Marc Sofer

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Title... Head of Strategic Initiatives – North Asia and India

Organisation... RGA (based in Hong Kong)

My interesting/quirky hobbies... I’m interested in horology and I’m mildly obsessed with Officine Panerai, a particular watch maker

My favourite energetic pursuit... Push ups – I do 100 most days

The sport I most like to watch... The last five overs of a really close one day international cricket match

The last book I read... The Age of Spiritual Machines by Ray Kurzweil (August 2014)

My favourite artist / album / film... Back to the Future – it has action, suspense, romance, time travel, a whole lot of clocks in the beginning and 1.21 gigawatts of electricity

The person I’d most like to cook for... Really good friends from kindergarten/primary school who are now all scattered across the globe

I’m most passionate about... Keeping up with the latest technology

What gets my goat... People who don’t move to one side on escalators

I’d like to be brave enough to... Take six months off work to travel the world

In my life I’m planning to change... My exercise habits – I need to do more cardio!

Not many people know this but I... Have invested in a wine bar/restaurant in Hong Kong. Head to 121BC for some great Italian food and wine. Shameless plug!

Four words that sum me up... Bright, cerebral, ambitious, annoying

What I wanted to be when I grew up... A veterinarian. As soon as I figured out that I may need to put animals to sleep I changed my mind

Why and how I became an actuary... I had no idea what I wanted to do in year 12. I was told that actuarial science combined mathematics with business so I thought I’d give it a go given that I could always change paths later on

Where I studied to become an actuary... I obtained my Bachelors Degree in Statistics and Actuarial Science from Wits University in Johannesburg, became a Fellow of the Faculty of Actuaries a few years thereafter, and became a Fellow of the Institute of Actuaries of Australia shortly after migrating to Australia

My work history... Discovery (South Africa), MBF (Australia), Swiss Re (Australia) and RGA (Australia and Hong Kong)

What I find most interesting about my current role... I get to travel across Asia and work with an incredibly broad range of people from different professions and cultures. Most importantly though, I’m learning new things all the time and being challenged almost every day

My role’s greatest challenges... Having to juggle so many different regional-wide and country specific projects on a daily basis

Who has been the biggest influence on my career (and why)... Barry Swartzberg and Tony Cheng – both really smart actuaries who have moved on from technical roles to lead and grow businesses

My proudest career achievement to date is... Figuring out that I can actually say how I truly feel in a work setting. If you’re not happy, say something rather than stewing and running away from the situation. Be sure to tell people when and why you’re happy too

10 years from now, I will be... I don’t know where I will be in 10 weeks so 10 years out is really difficult!

When I retire, my legacy will be... Leaving the organisation better for me having been apartofit

Why I’m proud to be an actuary... I’m proud of the profession’s rigor and the really smart people I share the profession with

The most valuable skill an actuary can possess is... Humility. There are a lot of smart people out there that aren’t actuaries and we can learn a lot from them

If I were President of the Institute, one thing I would improve is... Do away with CPD requirements. If we weren’t aware of the trends impacting the industry then it’s likely we wouldn’t have a job anymore

At least once in their life, every actuary should... Be involved in a startup – even a really small one. It gives you a really good appreciation of all the things that you take for granted on a daily basis

My best advice for younger actuaries... Take chances. You’re young and you can always rebound

If I could travel back in time I would... Prevent myself from travelling back in time and travel 500 years into the future with my other self, to see how far humanity has come

If I win the lottery, I would... Head to the nearest Panerai boutique and take six months off to travel the world!

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About the author

Marc Sofer

Marc Sofer is Head of Strategic Initiatives in RGA Asia's Regional Business Development team.

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