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Four actuaries from South-East Asia tell their story

Four actuaries in South-East Asia tell us what inspired them to take on this challenging career and what they enjoy about being an actuary.

Chris Lim Shen: Senior Analyst, Singapore

Works for: JLT Re

Chris Lim ShenWhy did you decide to become an actuary?

Analytics is becoming increasingly central to the insurance business and insightful analytics advice often forms a cornerstone of successful insurance placement. My first role at JLT Re was a catastrophe analyst, modelling natural catastrophe exposures. I had to understand natural hazard risks, modelling techniques and model sensitivities, as well as insurance market practices. As during my role, I had a keen interest to gain further exposure in risk quantification and be more involved in the business aspects of insurance so becoming an actuary became a natural progression for me.

What do you enjoy in your role?

I work in a small team in a reinsurance broker and the scope of work can be very diverse. Given the backdrop of maturity in the data science field, the increasing sophistication of the insurance industry in Asia, and the shifting insurance regulatory regimes in the region, it is clearly an exciting time to be an actuary. I enjoy making sense of numbers, applying novel ways of solving problems, and the client-facing element as that requires me to put forward analytical advice and recommendations.

What advice would you give to students who are just about to embark on their career as an actuary?

The William Bruce Cameron quote, 'not everything that counts can be counted…” is especially true for actuaries. Actuaries spend a lot of time exploring data, crunching numbers and performing analyses. However, we function best when these are coupled with a broad (qualitative) understanding of their companies, clients and industries. The ability to deliver insightful and well-structured analyses is more important than ever in a world where we have so much data.

E-Lynn Tan: Assistant Manager, Financial Risk Management and Risk Assurance Services, Malaysia

Works for: PricewaterhouseCoopers 

E-Lynn TanWhy did you decide to become an actuary?

I've always had a passion for numbers and the stories that a simple set of figures might be able to tell. Being an actuary gives me an opportunity to have a clearer understanding of different industries and how the various elements within it are interrelated.

What do you enjoy in your role?

In this role, there has never been a dull day as there are various projects that I have been placed on. From these experiences, I have been able to learn a variety of new skills as well as further develop knowledge I already have. Besides that, being able to meet different people, be it clients or even colleagues, is another perk of this job.

What advice would you give to students who are just about to embark on their career as an actuary?

Always stay passionate in this journey you are about to embark on. It will be trying at times and require a lot of hard work, but with passion you will achieve your goal.

Albertus Teddy Setiadi: Director, Business Development Actuary, Singapore

Works for: Reinsurance Group of America (RGA)

Albertus Teddy SetiadiWhy did you decide to become an actuary?

My high school teacher, whose wife works as a manager of operations in a life insurance company, introduced me to the profession.

It promised decent pay and an ability to play a central role in managing the insurance industry by combining mathematical / statistical skills with business acumen.

As a young high school graduate who loves mathematics, the idea intrigued me and led me to pursue an actuarial course at university.

What do you enjoy in your role?

I enjoy getting exposure to strategic overviews in running both reinsurance and insurance business. This comes from various sales meetings with both senior internal and external stakeholders. It gives me insight on dynamic challenges in managing and running a successful company. Something I hope will be a handy skill one day in running my very own business.

I personally enjoy developing a positive working relationship with my clients. It gives me positive motivation when I am able to solve their problems and as a result, become their "first-to-go-to" contact. This makes my work feel more meaningful.

I also enjoy the opportunity to apply my technical actuarial skills to creatively deliver innovative solutions for my clients whilst ensuring robust risk management practice. I feel a sense of personal pride when I see this solution being applied and delivering meaningful value to the client, distribution channel and policyholders. Of course, in doing so, I enjoy being supported and working alongside my helpful colleagues from actuarial pricing, product development and underwriting departments.

What advice do you give to students who are just about to embark on their career as an actuary?

Keep your eyes on the end reward and use that as a drive to complete the exams. Personally, the reward that my high school teacher mentioned came true with a lot of other upsides as well, such as a sense of personal pride and satisfaction. I could only wonder what other exciting opportunities the career might bring given the role of ‘the actuary’ is likely to expand.

Charlotte Man Yin Shan: Senior Executive, Actuarial Pricing, Singapore

Works for: Prudential Assurance Company Singapore

Why did you decide to become an actuary?

During high school, my ambition was to become a doctor or a pharmacist. It was a popular choice among my fellow classmates. When I was studying A Levels in college, I came across this term – Actuarial Science - it was something new. All that we knew about this course was that it involves risk calculation, statistical analytics and probability simulation. I thought it was quite cool and challenging, so I did more research and then I became really interested. So, I embarked on my study of actuarial science at Heriot-Watt University, Scotland. In May 2015, I graduated with a first class honours degree and with eight full exemptions from the IFoA’s exams.

What do you enjoy in your role?

I started my career as a fresh graduate in the Prudential Assurance Company Singapore. My main portfolio is group business pricing and I have dealt with all kinds of tailor-made group business quotations. Most of the time, we have to ensure the competitiveness of our pricing, while making sure that it passes the financial requirement set by the Company and also Regulators. What I enjoy most in my role is that I can interact with different stakeholders and learn what part each role plays. As an actuarial graduate, I felt accomplished that we could use our strong numerical sense and fundamental analytical skills to add value to the whole organisation.

What advice would you give to students who are just about to embark on their career as an actuary?

Data science is emerging and the importance of the actuary will also continue to grow in this era as while the robot helps you to do the ground work you will still need expert judgement. So, if you think actuarial science is something for you, do it and don’t be afraid! Last but not least, one cannot deny the fact that an actuary can have both a personally rewarding and a well-paid career!

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Events calendar

  • TIGI 2019 (Technical Issues in General Insurance)

    Royal College of Physicians, 11 St Andrews Place, Regent's Park, London, NW1 4LE
    25-26 April 2019
    Spaces available

    This General Insurance CPD offering has been changed from former years of individual one day seminars to include individual sessions for IFRS 17, Pricing, Capital Modelling and Reserving over a two-day event  packaged as Technical Issues in General Insurance, providing attendees with a varied program . The event is suitable for anyone who works, or are interested, in these areas.

  • Fully booked.

    Data Visualisation helps to communicate information clearly and effectively through graphical means.  This talk will showcase some visualisations that the working party has found useful for common actuarial situations.  The event is now full, however if you would like to join a waiting list, please email Barry_shannon@standardlife.com

  • Francophone Actuaries Meeting 2019

    Aviva, Saint Helen's, 1 Undershaft, London EC3P 3DQ, UK
    2 May 2019

    Spaces available

    L'Institut des Actuaires and French actuaries in the UK, partnered with Aviva, are delighted to be hosting their annual "l'afterwork" event for French speaking actuaries in the UK. The event will mix French and English interventions.

    Register via this link to be added to the guest list:  https://www.eventbrite.com/e/rencontre-annuelle-des-actuaires-francophones-londres-tickets-59758941603

     

     

  • Spaces available

    CPD

    CPD
    1.00 hours

    The CMI SAPS Mortality Committee and Mortality Projections Committee will be holding a joint webinar, aimed primarily at pension scheme trustees, describing considerations relating to setting longevity assumptions in 2019.

  • SIAS EVENT - Hurricane Clustering: A New Reality?

    Staple Inn Hall, High Holborn, London, WC1V 7QJ
    7 May 2019

    Spaces available

    The 2017 North Atlantic hurricane season was one of the most active on record. We saw multiple hurricanes coming close together causing significant damage and human loss. The talk discusses whether 2017 was an exceptional year or indicative of what we expect to see in the near future, and the implications for (re)insurers.

  • IFoA Asia Conference 2019, Chengdu

    Crowne Plaza Chengdu Panda Garden, Poly Park 198, No. 1980 ShuLong Avenue,Xindu District, Chengdu
    09-10 May 2019
    Spaces available

    IfoA Logo for eventsOffering a diverse selection of plenary sessions and cross-practice workshops, the annual Asia Conference is the perfect opportunity to discover and discuss current and developing actuarial topics in Asia, whilst providing excellent opportunity to grow your network of contacts.

  • DAG event - Can we overcome unconscious bias?

    KPMG LLP  Saltire Court,  20 Castle Terrace, Edinburgh EH1 2EG
    9 May 2019

    Spaces available

    This session will examine our biases, look at what it feels like to be an outsider and give attendees practical tools and actions we can all take to support and grow diversity and inclusion, within the profession. This session is also designed to meet the objectives of the IFoA’s Stage 3 Professional Skills Training for experienced members.

  • KSS event – IQ+EQ = Future Success

    Royal London, 1 Thistle Street, Edinburgh
    14 May 2019

    Spaces available

    In this interactive session, our facilitators, Russell Borland and Thomas Chalmers, Partners of UK-based coaching consulting firm, Leading Figures, will explore how we can enhance our EQ to make the most of our IQ. They will introduce an Emotional Intelligence framework developed by psychologist Daniel Goleman and provide participants with an opportunity to personally assess their own Emotional Intelligence.  To register please email Caitlin.stronach@royallondon.com

  • CILA 2019

    30 Euston Square, London NW1 2FB
    14 May 2019

    Spaces available

    CILA is one of the pre-eminent events in the annual Life calendar. It is aimed at practicing life actuaries from life offices, consulting firms and other employers of actuaries. It will also be of interest to all those who work in or advise on, the life assurance market in the UK and Europe.

  • KSS event – Bulk Annuity Market Update

    Willis Towers Watson 2 Lochrin Square, 96 Fountainbridge, Edinburgh EH3 9QA
    15 May 2019

    Fully booked.

    This KSS talk will give a bulk annuity market update over 2018 and for 2019 and beyond.  The presenters will also consider bulk annuity options as part of pension scheme de-risking strategies, and how pension schemes can best prepare when requesting a quote in order to achieve a favourable outcome. Please note this event is now full, however, if you wish to join a waiting list, please email Dawn.Neil@willistowerswatson.com.

  • KSS event – Bulk Annuity Market Update

    Willis Towers Watson 2 West Regent Street Glasgow G2 1RW
    16 May 2019

    Spaces available

    This KSS talk will give a bulk annuity market update over 2018 and for 2019 and beyond. The presenters will also consider bulk annuity options as part of pension scheme de-risking strategies, and how pension schemes can best prepare when requesting a quote in order to achieve a favourable outcome. To book a place please email Dawn.Neil@willistowerswatson.com

  • How to protect SMEs from Cyber Attacks

    Staple Inn Hall, High Holborn, London, WC1V 7QJ.  
    16 May 2019

    Spaces available

    The aim of this interdisciplinary symposium is to gain understanding and awareness of UK private SMEs about their insurance need as a part of cyber risk management and mitigation strategies.

  • Risk and Investment Conference 2019

    Amba Hotel, Charing Cross, Strand, London WC2N 5HX
    20-21 May 2019
    Spaces available

    This year's event begins with a Professional Skills Training plenary to help build your CPD, followed by a formal drinks reception and dinner on the evening of 20 May.  The following day will then be a programme full of topical plenaries and workshops covering the latest trends and topical issues in the risk and investment sector with plenty of opportunities to network with colleagues and build your CPD.

  • LMS Invited Lectures 2019

    ICMS, The Bayes Centre, 47 Potterrow, Edinburgh EH8 9BT
    20 May 2019 - 24 May 2019

    Spaces available

    On May 20-24 2019, Prof Søren Asmussen (Aarhus University) will deliver a course on lectures on advanced topics in life insurance mathematics.  This will be held at the International Centre for Mathematical Sciences, Edinburgh, and will be accompanied by supporting lectures from Prof Corina Constantinescu (University of Liverpool) and Prof Andrew Cairns (Heriot-Watt University). To register, please visit https://www.icms.org.uk/LMSAsmussen.php.

  • Mortality and Longevity Symposium 2019

    ICC Birmingham, Broad St, Birmingham B1 2EA
    04-05 June 2019
    Spaces available

    The Mortality and Longevity Symposium aims to expand delegates’ horizons by giving a better view of the scope of current mortality research in a wide variety of relevant disciplines, and by providing a forum to discuss the implications for actuarial practice and it will be of interest to all actuaries concerned with setting or reviewing mortality and longevity assumptions, underwriters, demographers, epidemiologists, policy-

  • Protection, Health and Care Conference 2019

    ICC Birmingham  Broad St, Birmingham B1 2EA
    04-06 June 2019
    Spaces available

    The Protection, Health and Care Conference is an annual conference aimed at all insurance professionals with a passion for harnessing insurance risk in their organisations. The conference uses a combination of workshops by individuals who work at the coalface and ‘big name’ experts to explore how innovation, technological/medical advances, the political landscape and other market development will impact the Protection, Health and Care markets.

  • Pensions Conference 2019

    Bristol Marriott Hotel City Centre, 2 Lower Castle Street, Old Market, Bristol, BS1 3AD
    18-19 June 2019
    Spaces available

    Covering current topics and industry trends, the conference also includes a pre-conference evening dinner (18 June) giving you the opportunity to develop your network. 

  • NED Event: Behavioural Finance and Boards

    Staple Inn Hall, High Holborn, London, WC1V 7QJ
    18 June 2019

    Spaces available

    Substantial work has been undertaken in the field of behavioural finance to explore the psychological factors affecting investment decisions made by individuals.  In contrast, “behavioural” factors (such as politics or human psychology) affecting decisions and actions made by institutional investors, such as insurers or pension schemes, are less understood.

  • KSS event – FinTech and The Actuarial Profession

    EY, Atria One, 144 Morrison Street, Edinburgh
    19 June 2019

    Spaces available

    This KSS talk from FinTech Scotland's CEO will explore the mission to create an integrated Fintech ecosystem through provision of funding, support, infrastructure and talent that recognises and responds to the needs of all stakeholders - and the overarching aim for Scotland to be one of the top 5 Fintech global leaders by 2020.

    To book your place, please email Barry_Shannon@standardlife.com 

  • Current Issues in General Insurance (CIGI) 2019

    Inmarsat, 99 City Road, London, EC1Y 1BJ
    19 June 2019

    Spaces available

    CIGI will provide an excellent and diverse line-up of speakers, each providing their insight and knowledge on a range of topics.  The programme will be broad in nature, so will be of most value to those with some experience in the industry. 

  • AGM and Presidential Address 2019

    The Hub  Castlehill Edinburgh EH1 2NE
    26 June 2019

    Spaces available

    Notice is hereby given that the ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING of the INSTITUTE AND FACULTY OF ACTUARIES will be held at The Hub, Edinburgh on Wednesday 26 June 2019 at 16.30 (Preceded by tea from 16.00) and followed by a PRESIDENTIAL ADDRESS given by John Taylor.

  • SIAS: The Impact of Air Pollution on Health and Life Expectancy

    Staple Inn Hall, High Holborn, London, WC1V 7QJ
    2 July 2019

    Spaces available

    Air pollution has gained increasing attention lately. Nicola Oliver, head of longevity and mortality research for Medical Intelligence, will discuss not only the impacts of air pollution on health and life expectancy but also how as an industry we should be addressing it.

  • GIRO Conference 2019

    EICC, The Exchange, 150 Morrison St, Edinburgh EH3 8EE
    24-26 September 2019
    Spaces available

    GIRO is attended annually by over 800 delegates and speakers who are keen to discuss key topics such as Pricing, Reserving, Modelling and the future of the insurance industry. GIRO 2018 was a huge success and we have opened bookings early for what we hope will be another brilliant conference at the EICC in Edinburgh this year.