PPD – A summary of what you need to know
In 2017 the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries have introduced a new Personal and Professional Development (PPD) scheme for actuarial students, which will replace the Work-based Skills (WBS) scheme currently in use. Three years of PPD will soon be a requirement for anybody wishing to qualify as an actuarial Fellow but there are special transition rules for people who have already started recording WBS.
If you are an actuarial student in the UK, here is a quick run-down of what you need to know:
- There are three overall Objectives: Effective Communication, Problem Solving & Decision Making, and Professionalism.
- Each Objective has Competencies worth one or two credits each. You can log a Competency by talking with your supervisor then writing about a relevant work experience you have had.
- To qualify as a Fellow you have to log 20 credits over three years (as well as passing your exams!), with a minimum of three credits in each individual year.
- You also need to do two hours of formal learning each year. If you have to do CPD hours as well, the formal learning hours are in addition to those (students only have to do CPD hours after completing the Professional Skills Course, which takes place between the fourth and sixth anniversaries of joining the Profession).
- Some of the Competencies are mandatory, meaning that they have to be logged to qualify.
- Beyond this there is no specific requirement to record a minimum number of credits in each Objective but the IFoA say they encourage students to record a range of Competencies across all three Objectives.
How it works
- Everyone has their own individual PPD year, which ends on your IFoA membership anniversary.
- You have to log your Competencies online during the year in question (unlike WBS where you can submit them later).
- To log a Competency, you go onto the website, select the relevant Competency and write a paragraph or so about what you have learnt from a particular relevant work experience.
- You are expected to tick the box on the online form indicating that you have discussed this with your supervisor. If you don’t tick the box, it sounds like you won’t get the credit.
- When the IFoA audit your records, they will contact your supervisor and ask them to confirm that this discussion has taken place.
- Records are randomly audited on an annual basis, but anyone who gets to the end without an annual audit will undergo a complete audit at that time.
Examples of Competencies
The Competencies listed here are the mandatory Competencies under each Objective, but give an idea of the sort of things required:
- Effective Communication:
- Present the results of actuarial work to informed but non-technical audiences.
- Problem Solving & Decision Making:
- Analyse and prioritise stakeholder needs when designing solutions.
- Demonstrate an understanding of the role of professional and ethical standards in an actuary’s work.
- Demonstrate an understanding of the role of peer review in professional work.
- If you are going to qualify before 1 September 2018, you can ignore PPD altogether and continue with WBS.
- If you are expecting to qualify in September 2020 or later, they recommend that you start under PPD and ignore WBS.
- If you’re expecting to qualify in the middle period, you will need to do both PPD and WBS according to the following table:
|To qualify in||Minimum WBS||Minimum PPD|
|Sep 17 – Aug 18||36 months||none|
|Sep 18 – Aug 19||24 months||12 months|
|Sep 19 – Aug 20||12 months||24 months|
|Sep 20+||none||36 months|
- Note that everybody has to do a minimum of 36 months of WBS/PPD combined.
- The other requirements apply on a pro-rata basis. For example, if you do one year of PPD and two years of WBS then you will only have to log 7 credits of PPD (instead of the usual 20) and one third of the mandatory Competencies.
Hopefully the above was a useful summary of the key points. For further information, you can refer to the material published by the IFoA itself. In particular, the PPD page on their website (https://www.actuaries.org.uk/studying/personal-and-professional-development-ppd) and the PPD guide (https://www.actuaries.org.uk/documents/ppd-guide, which contains a full list of the Competencies) may be useful. Lastly, the IFoA have indicated that Education Services are willing to answer questions from any student about their individual circumstances.