underpins the fabric of Scottish society and tells the story of our nation. This KSS talk will explore the following and other areas impacting Scotland’s changing population, and assess the potential implications of the changes:

  • Highlights of the Life Conference 2019 - London

    America Square Conference Centre, 17, One Crosswall, America Square, London EC3N 2LB  
    11 March 2020

    Spaces available

    This event will cover the highlights from the Life Conference 2019 held in Dublin.. The Conference Committee has reviewed session feedback and has put together a high-quality technical programme featuring the best sessions from the Life Conference 2019.  Book now to ensure your place.

  • Board agenda: Why Responsible Investing, ESG, and Climate Change matters to Pension Funds, Companies

    Staple Inn, 4 High Holborn, Holborn, London. WC1V 6DR, UK
    19 March 2020

    Spaces available

    Recent years have seen ESG, Climate Change, and Responsible Investing thrust onto the corporate agenda in every boardroom. The same also be said for pension funds. Expectations of how companies should respond are high and NEDs on Boards are expected to adapt and adjust their guidance to companies accordingly. What does this mean for Actuaries serving as NEDs and Trustees?

  • KSS event: A Cashless Society- Benefits, Risks, Issues and Developments

    Deloitte, 4th Floor, Saltire Court, 20 Castle Terrace
    19 March 2020

    Spaces available

    Speaker: Iain Collier, Chair of the CSWP

    The talk will look to cover the following: Progression towards a Cashless Society • Developments home and overseas • Benefits, Risks and Issues • Crypto Currencies and Central Bank Digital Currencies.

    There will be an extended Q&A session at the end of the event.

  • Spring Lecture 2020, Edinburgh - Vicky Pryce

    Assembly Rooms, 54 George St, Edinburgh EH2 2LR
    25 March 2020

    Spaces available

    What next in Economic Policy? Please join us for our annual Spring Lecture presented by Vicky Pryce in Edinburgh. Vicky is Chief Economic Adviser and a board member at the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR).

  • Spring Lecture 2020: Live Streaming at Staple Inn - Vicky Pryce

    Staple Inn Hall, High Holborn, London, WC1 V 7QJ
    25 March 2020

    Spaces available

    This event will be live streamed from Edinburgh. 

    What next in Economic Policy? Please join us for our annual Spring Lecture presented by Vicky Pryce in Edinburgh. Vicky is Chief Economic Adviser and a board member at the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR).

  • Spring Lecture 2020: Live Streaming

    Webinar
    25 March 2020

    Spaces available

    What next in Economic Policy? Please join us on 25 March 2020 for the live stream of our annual Spring Lecture presented by Vicky Pryce in Edinburgh. Vicky is Chief Economic Adviser and a board member at the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR).

  • SIAS Event: CMI Update

    Staple Inn Hall, High Holborn, London, WC1V 7QJ
    1 April 2020

    Spaces available

    Following the release of the updated CMI Mortality Projection Model, CMI_2019, the CMI Mortality Projections Committee will lead a discussion on future mortality improvements.

  • IFoA Asia Conference 2020, Kuala Lumpur

    CCEC Nexus, 7, Jalan Kerinchi, Bangsar South, 59200 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
    24-25 June 2020
    Spaces available

    Join us at the IFoA Asia Conference 2020 at CCEC Nexus, Kuala Lumpur where intellectual thought leaders, senior industry players, opinion formers, academics, actuaries and non-actuaries from across Asia and beyond are expected to attend. This year's landmark conference promises to an exciting one as our first Asian President-elect, Tan Suee Chieh will, as newly appointed president of the IFoA, use his presidential address to highlight the two key pillars of the IFoA’s emerging strategy:

    • the reinvention of the profession in terms of its skillsets and mind-sets so that we can thrive in an increasing range of domains in a digital age;
    • the widening application of actuarial science in achieving social impact and sustainability goals.

    We are also delighted to announce that the Honourable Mr. Lim Guan Eng, Minister of Finance, Malaysia, will be the guest of honour at this year's conference.

    Early bird registration is now open until 1 March.  10% group discounts are offered to a minimum of six IFoA members booking in a single transaction.  Limited spaces are available, so please sign-up early to avoid disappointment.