Darshan Ruparelia Talks about the Actuarial Profession and How RCL is Participating in This Space

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Darshan Ruparelia, managing director, Ruparelia Consultants Limited (RCL).

The Actuarial Society of Kenya (TASK) is celebrating 25 years since establishment. Over the years, the Society has been at the forefront promoting the advancement of actuarial profession in the East African region. Destin Africa had a chat with Darshan Ruparelia, director at the Ruparelia Consultants Limited (RCL), about the profession, what should be done to promote its growth, and how RCL is participating in this space. The Actuarial Society of Kenya (TASK) is celebrating 25 years since establishment. Over the years, the Society has been at the forefront promoting the advancement of actuarial profession in the East African region. Destin Africa had a chat with Darshan Ruparelia, director at the Ruparelia Consultants Limited (RCL), about the profession, what should be done to promote its growth, and how RCL is participating in this space.

Can you comment about TASK silver jubilee celebration?
Celebrating 25 years is a great achievement not only for the Actuarial Society of Kenya, but also for the wider actuarial profession in Kenya and the East African region. Special thanks go to the founders, the management team and various stakeholders for their relentless determination, unmatched consistency and resolute vision which is anchored on positioning the actuarial profession in Kenya and the region as the leading profession in the areas of modeling and management of financial risks and contingent events.

What do you think should be done to promote the growth of the profession in Kenya?
To promote the growth of the actuarial profession in Kenya, more institutions should be given the accreditation to offer the actuarial programmeas well as to get accredited with the International Actuarial Association and/or other international bodies such as the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries (UK). The Actuarial Society of Kenya should liaise with the Ministry of Education on how they conduct seminars and career talks in schools to improve understanding and appreciation of the profession. The Actuarial Society of Kenya should consider working with the government to provide loans or subsidies to enable individuals willing to become qualified actuaries pay for the high examination fees. Plans should also be put in place to increase the rate of absorption of actuarial graduates to the job market in the traditional fields,e.g. insurance companies, and other consulting firms.

Any challenges facing the actuarial profession in Kenya and industry issues?
One of the challenges facing the actuarial profession is a lack of understanding of the profession and hence a lack of appreciation by industry on the whole set of services that actuaries can offer and how it can add value to their corporate decision-making.

There is also a perception that the cost of outsourcing actuarial services is too high leading to lower interest by clients to source these services. The actuarial profession is also facing competition from other professionals, such as CFA, in the areas of investment advisory and risk management.

READY TO SERVE:Part of Ruparelia Consultants Limited (RCL) staff.

Can you tell us more about RCL and the role the firm is playing in this space?
RCL is an East African based consultancy providing actuarial, financial modelling and risk management advice to governments and governmental organizations, public and private pension scheme trustees and sponsors, (re)insurance companies, not-for-profit organizations, SMEs and large-scale corporations. Other than advising on traditional lines of business around pensions and (re)insurance, RCL has used those actuarial skills to advice on other diverse areas around financial modelling, risk management and on the ongoing evolution of the pensions and (re)insurance market. For example, we have been actively engaged with clients looking to introduce innovative products such as post-retirement medical schemes. We have also partnered with an international firm to introduce a revolutionary risk sharing platform into the (re)insurance market in East Africa.

What are some of your key milestones so far?
Our major achievements include working with social security schemes in Rwanda, Mauritius, Zanzibar and Qatar to help these clients manage their schemes that collectively have millions of members and significant amount of assets under investment. These international clients give RCL a great opportunity to demonstrate our skills and knowledge in the global employee benefits’ market despite being a relatively young company.

On the local front, RCL is a proud winner of the 2017 Fund Actuary of the Year Award presented at the Pension Awards Gala organized by the Institute of Pension Management (Kenya).

And where do you see RCL in the next five years?
Our aim is to build on the strong foundation that we already have in the East-African region, and extend it to Sub-Saharan territories. Other than consultancy we are on course to putting plans in place to provide a wider range of services over the next year.

It is important that the actuarial profession continues to grow and develop. Therefore, actuaries should be required to undertake continuous training so that they are well conversant with the latest market developments, such as those around data analytics and artificial intelligence.

Any other pertinent issue?
It is important that the actuarial profession continues to grow and develop.

Therefore, actuaries should be required to undertake continuous training so that they are well conversant with the latest market developments, such as those around data analytics and artificial intelligence.