Actuary switch into financial analysis?

Hi,

I'm brand new to WallStreetOasis and newly considering a career switch into finance. If I have posted this in the wrong spot, or if it's inappropriate to post a solicitation for career advice here, I apologize - please let me know. I would very much appreciate any comments or insight about anything below!

Where I am:

I'm currently working as an actuarial analyst at a top actuarial healthcare consulting firm. If you don't know what an actuary is:

In brief, "an actuary is a business professional who analyzes the financial consequences of risk. Actuaries use mathematics, statistics, and financial theory to study uncertain future events, especially those of concern to insurance and pension programs."

Where I want to be:

I have tentatively (and without a lot of knowledge of the finance world - please set me straight if need be) set my sights on becoming a buy-side financial analyst specializing in the automotive industry. I have some reasons for choosing this role and sector specifically, but I won't go into them unless someone is interested. I'm aware of the super long hours and high stress, and I think it's something that I can handle.

How I propose to get there:

As an actuary, I have a tough credentialing process. I'm about two years from the mid-level credential (ASA), and five years away from the highest credential (FSA). There is no specialization for ASA, but for the FSA you can specialize in something. Finance, and enterprise risk management are two of the five options. My idea is that I would reach my ASA (mid-level) certification, then get my CFA, and then start trying to get into a financial analyst role. Does this seem like a viable trajectory?

Thanks for reading!

Comments (29)

Apr 11, 2013

Hang on - isn't "actuary" a really sought-after job? Decent hours with solid pay, and all that jazz?

Apr 11, 2013
Angus Macgyver:

Hang on - isn't "actuary" a really sought-after job? Decent hours with solid pay, and all that jazz?

Yes, it is. But I'm not entirely happy - healthcare is such a mess, and I'm really just not that interested in it. The fact that it's a huge tangled mess is also the reason why healthcare actuaries are well compensated.

Apr 11, 2013

Yo buddy, I have a question for you:

If I pass two exams - P/1 and FM/2 - how difficult will it be for me to find an entry level actuarial gig?

This is for a graduating senior from a liberal arts college with a 3.4ish GPA in Math, but with no actuarial internship experience.

Thanks.

Apr 11, 2013
mongoose:

Yo buddy, I have a question for you:

If I pass two exams - P/1 and FM/2 - how difficult will it be for me to find an entry level actuarial gig?

This is for a graduating senior from a liberal arts college with a 3.4ish GPA in Math, but with no actuarial internship experience.

Thanks.

Yo dude. That's where I was at (no experience, two exams). With a math degree and two exams you have the necessary qualifications. The rest depends on you. Networking, knowledge, interview skills, diligence, professionalism, etc. I know a lot of people that had 1-3 exams out of college and a B.S. in actuarial science who had a lot of difficulty.

Apr 11, 2013
RiskIsOpportunity:
mongoose:

Yo buddy, I have a question for you:

If I pass two exams - P/1 and FM/2 - how difficult will it be for me to find an entry level actuarial gig?

This is for a graduating senior from a liberal arts college with a 3.4ish GPA in Math, but with no actuarial internship experience.

Thanks.

Yo dude. That's where I was at (no experience, two exams). With a math degree and two exams you have the necessary qualifications. The rest depends on you. Networking, knowledge, interview skills, diligence, professionalism, etc. I know a lot of people that had 1-3 exams out of college and a B.S. in actuarial science who had a lot of difficulty.

OK, so two exams and a degree are a baseline from which I can compete and the rest is up to me.

Thanks.

Apr 11, 2013

Some relevance between the two (both forecasting). I would say most places would be impressed if you have a FSA or even ASA.

Apr 11, 2013

If you want to work in finance, you need to stop apologizing so much. I couldn't even find the question because I was wading through so many apologies.

Apr 11, 2013
SirTradesaLot:

If you want to work in finance, you need to stop apologizing so much. I couldn't even find the question because I was wading through so many apologies.

I know... sorry about that.

    • 1
Apr 11, 2013
RiskIsOpportunity:
SirTradesaLot:

If you want to work in finance, you need to stop apologizing so much. I couldn't even find the question because I was wading through so many apologies.

I know... sorry about that.

Lawl

Apr 11, 2013
RiskIsOpportunity:
SirTradesaLot:

If you want to work in finance, you need to stop apologizing so much. I couldn't even find the question because I was wading through so many apologies.

I know... sorry about that.

Saw that one coming.

Apr 15, 2013

First off, financial analyst role is...broad. What kind of analysis? Stocks? bonds? Internal finance in a company? You say buy-side financial analyst in automotive..so maybe sellside ER? I understand that you're very early in your understanding of finance, but you really need to explore what all of these terms (and more) mean to know what you actually want to do. If you want to pick stocks in automotive, I would say your opportunities are...very limited. There are probably less than 1000 analysts in the world probably focused solely on automotive stocks, less if you only consider the buyside. On the buyside, automotive may be one of a few industries an analyst is knowledgeable on.

Your trajectory may make it difficult because you may become priced out or have to accept a pay cut. Listen, you're in a good job, you'll probably (WAG: wild ass guess) be making over $100,000 all-in after you pass the mid-level credential (ASA). On top of that you're passing 3 levels of the CFA which will take MINIMUM 1.5 years (maybe 5-10% of charterholders in my estimation do this, most take longer, average 4-5 years). So you're talking 4 years out now.

Your best opportunity will probably be a sellside analyst in Chicago or Detroit (I dont know where they are) or maybe investment banking within the automotive industry. No one jumps straight into buyside for the most part unless you have connections I'm unaware of. Those people in finance will not be willing to pay you over $100,000 for a job analyzing autos unless you get your MBA and then go for those jobs. So you're talking about 2 years more for an MBA.

So I don't think it's a reasonable trajectory. If you want into finance, do more research, read more threads on WSO, go on analyst forums for CFA information, do informational interviews over maybe a 6 month period and decide if this is right for you. Networking will let you know whether you truly want to do this. If you want to do this, drop any idea of waiting 2 years to pass the mid level credential and then get a CFA charter as this is just time wasted. Jump over now, as when you are younger you cost less, and more people are willing to take a risk on you. The alternative, of course, is an MBA program in a few years, but that is going to cost you money. PM me if you have any questions.

Aug 9, 2013

Analysis is more fun

Aug 26, 2015

Just don't always tell how you passed very hard math based tests while working 50 hours in a week and finance tech concepts are a joke for you. Show your soft skills; mention your hard skills casually. The interviewer will unconsciously think that you are a nerd. You can nail DCF, LBO, and accounting questions easily. Show them that you are a socialized normal guy.

for me: commercial bank 1.5 yrs -> Actuarial Analyst -> PE analyst offer
Didn't even pass any exams: CFA, actuarial exams
Spent +50 hours on my story, brain teasers, & soft skills

  • Anonymous Monkey
  •  Sep 13, 2015

Hello, my name is samreen and I am doing bachelor in actuarial science and risk management. I'm little confuse that if I didn't clear the soa papers so where should I move on and get jobs in foreign countries (usa, Canada, Singapore). Please give me few guideline.

Sep 13, 2015

Seriously man...

Once you have your FSA, you'll be working 40-50 hour weeks and be making $100k+/ year. with 10%+ bonus.

I'm working as an actuary, and I'm trying to switch to finance as well, but I know once I get my FSA it'll be too late.

Sep 13, 2015

Thanks for the response.

Why would it be too late?

Sep 13, 2015

Yeah dude stick with where you are.

"Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face."

Sep 13, 2015

Hey dreadsoap, I'm curious to see how these past 6 months have changed your perspective, if at all. I'm in a similar boat myself. I got my FSA, and am thinking of going into finance. Although I think finance is more challenging and could be potentially more rewarding, I am really weighing the change in work life balance.

Anyways, wanted to see your thoughts now. Would love to bounce ideas if you want to PM.

Sep 13, 2015

Love to hear more ideas on this.

Sep 13, 2015

Hi
I think you could consider insurance linked securities and also working at boutique investment banks specializing in ILS

HCB:

Hello,

Actuary here. I have been working as an actuary for almost a full year, I finished school last year. A couple of the actuary exams deal with interest rate swaps, options, and fixed income products. These exams have gotten me very interested in finance. There are a select subset of actuaries who deal with financial products, namely those working in reinsurance and life/annuities. Anyways, I am just hoping to check out the oasis and relax at work. Cheers!

Sep 13, 2015

Many actuaries also pursue CFA's in addition to their actuarial certifications.

    • 2
Sep 13, 2015

Where did you get that from?

"Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face."

Sep 13, 2015
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alpha currency trader wanna-be

Aug 19, 2018