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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: Business Development Manager, Singapore

Works for: Pacific Life Re Asia 

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

  • Data Science: Opportunities for Actuaries

    The IFoA's first virtual event   
    26 February 2019 - 28 February 2019

    Spaces available

    The IFoA are launching their first virtual conference on the topic of Data Science, that is free to attend. This is an exciting and forward thinking move to reach members all over the world and to share knowledge and discuss developments and techniques within data science.

  • Leicester Actuarial Science Society presents the 5th Annual Worshipful Company of Actuaries Lecture

    The University of Leicester, Ken Edwards Lecture Theatre 3 (see map and directions)
    27 February 2019

    Spaces available

    IFoA President-Elect, John Taylor will discuss his work on 'robo advice' and the implications of technology for the future of the profession, but also his thoughts about the immediate priorities for the actuarial profession based on his first year with the Presidential Team. 

    The Worshipful Company of Actuaries will also be explaining their work and presenting two prizes: one each to the best performing 2nd year and 3rd year BSc Mathematics and Actuarial Science student at the University during the session.

  • ARC: ERM Results Launch Event

    Staple inn Hall, High Holborn, London, WC1V 7QJ
    28 February 2019

    Fully booked.

     

    This event is now full. We do operate a waiting system for this event should there become availability, which you can register for here and be added to the waitlist. We will email everyone on the waiting list nearer the time to confirm whether there is availability for them to attend.

     

  • Actuaries Rock event – What happened at GIRO?

    Gibraltar Financial Services Commission P O Box 940 Suite 3, Ground Floor Atlantic Suites Europort Avenue GX11 - 1AA Gibraltar
    28 February 2019

    Spaces available

    This event is run by Actuaries Rock, the regional society for actuaries in Gibraltar. To register please email:  kmorgan@gfsc.gi 

  • SIAS Event: Challenges and Opportunities for Actuaries Working in Data Science

    Staple Inn Hall, High Holborn, London, WC1V 7QJ
    4 March 2019

    Spaces available

    This talk will present examples of the use of data science in the General Insurance and Health and Care practice areas. It will highlight some of the opportunities and challenges for actuaries in using the latest data science techniques in these fields.

    1. Lisa Balboa will present on using predictive analytics to improve health care forecasting.
    2. Alexander Hanks will present a practical example of training a neural network to fit curves to general insurance claims data.
  • Highlights of the Life Conference 2018 - London

    Ect Venues, 200 Aldersgate, St. Pauls, London EC1A 4HD
    5 March 2019

    Spaces available

    IFoA event AllThis event will cover the highlights from the Life Conference 2018 held in Liverpool. The Conference Committee has reviewed session feedback and has put together a high-quality technical programme featuring the best sessions from the Life Conference 2018.  Book now to ensure your place.

  • Life and F&I One Day Workshop

    Staple Inn Hall, High Holborn, London, WC1V 7QJ
    11 March 2019

    Spaces available

    IFoA Event Logo AllThis cross-practice event for Life actuaries and those in finance and investments roles offers high-quality CPD with a series of thought-provoking presentations covering economics and financial markets, responsible investment, CMA review outcome, FCA requirements, asset analytics, and much more.

  • Spring Lecture 2019, Edinburgh - Sir John Curtice

    Royal College of Physicians, 9 Queen St, Edinburgh EH2 1JQ
    13 March 2019

    Fully booked.

    In conjunction with the Scottish BoardEdinburgh is now full. However, you can still register here to view the event live online, allowing those who cannot attend in person to stream the lecture to their computer, laptop, tablet, and phones wherever they are in the world. 
    We do operate a waiting system for each of the Edinburgh and London venues should there be availability, which you can register for here and be added to the waitlist. We will email everyone on the waiting list nearer the time to confirm whether there is availability for them to attend.
  • Spring Lecture 2019, Live stream at Staple Inn - Professor Sir John Curtice

    Staple Inn, High Holborn, London, WC1V 7QJ
    13 March 2019

    Fully booked.

     
    In conjunction with the Scottish BoardFollowing the popularity of this year’s Spring Lecture, delivered by Professor Sir John Curtice, an additional venue has been sourced for Members to attend a London Livestream event at the Lloyd's building. Please register here. Alternatively, you can still register here  to view the event live online, allowing those who cannot attend in person to stream the lecture to their computer, laptop, tablet, and phones wherever they are in the world. 
     
  • Sessional Meeting: Investment risk for long term investors - risk measurement approaches

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

    Spaces available

    The term ‘investment risk’ is often used loosely, and frequently confused with the notion of short term price volatility, particularly for equity instruments. For the long term investor, however, what is most apposite is the ability to meet future real cash flows as they become due.

  • KSS event – Index Based Longevity Hedging

    Royal London St Andrew House, 1 Thistle St, Edinburgh EH2 1DG
    18 March 2019

    Spaces available

    This KSS talk on Index Based Longevity Hedging  -  The Dutch Experience and implications for the UK market will cover the structure of deals to date in the Dutch market; the challenges in determining the Solvency 2 capital treatment for such deals and the work done by the Longevity Risk Transfer Working Party of the Dutch Insurance Association; a proposal for a method for quantification of Basis Risk based on a recent paper “Basis Risk in Index Based Longevity Hedges: A Guide for Longevity Hedgers” by Cairns & El Boukfaoui, and implications for the future, both in terms

  • Highlights of the Life Conference 2018 - Edinburgh

    Apex Grassmarket Hotel, 31-35 Grassmarket, Edinburgh EH1 2HS
    19 March 2019

    Spaces available

    This event will cover the highlights from the Life Conference 2018 held in Liverpool. The Conference Committee has reviewed session feedback and has put together a high-quality technical programme featuring the best sessions from the Life Conference 2018.  Book now to ensure your place.

  • KSS event - FinTech and The Actuarial Profession

    Barnett Waddingham 163 West George Street, Glasgow, G2 2JJ
    20 March 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.

  • IFoA’s Diversity Advisory Group: The Power of Deep Listening

    Aviva, The Agora, Level 2B, St Helens, 1 Undershaft,  London EC3P 3DQ
    21 March 2019

    Spaces available

    8th March is International Women’s Day. The IFoA’s Diversity Advisory Group will be facilitating a session later in March as part of this celebration. Subject to availability. All members are welcomed. Please contact Susan Hunter Jones (susan.hunterjones@aviva.com) to register for the session.

  • Professional Skills Training - Edinburgh (26 March 19)

    IFoA (Edinburgh), Level 2, Exchange Crescent 7 Conference Square Edinburgh EH3 8RA
    26 March 2019

    Spaces available

    A 2 hour CPD event designed to meet the IFoA’s Stage 3 Professional Skills Training under the IFoA’s CPD Scheme 2018/2019.  This session is suitable for actuaries working in any area (i.e. it is not specifically aimed at Pensions, GI or any other technical discipline) and is interactive, so you should come along prepared to take part in the discussions.

  • Ogden Discount Rates Round Table

    Staple Inn Hall, High Holborn London WC1V 7QJ
    9 April 2019

    Spaces available

    Amid significant UK political uncertainty, the bodily injury settlement framework has continued to make progress. At the time of the Ogden discount rate change of early 2017 and throughout that year, Staple Inn was host to a set of events to discuss the changes and the subsequent MOJ review. This provided an important forum for debate, supporting your own thinking while helping inform the IFoA of the wide range of views on the subject.

  • Professional Skills Training - London (16 April 19)

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

    Fully booked.

    Please register here to join the wait list

    A 2 hour CPD event designed to meet the IFoA’s Stage 3 Professional Skills Training under the IFoA’s CPD Scheme 2018/2019.  This session is suitable for actuaries working in any area (i.e. it is not specifically aimed at Pensions, GI or any other technical discipline) and is interactive, so you should come along prepared to take part in the discussions.

  • 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.

  • Professional Skills Training - Edinburgh (30 April 19)

    IFoA (Edinburgh), Level 2, Exchange Crescent 7 Conference Square Edinburgh EH3 8RA
    30 April 2019

    Spaces available

    A 2 hour CPD event designed to meet the IFoA’s Stage 3 Professional Skills Training under the IFoA’s CPD Scheme 2018/2019.  This session is suitable for actuaries working in any area (i.e. it is not specifically aimed at Pensions, GI or any other technical discipline) and is interactive, so you should come along prepared to take part in the discussions.

  • 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.

  • 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

    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 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

  • Risk and Investment one day Conference 2019

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

    This year's Risk and Investment Conference will be taking place at Amba Hotel, Charing Cross, London.

    To book your place click here.

     

  • Sessional Research Event - Saving for Retirement: Rules of Thumb

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

    Spaces available

    How much does the average person need to save over a full working life to provide a decent retirement income? We call this the Lifetime Pension Contribution (LPC) and have attempted to quantify it.

  • Professional Skills Training - London (12 June 19)

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

    Spaces available

    A 2 hour CPD event designed to meet the IFoA’s Stage 3 Professional Skills Training under the IFoA’s CPD Scheme 2018/2019.  This session is suitable for actuaries working in any area (i.e. it is not specifically aimed at Pensions, GI or any other technical discipline) and is interactive, so you should come along prepared to take part in the discussions.

  • 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.

  • Pensions Conference 2019

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

    This year's Pensions Conference will be taking place at the Bristol Marriott City Centre.

  • 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. 

  • Professional Skills Training - London (25 June 19)

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

    Spaces available

    A 2 hour CPD event designed to meet the IFoA’s Stage 3 Professional Skills Training under the IFoA’s CPD Scheme 2018/2019. This session is suitable for actuaries working in any area (i.e. it is not specifically aimed at Pensions, GI or any other technical discipline) and is interactive, so you should come along prepared to take part in the discussions.