SFAE: On Professional Actuarial Examinations
What makes a good actuary? How does one become a professional in this sector? These are pertinent questions that plague any student who has selected actuarial science degree in any university. In Strathmore University, the School of Finance & Applied Economics (SFAE) is vibrant and rapidly gaining ground in modelling its graduates to be certified actuaries as per the recommended standards. These standards are drawn from Kenyas actuary industry with a bias on the UK qualifications, from the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries, (IFoA) UK.
The professional certification is attained from either successfully passing 12 examinations for one to qualify as an Associate of IFoA (AIFA), or consequently passing15 examinations for one to be a Fellow of IFoA, (FIFA).
The examinations are divided into 4 integral sections;
- 9 subjects- CT (Core Technical)
- 3 subjects- CA(Core Application)
- 2 subjects- ST(Specialized Technical)
- 1 Subject- SA(Specialized Application)
Actuaries examinations go a long way towards equipping the students with quality knowledge, enabling them to carry out consultancy services, work and design a companys pension scheme, pricing policies among others, once they have graduated.
SFAE encourages its Actuarial Science students to strive for professional qualifications over and above their degree, to ensure that they can benchmark with actuaries globally. This serves as an indication of the schools dedication to the attainment of its mission, in taking an active role in shaping and informing the society in the area of finance, investment and insurance.
As it is well known, any successful academic institution thrives on the joint efforts pulled in by both the academic staff members and the students. It is through this cooperation, that the faculty has invested on students societies to spearhead its motives and aims. Through this strengthened partnership, the faculty and the students taking actuarial studies, are the child bearers of the Strathmore Actuary Students Society (SASS), whose main aim is to see into it that as many students as possible get to know the nitty gritty details on the Actuarial profession.
Franklin Nyabanga, the outgoing chairperson of SAAS, and the current Financial Secretary of Actuarial Students Society of Kenya (ASSK), shared on the societies aim, which is to create the connection between the students and the key industry players. He explained how the society addresses the low flow of information between the actuarial industry and the students studying the profession, through events which industry players are invited. The society has seen progress in the rate at which students are taking and passing the professional actuarial examinations. SAAS also accounts its success on the number of students who enrol and participate in the societies activities and events.
So far, SAAS has in a row organized and hosted two CT Modelling Clinics during which, industry players teach and mentor students on the best techniques to deploy in tackling the examinations. This too, goes hand in hand in addressing the students key concerns, as well as handing them the golden opportunity of networking with their potential employers, while getting acquainted with what the industry requires of them.
We also got more insight from Kennedy Kahura, one of SFAES alumni who has so far taken six CT examinations. Kennedy is currently working at Actserv – Actuarial Services (East Africa) limited, on mandate of executing actuarial consulting projects for pension schemes and provident funds in Kenya and other countries in East Africa. Kennedy attributes his skillfulness in his profession to the examinations which have built in him the compact understanding of the fundamentals in Actuarial concepts.
So far, the faculty has covered huge milestones since its inception in 2009, registering a total of 30 students who have attempted and passed the professional CT examinations.
The pioneering class saw 2 graduates attempt and successfully pass 7 CT examinations, with the current 4th Year class so far registering 4 students who have also successfully passed 7 CT examinations, remaining with only 5 examinations for them to become Associates.
These students are:
- Anthony Wagacha
- Christine Waweru
- Josephat Ongango
- Nickson Mayua
They are currently preparing for 3 more examinations to be taken during the September & October examination period.
SFAE also prides in having one of its faculty members, MS. Mahjbeen Taki- an adjunct lecturer, become a Fellow. She is the second Actuary in Kenya to hold this title. MS. Taki is also a beneficiary of the Insurance Regulatory Authority (IRA) Scholarship, which funded her Masters degree in the UK.
For an even better fit, the School of Finance & Applied Economics Actuarial science syllabus has been modified to fit the professional standards, with units similar to those covered in the examination. In doing this, SFAE not only seeks to provide quality standard education, but also meet the required threshold to have some subjects exempted for students from the school.
SFAE is also working towards enabling its graduates qualify for the IRA scholarships to pursue their Masters, on merit that they must have already passed 5 CT examinations.