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  #1  
Old 12-14-2019, 11:53 PM
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AbedNadir AbedNadir is offline
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Default FCAS/ACAS, equal opportunity?

I flipped to the page of Actuarial Review to look at the job postings and saw that most had FCAS/ACAS, two had FCAS, and two or three had ACAS/near ACAS. As someone busting their butt to try and finish all of the exams, it's nice to see that ACAS is probably good enough, but I want to know more.

When FCAS/ACAS is listed, is FCAS always given preference?

Is there a reason other than money to post for an ACAS?

If you interview for a position like this, do you get extra points if you studied for and failed an upper level if you are still somewhat knowledgeable about a relevant topic?

Is anyone familiar with this situation: Let's say someone got ACAS and decided they would not do upper levels, but would aggressively pursue job hopping and pay raises, and let's say this guy has a coworker who decides to be complacent and get FCAS but not really pursue anything externally. Who makes more money?

Is it better to get ACAS and then load up on data science stuff or get FCAS and decide to watch TV in all your free time?

Sorry if my questions are dumb
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  #2  
Old 12-15-2019, 04:08 AM
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Maphisto's Sidekick Maphisto's Sidekick is offline
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It's best to get FCAS and load up on data science stuff.

I am a career ACAS, because of a few things at home that got in the way of exams. I'm content with my career, but having an "ACAS" instead of an "FCAS" after my name would make it very difficult for me to take more senior, "traditionally actuarial" roles.

I think it's more common that some career ACASes leave the exams because they find their careers taking a path where their actuarial skills are useful, but involve roles that are "less traditionally actuarial".

So, the answer to your question will depend on where you want to take your career. Think about what your next two or three positions need to be to get there, and whether having FCAS will help you get there.

I'll add that if in doubt, and if you're making OK progress on exams, you probably want to default to sticking with the exams....unless, perhaps, you're being attracted to data science in general, rather than the insurance applications of such, and want to go compete with data scientists who have advanced degrees....

Once you get off the exam hamster wheel, it can be very hard to get started again if you change your mind / if your circumstances change.
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  #3  
Old 12-15-2019, 08:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AbedNadir View Post
I flipped to the page of Actuarial Review to look at the job postings and saw that most had FCAS/ACAS, two had FCAS, and two or three had ACAS/near ACAS. As someone busting their butt to try and finish all of the exams, it's nice to see that ACAS is probably good enough, but I want to know more.

When FCAS/ACAS is listed, is FCAS always given preference?
no

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Originally Posted by AbedNadir View Post
Is there a reason other than money to post for an ACAS?
I'm not sure what you're asking.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AbedNadir View Post
If you interview for a position like this, do you get extra points if you studied for and failed an upper level if you are still somewhat knowledgeable about a relevant topic?
maybe. Having relevant work experience will be more persuasive than "I studied for that exam". But if the topic comes up in the interview and you can talk intelligently about it (due to having studied) that is likely to be a plus.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AbedNadir View Post
Is anyone familiar with this situation: Let's say someone got ACAS and decided they would not do upper levels, but would aggressively pursue job hopping and pay raises, and let's say this guy has a coworker who decides to be complacent and get FCAS but not really pursue anything externally. Who makes more money?
the person who aggressively pursues more money will end up with more money than the person with other priorities. You know there are lots of lucrative jobs in insurance companies that don't require any exams, right?

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Originally Posted by AbedNadir View Post
Is it better to get ACAS and then load up on data science stuff or get FCAS and decide to watch TV in all your free time?
How do you want to spend your life? What are your priorities?
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Originally Posted by AbedNadir View Post
Sorry if my questions are dumb
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  #4  
Old 12-15-2019, 12:05 PM
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Credentials are like degrees. They're used as a proxy for measuring skills but we recognize that they are imperfect, so there's some flexibility for hiring an ACAS if they can convince you that they're qualified to do the job. You might even be able to hire an uncredentialed candidate if the right person comes along.

I don't recommend stopping at ACAS if you have aspirations for actuarial upper management. Paradoxically the need for the credential seems to stop once you transition from being the appointed actuary to becoming a non-actuarial executive.
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Don't you even think about sending me your resume. I'll turn it into an origami boulder and return it to you.
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  #5  
Old 12-15-2019, 03:32 PM
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I would say getting your FCAS and upgrading data science skills is the best way to stay relevant if your long term goal is stay within the technical world. In Canada, we have way too many FCAS concentrated in either Toronto or Montreal, it's just so easy for employers to find someone who has both FCAS credential and DS/ML skillsets.

That being said, looking at the casualty actuaries who make the most money here in Canada, including that famous ACAS who's the big boss of the largest P&C carrier here (I'm sure you know), exam is never a barrier for real money, but traits like business acumen and leadership. Interestingly, out of the top 10 P&C insurers in Canada, there are 3 ACAS CEOs and 1 FCAS CEO, one can even argue achieving FCAS can hold you back from real financial success.
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Last edited by trueblade; 12-15-2019 at 03:40 PM..
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  #6  
Old 12-15-2019, 06:34 PM
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https://www2.hws.edu/holmes-85-named...r-corporation/
Kimberly Holmes seems to have been a career ACAS for a long time. Interestingly, she finished a master degree in DS a few years ago instead of finishing her fellowship exams.
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  #7  
Old 12-15-2019, 07:30 PM
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The same reason some jobs say they require 2-5 exams, or 5-15 years experience, or any other range of skills/qualifications.

There are a lot of positions where having the knowledge from the exams is highly preferable, but is not the most important requirement. Finding good experienced candidates with the right skill set can be tough, if you work in a niche area. So the preference might be someone with the right experience and good interpersonal skills, over someone without specific product expertise or without good interpersonal skills but who has more exams. Rarely is "all else equal."

All else equal, the FCAS would likely be paid more, since there is value in the credential and the skills it signifies that you have.

But the more senior the role, the more your particular experience and other skills start to outweigh exams/credentials alone.
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  #8  
Old 12-16-2019, 08:38 AM
Jamesir Bensonmum Jamesir Bensonmum is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trueblade View Post
I would say getting your FCAS and upgrading data science skills is the best way to stay relevant if your long term goal is stay within the technical world. In Canada, we have way too many FCAS concentrated in either Toronto or Montreal, it's just so easy for employers to find someone who has both FCAS credential and DS/ML skillsets.
Any suggestion for what can be considered having the "DS/ML skillsets"? Designations are pretty easy, either you have them or you don't...

I'm an FCAS and have been trying to ensure my DS skills keep me relevant/competitive if I were to try to find a new opportunity but I'm not really sure what the bar is. MS degree? That new CAS credential? I have worked through both the ISL and APM texts but am unsure if that is the level needed. Thanks!
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  #9  
Old 12-16-2019, 09:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lllj View Post
The same reason some jobs say they require 2-5 exams, or 5-15 years experience, or any other range of skills/qualifications.

There are a lot of positions where having the knowledge from the exams is highly preferable, but is not the most important requirement. Finding good experienced candidates with the right skill set can be tough, if you work in a niche area. So the preference might be someone with the right experience and good interpersonal skills, over someone without specific product expertise or without good interpersonal skills but who has more exams. Rarely is "all else equal."

All else equal, the FCAS would likely be paid more, since there is value in the credential and the skills it signifies that you have.

But the more senior the role, the more your particular experience and other skills start to outweigh exams/credentials alone.
career ACAS here. have been very happy with the choice, late entry into the profession (i was in my 30s), lots of responsibility, good money, retire early. it's what you make of it, but all else equal, get the FCAS
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  #10  
Old 12-16-2019, 10:11 AM
hjacjswo hjacjswo is offline
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I guess I'm more pessimistic about the opportunities for career ACASes. Sure, I've seen career ACASes that are successful and have moved up. But, you gotta keep in mind that these people entered the profession long time ago when the field wasn't saturated like now. Not sure if the same level of opportunities will exist for career ACASes in this generation.
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