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Fellows FAQ – Chartered Actuary proposal

What is the rationale for doing this?

Following discussions with our stakeholders, we understand that there will always be demand for the high levels of specialism demonstrated by Fellows; particularly in established areas of actuarial employment such as pensions and insurance. 

Yet in order to remain relevant and broaden the profession, the IFoA needs a qualification framework that responds to the changing needs of industry. We must develop actuaries with a broad generalist skill-set who can adapt to a wide range of corporate roles, as well as actuaries who have a deeply specialist skill-set to fulfil highly regulated roles.

Fellowship will remain the IFoA's most senior qualification and membership category and any new Student member will be required to complete the CAct qualification before taking any further examinations towards Fellowship. Transitional arrangements will apply to current Student members and those who meet the CAct standard can, if they wish, transfer to this membership category.

What changes are being proposed?

  1. The level of Fellowship would remain unchanged
  2. Qualification as a recognised actuarial professional would focus initially on the generalist actuarial skills which are developed in the core part of our current and future Curriculum 2019
  3. This initial qualification would be established around the current IFoA Associate level
  4. The qualification would be re-titled 'Chartered Actuary' (CAct) 
  5. The curriculum for CAct would be aligned to the new International Actuarial Association (IAA) syllabus to ensure it is globally recognised, with the additional requirement for one year’s supervised work-based Personal and Professional Development (PPD): this PPD requirement would be identical to that currently required for IFoA Associateship
  6. After the launch date of the proposed framework, any new Student member would be required to complete the CAct qualification before taking any further examinations towards Fellowship. Transitional arrangements will apply to current Student members. Those who meet the CAct standard can, if they wish, transfer to this membership category.
  7. Chartered Actuaries would use the post-nominal ‘CAct’, with members who subsequently qualify as Fellows entitled to use both their Fellowship and CAct post-nominals.

Why are you making it easier to qualify?

We are not making it easier to qualify: the proposal will help to reduce the time it takes to qualify with core generalist actuarial skills, but we are not reducing the rigour of our examinations.

This proposal will also align the IFoA with the international market where an increasingly large proportion of our members operate, and will become the formal initial qualification for fully qualified actuaries who will possess 'core actuarial competencies'.

Are you devaluing the status of Fellows?

Absolutely not. IFoA qualifications are highly regarded as being market leading in terms of quality.  The Chartered Actuary qualification and brand maintains the IFoA's commitment to producing globally recognised, relevant, high quality qualifications.

What impact will this have on my subscriptions?

The Fellowship subscription will continue to be set in the usual way by Council. We will review the route to Fellowship in line with our Curriculum changes and development of the Chartered Actuary qualification. Any changes will be communicated to you as soon as possible.

Can I be a Fellow and a Chartered Actuary?

Yes. If you have qualified as a Fellow you will also be entitled to call yourself a Chartered Actuary, subject to conditions associated with use of CAct.

What impact will this have on my CPD requirements?

CPD requirements remain an important feature of our regulatory environment that helps to bring confidence in the work of actuaries.  We will continue to review the specific CPD requirements to ensure that they remain appropriate, including to take account of these proposed changes.

What’s the point in Fellowship status?

Actuarial employers have fed back to us that there will always be a demand for the high levels of specialism demonstrated by our Fellows; particularly in established areas of actuarial employment such as pensions and insurance.  However, they also need a more flexible qualification framework, which ensures that their employees are working to the level that is needed for the roles that they are undertaking.

Certain roles within the actuarial industry will always require the specialist knowledge of Fellows. Working as a Fellow within the market will showcase your knowledge and experience and will retain the reputation of having achieved a ‘gold standard’ qualification. Fellows will have the broad skill-set of a Chartered Actuary/Associate but they will also have the specialist skills and experience required for their role.

Do these changes mean that the IFoA is losing its distinctiveness?

On the contrary, the re-positioned Associateship (with the badge of Chartered Actuary) will retain all the features of a high quality, globally recognised qualification that the external world associates with the IFoA.

Is this driven by international concerns?

No, it is externally driven. It will bring the IFoA qualification framework into line with the global market for actuaries and the minimum competency standard for qualified actuaries being developed by the International Actuarial Association.

Does this impact on reserved roles that have been defined in legislation?

No. Fellows undertaking reserved roles will still need to obtain a Practising Certificate in the UK, and in accordance with relevant legislation where applicable around the world.

Where can I find out more?

A dedicated email address (consultation@actuaries.org.uk) has been set up where you can send us any questions you might have about the proposal.  We will respond to any queries within five working days, and will refresh the FAQ section on the website regularly in light of queries received.

Please also spend some time giving us your feedback via our consultation survey.  We will also hold two interactive webinars during the consultation period on 11 December at 9.00 and 17.00 (GMT). You can register for the consultation webinars here.