Actuarial course is the hottest thing now

Chennai: A large number of management graduates and chartered and cost accountants are joining the actuarial course now, says a beaming Actuarial Society of India (ASI) president Nalin R Kapadia.

Largely due to the opening up of the insurance sector, which saw the entry of several new players, so many professionals are now attracted towards this lucrative profession, once considered esoteric. Further, with auditors now seeking the gratuity valuation of corporates to be certified by qualified actuaries the potential is really huge.

In order to meet the industry demand for qualified domestic professionals ASI, according to Kapadia, is now working at a fast pace. We are holding our fellowship exams every six months. Steps are being taken to globalise the institute and the course. By the end of 2002 we will sign a mutual recognition agreement with the famed Institute of Actuaries, UK, and the Australian actuarial body.

A member of the Actuarial Education Strategy Implementation Committee, a body of global actuaries with a mandate to evolve a common syllabus for the actuarial course worldwide by 2005, Kapadia says the work with regard to drafting of reading materials is on right now.

Realising the need to reach out to a wider audience to develop the profession, Kapadia has decided to hold some of the institutes programme away from Mumbai. Forget globalisation, many office-bearers were not even willing to move to New Delhi to hold the global actuarial conference, says an actuary about ASIs Mumbai fixation.

We will be holding an actuarial seminar in Chennai next month to help actuaries to update their professional knowledge. Similarly, we have plans to hold such seminars in other cities. Our idea is to hold around 15 seminars in 2002, says Kapadia.

According to him USAID is meeting the cost of such seminars related to the non-life insurance sector. Not just seminars, many young actuaries and actuarial aspirants countrywide want the president and also other experts to address them at regular intervals on the latest developments that will help in continuous professional development (CPD). CPD is one of the important aspects that ASI looks in an actuary before granting its certificate of practice (COP).

But we will not be very strict in issuing COP, he says. ASI had earlier refused COP to a couple of actuaries (See ). The most pathetic case is that of Meena Sidwani (See ). Sadly, Sidwani attained the heavenly abode soon after that.

The new approach, however, has turned into a controversy. It is learnt that an actuary has sent a notice questioning ASIs decision to award the coveted certificate to another actuary who subsequently became the appointed actuary of a domestic insurer. But Kapadia does not wish to be drawn into other controversies. I dont want to wash dirty linen in the public.