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Actuarial Associate Profiles

In the profiles below, two APR associates give their thoughts on what attracted them to APR and how they have found working here.

Gajan Sivarajah

Before APRGajan Sivarajah

I joined APR as a qualified actuary having spent 3 years at KPMG and Hymans Robertson.  I gained some experience at KPMG on large projects involving Financial Transformation, M&A and additionally within the in-house Mortality team.  At Hymans Robertson I used my Mortality experience to modify an in-house system to produce accurate mortality rates for the purposes of Longevity transactions.

Motivation for joining

Having observed contractors whilst on projects at KPMG I was fascinated by the flexibility of their working life and their (relatively) high remuneration!  They had the ability to experience many different cultures and roles, and so could expand their skill set beyond what a permanent member of staff was able to do.  Working at a consultancy on a project did not offer the opportunity to truly experience a different working culture.

APR’s base solution is to send either their permanent staff or contractors on an interim basis to provide actuarial services.  As the business has grown, the range of services has too.  For example, a data analytics solution is at its early stages of development.  This makes APR an exciting place to work in which real influence on key decisions can be exerted.

Retained Associate role

The retained associate role offers an excellent way of experiencing the life and upsides of a contractor without the risk of long periods between projects.  There is no guarantee of constantly being on a project.   However, the ability to work in-house provides an opportunity to enhance one’s CV whilst between projects.  This protection is not available to contractors.

Additionally, the interests of the partners and the retained associate are completely aligned – I have been able to rely on the expertise of actuaries who have years of experience in placing people on projects.  Another advantage is the ability to work at (mainly) insurers around the country without having to completely relocate your life.  This widens the range of clients and roles available.

It’s a fairly unique role not offered by any other company.  The only downside of it is that it’s rather difficult to explain how your employment works to a stranger!

And finally

The main pull of APR is the level of its permanent staff.  APR’s testing process, which is different from any other I’ve experienced, genuinely does filter its applicants down to some of the most numerate amongst actuarial graduates.  The reputation of APR staff with clients has opened up exclusive roles for me during my two and a half years there.

James Cooper

Actuarial background

My actuarial career started at Friends Provident during my Placement year away from my degree at the University of East Anglia.  Requested to return after graduation to (then) Friends Life, I joined the Retirement Income pricing team and, after two years, rotated into the International Marketing team, where we priced unit linked savings contracts for domestic and overseas markets.

I spent two years within this rotation before a merger with Aviva and subsequent restructures meant that our roles were relocated to other locations.  Having made solid progress with my exams what I yearned for most was to experience different roles beyond Pricing, and so a move away from Aviva seemed like the best step.

Joining APR

During my re-evaluation phase, I was lucky enough to be seated next to a current APR staff member at a SIAS networking event and was struck by the enthusiasm with which he talked about his various roles and his career at APR.  It was obvious that APR was a place that would bring out the best in me and give me the challenge I was looking for while giving me access to a wide range of projects and actuarial experiences.  After a short but perfectly engineered recruitment process and a couple weeks of intensive training on coding, financial regulations, best practices, project management and increasing my technical expertise, I was placed into my first project.

Current project

Since joining APR in August 2016 I have taken up a project preparing a company for the implementation of Solvency II Pillar 3 while working on their BAU Financial Reporting process; living and working in Birmingham has also given me the chance to explore a new city!

APR future

I have no idea which kind of actuarial role my next project might take me into but I know that I’ll be able to choose from a wide variety of locations, companies and experiences.  From meeting the APR partners and other students I get a real sense of community and belonging with everyone pushing towards bettering themselves, learning further and enjoying their work while producing the highest quality output.