Check out this actuarial employer Q&A from LCP to give you more insight into the actuarial profession and the different aspects of working in actuaries.
Find out more about LCP here.
What hours do you work in an average week? ➜
Does LCP offer industrial work placements as part of sandwich courses? ➜
How would you describe LCP’s work environment? ➜
What’s involved at the assessment centre and what can I do to be best prepared? ➜
Is there any opportunity for interaction with partners and other senior members of the firm as a graduate trainee at LCP? ➜
What tasks and daily activities do actuarial graduates get involved in? ➜
I am due to graduate soon, but I have no actuarial work experience. Can I still apply to your graduate programme? ➜
When does your graduate intake start? Do you have one intake per year? ➜
Do you have any tips for graduates thinking of applying? ➜
How does LCP establish strong relationships within their departments? ➜
Can I apply for a graduate position at LCP if I need a work permit? ➜
Can I apply to more than one department for your graduate programme? ➜
What is your opinion of the outlook for DB pension consulting? ➜
What hours do you work in an average week?
As a new graduate you can expect to work 35 hours a week. When you first start at LCP, the key focus will be on ensuring that you are able to dedicate sufficient time to passing your actuarial exams, and your team leader and study mentor will be on hand to ensure that you achieve a healthy balance of work so that you are able to leave the office on time to go home and study (or rest!).
On the whole, an actuarial career provides an excellent work/life balance. However, as a consultancy firm, our actuaries do need to be flexible to meet the needs of our clients. Occasionally this may mean needing to work outside of office hours to ensure that client deadlines are met.
Does LCP offer industrial work placements as part of sandwich courses?
We don’t currently offer industrial work placements as part of sandwich courses. We run a summer internship programme, open to penultimate year students who wish to experience what it’s like to work as an analyst at LCP. The programme runs across July and August each year.
How would you describe LCP’s work environment?
The working environment at LCP is friendly, supportive and sociable. When you start you will be assigned a buddy who will be on hand to answer any questions you may have, but you will find everyone in the office to be very approachable. The office is open plan and Partners are more than happy to answer any questions – they want to get to know you too!
You will find there is plenty going on socially. We have sports teams and a social committee dedicated to organising a variety of events throughout the year, as well as more informal after-work drinks with your team. You will never be short of things to do and everyone will go out of their way to help you fit in.
What’s involved at the assessment centre and what can I do to be best prepared?
Our assessment centres run throughout September to January for our graduate programme and December to April for our summer internship programme. The assessment centre can vary per department but usually includes two interviews and a group exercise.
With regards to preparation, it’s worth considering your interview technique and having some practice goes with a friend or family member to get comfortable with the feeling of being in an interview. Although it’s normal to feel nervous, the more relaxed and natural you can be the better you’ll remember your experiences and be able to talk confidently about your skills. We recommend using the STAR technique for answering competency-based questions.
Is there any opportunity for interaction with partners and other senior members of the firm as a graduate trainee at LCP?
Absolutely! One of the benefits of working for a medium-sized firm like LCP is that you will have contact with a variety of colleagues across all levels of the firm. From the moment you join you will be encouraged to be actively involved and to make a real contribution to the work we do for our clients. And, if you are doing a good job, it won’t go unnoticed – you will be given greater responsibility and opportunities to work with more senior staff. It is not uncommon for our graduates to work directly to partners and seniors consultants within their first year of joining.
In addition, LCP partners are strongly encouraged to take our graduates along to client meetings so that you can see first-hand how the work you do is communicated to our clients.
What tasks and daily activities do actuarial graduates get involved in?
Our analysts are involved from the start on our client work. We advise our clients in different areas such as:
- Funding – we estimate how much money a pension scheme needs to hold now to pay all the benefits it has promised in the future.
- Pensions strategy – we help our clients to plan the long-term strategy for their pension scheme and how to get there.
- Accounting – we help companies to place an appropriate value on the assets and liabilities of their pension scheme for their company accounts.
- Liability de-risking – we help clients to negotiate a contract with an insurance company whereby the insurer will guarantee some members’ pensions in exchange for a premium.
- Liability management – we help companies to manage the costs and risks associated with their pension scheme in a way that is fair to all parties.
- Member options – advising Trustees on appropriate terms to offer their members for options such as transferring their benefits out of the pension scheme or early retirement.
- Legislation – advising clients on what new legislation or regulatory guidance means for them.
I am due to graduate soon, but I have no actuarial work experience. Can I still apply to your graduate programme?
Definitely! We don’t require or expect any prior actuarial experience. We ask that you have attained a degree (2.1 or higher) and good A Level grades. For some of our departments we ask for an A at A Level Maths. More details can be found on our website under our FAQs.
We consider extenuating circumstances, and we also offer candidates who studied A Levels in the UK the chance to have their grades contextualised using the REALrating software.
What support do you offer successful candidates?
We want our people to succeed and thrive at LCP. We offer an excellent study package to our employees studying to become qualified actuaries. We fund your exam fees, study materials, tutorials, and administration / subscription costs.
You’ll also get a bank of study days to use flexibly as you need them (it works out to roughly one day per week). Alongside this, you’ll be allocated a study mentor to advise you on your route through the exams but will also be available to discuss any queries you might have. Our dedicated Training & Development team is also on hand for any queries.
A quick word of reassurance: very few people pass all their exams first time, and you won’t be under any pressure to do so. Our study programme makes allowances for you sitting exams more than once. However, when people’s hard work does pay off, we pride ourselves on recognising and celebrating their success.
When does your graduate intake start? Do you have one intake per year?
We have one graduate intake a year. Our graduate cohort joins us each September for a structured on-boarding and training programme. We encourage our graduate cohort to use each other as a support system as they learn the ropes and settle into life at LCP.
Do you have any tips for graduates thinking of applying?
Do your research on our recruitment process so you know what to expect. This will help you feel more prepared and relaxed so you can show your best self.
We are not looking to catch you out but support you to showcase your skills and knowledge. We want your experience with LCP to be friendly and not intimidating! Remember, recruitment is a two-way street – as much as we are getting to know you, we know you are also getting to know us. You want to be reassured you are making the right choice to start your career at the right firm for you.
How does LCP establish strong relationships within their departments?
Firstly, we aim to attract and recruit talented individuals who understand the benefit in collaboration. We really feel that our success is down to our motivated employees learning and working well together. That’s why one of our values is being connected.
We want to help you understand your strengths and skills so we can develop them through opportunities and a collaborative working environment. We feel this is not only a more fun way to work but also encourages inclusivity and opens us up to different points of view and thoughts.
Our leadership team provides regular updates on the firm’s strategic plans and initiatives. Your team leader will work with you through our appraisal process to consider how your involvement will play a part in our overall ambitions and success.
We also celebrate our employees hard work – each year we hold our annual LCP Cares Awards ceremony to recognise our peoples inspiring achievements.
Can I apply for a graduate position at LCP if I need a work permit?
We can sponsor and fund successful candidates who require a UK visa onto our graduate programme.
Can I apply to more than one department for your graduate programme?
You can apply for up to two departments for our graduate programme. We will progress you for your first choice initially and then your second choice if that application is rejected or the role filled. If you are unsuccessful, you are more than welcome to apply again the following year.
What is your opinion of the outlook for DB pension consulting?
This is a highly topical area, as the world of Defined Benefit (DB) pensions is in a fascinating time of transition. Recent changes in the economic and regulatory environment are making companies and trustees associated with the thousands of remaining UK DB schemes reconsider what the future holds, as there are an increasing number of strategic options available.
- In recent years, most schemes have focused on trying to reach the point of being able to afford a “buyout” (where a pension scheme pays a premium to an insurance company in return for them taking on responsibility for paying all pensions). LCP are market leading advisers in this area and have been involved in many challenging and high-profile transactions, for example LCP acts as lead transaction adviser to RSA and Intact on £6.5bn buy-in transaction.
- LCP has been at the forefront of industry discussions regarding potential changes to the pensions regime which could see an increasing number of schemes decide to “run on” for the long-term through targeting a DB surplus – providing potential upside for members, sponsors, and society through the provision of much needed productive finance. See LCP’s blog for more detail.
- Consolidation through a “Pensions Superfund” – this is another developing area in which LCP have been involved in the first ever deal. You can find out more about this here.
Regardless of how things develop, helping our clients set their strategy and guiding them on their journey will provide wide ranging and interesting work for our DB actuarial consultants in the long-term.
In addition, whilst over the last 20 years there has been an increasing trend towards defined contribution pension schemes (DC) for the younger workforce, there is increased interest in providing “Collective Defined Contribution” arrangements, which sit somewhere between DB and DC – allowing the risks to be shared more evenly between companies and members. Such arrangements will provide a further area where pensions actuaries can provide valuable advice for many years to come.