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Student FAQ – Chartered Actuary proposal

Why are you proposing changes to the qualification framework?  

Council has been considering the ever increasing pace of change in the actuarial profession and how we can best support you.

We engaged with actuarial employers and other stakeholders who advised us that, in order to keep up with these challenges, we need to create a more contemporary, relevant qualification framework: one that ensures qualifiers are equipped to meet the changing priorities of employers and remain fit for the future. As a result of these conversations we have developed a proposal that will have the explicit aim of improving the long-term employability of those who qualify as actuaries through the IFoA.

What changes are being proposed?

The key features of the proposed framework would be:

  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. Current Student members 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.

Will it change the exams I am taking?

No changes are intended at this point. If you are a current Student of the IFoA then the changes will not be applicable to you; they will only apply to those Students who join the IFoA after the implementation date in 2018 if the proposal is agreed by our membership, Council and the Privy Council.

Current Student members who meet the CAct standard can, if they wish, transfer to this membership category.

What else is required of me aside from the exams I have to take to reach Chartered Actuary/Associate level?

It is important to note the Personal and Professional Development (PPD) and Professional Skills requirement that is needed alongside your exams.  

These elements develop your workplace skill-set to enable you to work effectively as an IFoA qualified actuary through:

  • Practical application of the knowledge and skills you have gained through the IFoA examinations
  • Developing your understanding of the business environment, and how to work within a professional and ethical framework
  • Understanding the need for continuing development of yourself and your skills, and to reflect on the quality of your work and how you can improve in the future
  • Ensuring you have a good understanding of the Actuaries' Code and your obligations under it as a member of a professional body.

Will it matter if I don’t become a Fellow?

No.  The Chartered Actuary qualification will be the initial qualification for fully qualified actuaries, enabling you to practice globally as a qualified actuary with the IFoA.

After the launch date of the proposed framework, any new Student member will be required to complete the CAct qualification before taking any further examinations towards Fellowship. Current Student members who meet the CAct standard can, if they wish, transfer to this membership category.

Our current framework trains people to be highly competent actuarial specialists. While it is clear from talking to businesses that there will always be a need for such specialists, they also need highly competent generalists with a core actuarial skill-set. 

Will the cost of qualifying change?

The cost of exams up to Chartered Actuary/Associate will remain consistent with the cost of the exams to the current Associate level.

Why is the Chartered Actuary qualification the new initial qualification? Why can’t I continue as a Student up to Fellowship?

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.

You can continue up to Fellowship if you wish to and it is necessary for your role. After the launch date of the proposed framework, any new Student member will be required to complete the CAct qualification before taking any further examinations towards Fellowship. Current Student members who meet the CAct standard can, if they wish, transfer to this membership category.

Would these changes impact on my exemptions?

No.  Students will still be able to apply for exemptions for their academic qualifications.

How is this going to improve my employment chances?

The proposal supports employers’ feedback that although there will always be a need for Fellows, companies also need highly competent generalists with a core actuarial skillset. This reflects the growing relevance of the actuarial skill set within the wider professional services and will enable actuaries to achieve a highly recognised qualification more quickly, enabling them to compete for non-specialist roles alongside other professionals.

Why won’t I get a vote on this change?

Under the current IFoA Bye-laws, Students do not have the right to vote. However, the IFoA is very keen to hear the views of current Student members during the formal consultation period.

What if I have already met/surpassed the new requirements of the proposed Associateship?

If you have already surpassed the requirements of the re-positioned qualification, you will be able to apply for the Chartered Actuary credential. 

What do I get if I was to qualify as a Chartered Actuary?

You will be invited to attend a Qualifiers ceremony, obtain a certificate and formal post-nominals to indicate that you have attained the status of a fully qualified actuary. 

Once qualified as a Chartered Actuary, will I still be able to use the Associate title?

Yes. Chartered Actuaries will still be able to refer to themselves as Associates to aid comparison with actuaries from other qualifying bodies.

Where can I find out more?

A dedicated email address ( 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.

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Events calendar

  • The Growth Mindset for Actuaries

    13 October 2021 - 8 December 2021

    Fully booked.

    This practical course is aimed at actuaries at any stage of their career who want to develop their own growth mindset and apply it to their work setting and personal or professional lifelong learning. The content of the course builds on the lecture given by Dr Helen Wright on Growth Mindset as part of the President’s 2021 Lecture series, and will be delivered over a period of 2 months, from mid-October to early December.

  • Spaces available

    The role of actuaries within the health sector varies considerably from one country to another, due to differences in the local evolution of health systems and the funding models for health services. 

  • Spaces available

    This paper outlines key frameworks for reserving validation and techniques employed. Many companies lack an embedded reserve validation framework and validation is viewed as piecemeal and unstructured.  The paper outlines a case study demonstrating how successful machine learning techniques will become and then goes on to discuss implications.  The paper explores common validation approaches and their role in enhancing governance and confidence.

  • Spaces available

    Content will be aimed at all actuaries looking to understand the issues surrounding mental health in insurance and in particular those looking to ensure products and processes widen access for, and are most useful to, those experiencing periods of poor mental health.

  • Spaces available

    The IFoA Policy Briefing 'Can we help consumers avoid running out of money in retirement' examined the benefits of blending a lifetime annuity with income drawdown. Panellists, including providers and advisers, will look at the market practicalities of taking the actuarial theory through into the core advice propositions used by IFAs and Fund Managers. They will share a number of practical issues such as investment consequences before and after retirement and the level of annuity that is appropriate and answer questions from the audience.

  • Speech from the Governor of the Bank of England, Andrew Bailey

    Lincoln's Inn The Treasury Office, London WC2A 3TL
    1 December 2021

    The IFoA is pleased to be hosting the Governor of the Bank of England, Andrew Bailey, to deliver a speech on delivering policyholder protection in insurance regulation.

    The speech will be presented to an in-person audience, and simultaneously live-streamed, at 14.00 on Wednesday 1st December.

  • The Many Faces of Bias

    2 December 2021

    Spaces available

    This webinar looks at the many types of biases, both conscious and unconscious and the impacts they can have in the workplace.  Raising our own awareness and understanding of the issues can help us avoid the pitfalls of unconscious bias in particular.  We’ve all heard the phrase ‘office banter’ but are we sure that’s how those on the receiving end perceive it and is it ok to go along with it?

  • Spaces available

    Actuaries need to take action now - but how?  With a focus on climate change, this session will provide informed insight to enable you to improve your knowledge and understanding of the issues involved, demonstrate how it will impact advice to your clients, and highlight prospective opportunities for actuaries within pensions and wider fields.

  • Spaces available

    Pension scams have become more prevalent as a result of the pandemic, and Trustees have increased responsibilities to protect members, which means that actuaries need to be in a position to provide advice in this area. Our specialist panel will include a professional trustee, an IFA and head administrator, two of whom are members of PASA.

  • Spaces available

    The covid-19 pandemic creates a challenge for actuaries analysing experience data that includes mortality shocks.  To address this we present a methodology for modelling portfolio mortality data that offers local flexibility in the time dimension.  The approach permits the identification of seasonal variation, mortality shocks and late-reported deaths.  The methodology also allows actuaries to measure portfolio-specific mortality improvements.  Results are given for a mature annuity portfolio in the UK

  • Spaces available

    In this webinar, the authors of the 2021 Brian Hey prize winning paper present a new deep learning model called the LocalGLMnet. While deep learning models lead to very competitive regression models, often outperforming classical statistical models such as generalized linear models, the disadvantage is that deep learning solutions are difficult to interpret and explain, and variable selection is not easily possible.

  • Spaces available

    The dominant underwriting approach is a mix between rule-based engines and traditional underwriting. Applications are first assessed by automated rule-based engines which typically are capable of processing only simple applications. The remaining applications are reviewed by underwriters or referred to the reinsurers. This research aims to construct predictive machine learning models for complicated applications that cannot be processed by rule-based engines.

  • Spaces available

    With the Pension Schemes Act 2021 requiring a long term strategy from Trustees and sponsors, choosing a pensions endgame strategy has become even more critical. However, it is important that the endgame options available are adequately assessed before choosing one. With an ever-increasing array of creative and innovative options available, this decision may not be straightforward.