• Name: Liam Hollywood
  • Job Title: Senior Actuarial Technician
  • Location: London
  • University: Queen’s Belfast
isio - Liam Hollywood

What’s your favourite thing about working in this sector

I like the variety of work. I enjoy the challenge of solving different maths problems offered by the complications of pensions, as well as the communication of the complex solutions in ways that can be easily understood. No day is the same and I also enjoy working with lots of different people to innovate and create new solutions to the problems faced. It is also a sector that is continually evolving to use incorporate new technology which I also like.

What attracted you to your role?

I was always good at maths growing up, so when I heard about jobs involving maths I was immediately interested as I thought it would be something I would enjoy. I get bored easily so I need to be challenged at work to keep me motivated and I felt this role would do that.

The fact that the industry is well-paid is also an obvious attraction to the role, along with the clear path to progression through the exams and the pay rise incentives that come with them. The fact that study support is provided is also a bonus.

Tell us about your experience working for Isio – what makes it such a great place to work?

I think the most important thing about a job is the people you work with and for me the best thing about Isio is the people. Everyone is friendly, helpful and understanding which makes it a great place to learn and develop the skills needed for my career. It’s a very relaxed environment, so you have opportunities to choose what kind of work you want to get involved with.

Isio also has flexible working which I enjoy, as well as a competitive study support package which is key to success with the actuarial exams.

What skills are useful in this profession?

A lot of the work will also require good logical, mathematical and analytical skills, as well as competence with Microsoft programs.

Like most jobs of this nature there are lots of soft skills that are essential, you need to be a team player who can listen and communicate effectively with others. As some of the concepts are complex, being able to explain things in simple terms is also an important skill.

What has your career journey been to get you where you are today?

My career journey is a pretty short one. I did an actuarial science degree in Belfast where I did a year in industry with Premier pensions in Croydon. I went back and finished my degree and was lucky enough to be offered a job back at Premier after graduation. I worked there for 6 years before they were acquired by Isio, so I have only ever really had one job which is quite fortunate.

I have however progressed internally through the company a couple of times and taken on more responsibility as I have done so.

Tell us one bit of advice you’d give someone coming into the industry?

Don’t put too much pressure on yourself. At first everything can be a little overwhelming, I didn’t understand anything at the start (and I still have a way to go!). Your colleagues will understand that, and you’re not expected to know everything. Just ask as many questions as you need, people are there to help you and everyone was in the same position as you at one stage.

This extends to the exams as well. Everyone will progress with the exams at a different pace, so don’t force yourself to take on too much too soon. A wise mentor once told me, one pass is better than two fails!

What would you like to achieve in the future?

I hope to finish my exams to become a qualified actuary. I don’t know what I’ll do beyond that but working here allows me to get involved with the wide variety of paths that pensions has to offer. I hope that this will help me to work out what kind of things I enjoy doing and I can work out my path from there.

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