The Actuarial Society of Kenya Celebrates 25 Year Anniversary

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Cyrille Nabutola, Secretariat, The Actuarial Society of Kenya.

The society has been at the forefront of promoting the actuarial profession in Kenya and Eastern African region at large.

The founding of The Actuarial Society of Kenya (TASK) in 1993 has not only seen the growth of the actuarial profession, but has spearheaded the recognition of actuaries in the market.

According to Cyrille Nabutola, Secretariat of TASK, the professional body aims at promoting and strengthening the actuarial profession in Kenya, East and Central Africa, and the world at large. “Our mandate is to bring together all the actuarial professionals in the market with the objective of promoting and developing the profession.”

Officially launched in 2005 by practicing actuaries in Kenya, TASK is a full member of the International Actuarial Association (IAA), the worldwide association of professional actuarial associations.

Objectives

TASK has a number of objectives among them;

  1. a) To elevate the status and promote the advancement and best interests of the actuarial profession in Kenya;

(b) To unite members of the actuarial profession in Kenya into one general body;

(c) To play an active role in actuarial education and training and the development of local actuarial expertise;

(d) To develop and uphold the highest professional standards and guidance for its members in relation to the practice of the actuarial profession and secure for them such professional standing as may assist them in the discharge of their duties;

(e) To promote knowledge and research in all matters relevant to actuarial science and its application in Kenya and in the East and Central African region;

(f) To promote and improve the education of present and future financial consumers and raise public interest issues;

(g) To consider the actuarial aspects of legislation, existing and proposed, and to take such action as considered desirable;

(h) To establish links with groups or Societies in any part of the world with similar objects to those of the Society;

(i) To do all such other lawful things as are incidental or conducive to the attainment of the above objects.

Membership

The Society has grown rapidly over the years and today, it boasts of 461 members grouped into four categories – fellows, associates, students and university students.

Fellows are fully qualified actuaries. He/she is a Fellow of a Full Member society of the International Actuarial Association.

Currently, there are 56 fellows who are based within and outside Kenya, including South Africa. 46 fellows are Kenyans by nationality. Kenya holds the second highest number of fellows in Africa, from South Africa.

“The significant improvement has come through the initiative of the Insurance Regulatory Authority (IRA) that has been sponsoring at least five students to pursue Master of Science Degree in Actuarial Management at the Cass Business School, United Kingdom,” says Nabutola. The program helps students to get exemptions for their professional exams.

Associates form the second category. These are members who have completed the core principal and application exams, hold a year of work based skills and have completed and passed twelve professional papers. Most associates are from the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries of the UK.

Other categories include students, who are currently pursuing the professional exams; and university students, members who are pursuing a degree in actuarial science, mathematics or statistics.

To become a member, university students are required to register through their representatives at the Actuarial Students Society of Kenya, while the other categories are required to fill a form provided by the Society. The annual subscription fee depends on the membership category.

Benefits

Nabutola offers that joining TASK comes with various benefits ranging from recognition as a fellow in any country, networking opportunities, and career development/continuous professional development.

As part of creating value addition for its members, the Society organizes different events such as monthly industry talks/working parties where members are updated on what is happening within the industry or working area. Such events offer a great networking opportunity, besides providing a platform to gain basic knowledge of the industry.

TASK also organizes annual actuarial conventions, which attract actuaries from all over the world. It is a knowledge based event, where people network and understand what is happening in the industry.

2018 actuarial convention was held in November at the Movenpick Hotel – Nairobi. The theme was ‘Back to the Future: From Best Practice to Innovation’. The meeting attracted decision makers, industry players and professionals in the financial industry.

Furthermore, the Society partners with the regulators in providing ideas on how to formulate market regulations, besides participating in the education sector where they mentor university students.

Growth

The actuarial profession in Kenya is on a steady growth, and has recently recorded increased number of qualified actuaries. The growth is attributed to increased number of universities offering a degree programme in actuarial science.

Actuaries are business and financial professionals who use mathematical skills in predicting the future risks and events. They can work in various fields including the insurance sector, capital market, pension firms, risk management institutions, gambling, actuarial consulting firms and banking among others.  They are among the best professionals in the world because of the work they do and the professionalism skills they hold.

However, Nabutola reveals that becoming an actuary is an uphill task. One is required to have a high level of professionalism, attention to detail and an inclination to mathematics.

Vibrant society

Unlike before, TASK has become a more active and vibrant professional body, securing support and recognition from the regulators and industry players. It has brought on board more qualified actuaries over the last few years.

The establishment of the Actuarial Academy of East Africa in 2018 is expected to increase the number of actuaries in East Africa and create an easier working environment for actuarial professionals within the region. It is an initiative covering Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda, and Kenya.

The Society has also stayed true to its vision of positioning the Actuarial Profession in Kenya and the region as the leading profession in the areas of modelling and management of financial risks and contingent events.

In spite of these achievements, Nabutola says that lack of enough resources in terms of actuaries who can teach in the universities and an understanding of their roles are the greatest shortcomings.  He therefore appeals to the government to recognize the professional body and also have actuaries working in the national treasury.

The future is however bright. “We are looking forward to having actuarial exams administered in Kenya.” Having own exams is an achievement since students understand their market and region better.