As with many people, I had not come across the word ‘actuary’ until I reached university. However, the more I found out about it, the more I realised that this was the industry for me. It seemed the ideal way to mix mathematics and logic with a chance to apply the answers in the real world.
I started working for Punter Southall in September 2005 at the Wokingham office. The ethos within the company means that colleagues are always on hand to share their knowledge. Everyone is very approachable and make you feel very welcome. There is also good camaraderie in the teams, with everybody developing and growing in the job.
The high intake and retention of graduates has meant that the Wokingham office has a vibrant and friendly feel to it. The majority of students live within the town itself, which allows for frequent social evenings out and significantly reduces the stress of a long commute to work in the mornings. There are also regular outings arranged by the Social Committee, as well as a chance to do a spot of exercise in our weekly 5-a-side football game.
As is the case with most professional careers, further exams are necessary and the actuarial exams are certainly tough! Fortunately at Punter Southall you are assigned a mentor who you can turn to for guidance, together with a weekly study day which is essential to progress with the courses. Having the time, motivation and self-discipline required to study whilst working can be difficult, but the rewards are certainly worth it!
Initially, the day to day work mostly comprises of individual calculations such as transfer values and retirement quotations. However, as your experience and knowledge grows, you are soon given opportunities to work on actuarial valuations and larger projects. I am now responsible for overseeing projects and checking other team members’ work. I also have regular direct contact with pensioners, trustees and company directors.