CPD: a load off your mind

Worried about hitting your CPD points for the year? You probably shouldn’t be. Here’s why hitting your CPD number is easier than you think. Plus, five case studies designed to help actuaries in ‘non-conventional’ fields understand how they can meet their CPD quota – without added stress.

The feedback we sometimes get from members is that, for many, hitting their CPD points is a worry. It probably shouldn’t be. And here’s why….

CPD activities are those designed to broaden your knowledge and skills and develop personal and professional qualities. Crucially, the range is broad. It can be activities:

  • Relevant to your current role
  • In disciplines that bear on your current work
  • In areas where you might work in the future
  • That broaden your professional skills.


In short, rather than pushing you solely toward academic-style study or conference hopping, the CPD system encourages you to learn things that make you better at your current job, expand your skillset or explore new fields. Most importantly for those who are worried about squeezing CPD-learning into their bowstring-taut schedules, you can learn those skills – and gain CPD points – often in the daily conduct of your professional duties.

CPD for everyone

Over the past decade the range of roles filled by actuaries has grown. Our presence is growing every day in areas like data, health, climate, ESG and public policy. This is a trend welcomed by the Institute and encouraged by Institute strategies in education, CPD and public policy. Indeed, recent North Star research by the Institute reflects this change – actuaries now typically sit in one of three domains – our traditional actuarial data lab, in the C-suite and in public policy.

Unfortunately, there’s a perception that filling one of these wider non-traditional roles makes it harder to acquire CPD points. Yet as the following simple case studies indicate, the core activities in some of these non-traditional roles are what help actuaries accrue those prized CPD points.

Case Studies: many ways to learn

Amanda: Non-executive director

Amanda is an actuary and a non-executive director at a financial services business and a not-for-profit. Her roles are wide-ranging and strategic and she doesn’t often do formal training. But she meets her CPD requirements easily because the Institute’s CPD system recognises some of her core activities. For example, activities Amanda undertakes to build new knowledge or capabilities she needs in preparation for board meetings and governance training relating to her role as a director both count. She also accrues CPD points in her ‘face of the company’ work such as preparing for and appearing at conferences and industry panels. Her commitment to board level leadership – research and consultation that keeps her abreast of industry and market trends – also harvests CPD points

Mikel: CEO

A look through Mikel’s crowded schedule may show little formal training this year. But he has an executive coach – and that counts for CPD. He is also taking a keen interest in negotiation and communication podcasts. As with Amanda, he also gets recognition keeping up to date with key global issues, his reading of relevant articles and research for his face of the company work and for his high-stakes interactions with regulators, global counterparts and investors.

Smita: Head of Data Insights

Working for a consultancy with multiple demanding clients, Smita stays busy chasing the latest technologies and practices in data. Every research paper she prepares and presents to clients, her lecturing and marking work with the Institute’s Data Science Education Faculty and her regular client newsletter keep her CPD tally ticking over.

Lex: Climate risk analyst

Like Smita, Lex works in a specialist consultancy and has a jam-packed diary. It’s crucial he stays abreast of the troves of new research and practices in climate risk across multiple disciplines. Again, every research paper he presents to clients, and the research and analysis underpinning it, count towards CPD. Sharing those insights with the profession by writing an article or presenting at an event adds further points. And, as a team leader, the mentoring he receives on people management and leadership skills also count.

Jas: Actuaries Institute Student

As an actuarial intern and Institute member, Jas is required to meet CPD benchmarks. Fortunately, his Fellowship study and the soft skills training provided by his employer all count. So does the presenting work he does for clients.

“Our CPD system encourages, recognises and celebrates professional development by acknowledging that learning happens in a whole range of ways. CPD points should never be a source of worry. They’re a marker of achievement.”

Elayne Grace, CEO

Learning by doing

It’s important to note that ‘market-scanning’ – activities such as reading or viewing relevant news content and actively researching issues affecting your industry (e.g. cyber risk, new technologies, geopolitics) counts as CPD time and are recognised at the rate of 2 points per hour.

While knowing the environment is crucial, ‘active’ learning has long been seen as more effective than passive ingestion of facts and other people’s ideas.

As a result, the Institute’s CPD system awards higher points to higher engagement activities. You might for example, earn 2 points for an hour of reading a paper. You could accrue 3 points an hour for developing and delivering a paper. But if that paper was of very high relevance and value, such as a paper written for a major strategic review or a peer-reviewed paper, you could claim that work at 4 CPD points an hour. The system recognises that not all CPD time is equal and, more importantly, trusts actuaries to intelligently allocate different values to different activities.

A reminder also that each year CPD must include at least 5 points of Professionalism Training. There are many examples that will be familiar: attendance at an Institute CPD Professionalism Tour or similar sessions at Institute events, publishing articles about professionalism and ethics, successfully completing the Code of Conduct multiple choice quiz, discussing the application of the Code of Conduct as a mentor or mentee, or studying the Institute’s Communications, Modelling and Professionalism subject.

Here to celebrate another day of learning

As we near the end of a long and complicated year, the last thing the Institute wants is for CPD-stress to add more worry to the life of busy actuaries.  As Institute CEO Elayne Grace says,

“Today there are lot of different types of actuaries. But whatever role you have, our CPD system is designed to expand your skills in a way that suits you. Because expanding those skillsets is good for you, good for your employer or clients and good for the profession.”

Members are referred to Professional Standard 1: Continuing Professional Development for full details of the Institute’s CPD requirements. Explore the Actuaries Institute CPD Hub here.


CPD: Actuaries Institute Members can claim two CPD points for every hour of reading articles on Actuaries Digital.