Sharing the Experience of Fellowship Students

As another batch of budding actuaries complete the Superannuation and Retirement Applications Fellowship subject, we unpack their experiences and find out how this subject will prepare them for future opportunities and challenges in the superannuation and retirement income system.

Superannuation and Retirement Applications promotes the concept of the actuary as an expert advisor on retirement funds in the Australian environment.

The subject reviews the external environment, global longevity funding issues, the role of retirement funds, regulation and how government policies have a significant impact on fund operations and member outcomes.

This subject consists of online readings and resources, weekly in-depth tutorials with industry guests and discussion forums to share further questions and insights. The Chief Examiner draws on significant personal experience and the active support of actuaries working in the superannuation practice area to ensure the content is current and relevant and will help students broaden their thinking about future career opportunities as an actuary.

Since the launch of this subject, the pass rates have been consistently high, reflecting both the course quality and the dedication of the students.

In 2024, we will be offering Fellows of the Institute an opportunity to further develop or refresh their understanding of the Australian superannuation industry and actuarial practice through a microcredentials course. This course will assist in expanding the toolkit of Fellows planning a move into the superannuation industry from another practice area, as well as helping Fellows with pension skills who are relocating to Australia to become familiar with our industry and regulatory environment. Enrolments for 2024 will open later this year.

Recent students of Superannuation and Retirement Applications

Dhuhlasi Sivakumaran and Jayden Diep have recently completed the Superannuation and Retirement Applications Fellowship subject. Here’s what they had to say about the course, how it prepared them for their career and their advice to students.

Dhuhlasi Sivakumaran

Occupation: Senior Pricing Analyst, New Business – Retirement at TAL

After graduating from the University of New South Wales with a Bachelor of Commerce/Bachelor of Economics – Actuarial Studies, Econometrics and Finance, I began working at Group Life at TAL.

During this time, I was able to gain experience in pricing for insurance in superannuation and corporates across a variety of partners, performing tasks including experience updates, tenders and product development.

This was particularly insightful given the numerous regulatory changes that have occurred over the years.

Currently, I am working in the pricing function of the Retirement Team, which has definitely been an exciting new experience as I am contributing to improving retirement outcomes for superannuation members at the other end of their working life.

What led you to study Superannuation and Retirement Applications?

Over my career, it was evident that superannuation funds would always be a major stakeholder. I was drawn to work in the retirement income space as I was interested in expanding my understanding of aging populations, demographic changes and intergenerational equity, and dealing with new challenges in an emerging area. As I was entering a new field of work, it seemed like a smart option to enrol in Superannuation and Retirement Applications (SRA) to further educate myself on the superannuation and retirement industry.

My employer was supportive of my choice to expand my education by completing the SRA course, as it would help me in my current role to further understand regulations and governance with our superannuation partners.

Since completing the course, I’ve been able to use my knowledge and skills in my day-to-day work.

In SRA, what was your favourite thing you learnt?

I learnt many things from SRA, and it helped that Janice, our teacher, exuded passion and was very engaging.

One key teaching was the framework to analyse population pyramids around the world and delve into the strength of various global retirement systems.

Another aspect was potential improvements to the design of the Australian superannuation and retirement system and the impact on members, including how retirement outcomes could be improved for low-income earners.

Lastly, when the Quality of Advice report was released last semester, it was great to be able to hear others’ thoughts and discuss the impact of some of the recommendations on  retirement outcomes of superannuation members which catered to my interest in public policy.

For actuaries currently studying, do you have any tips for managing work, life, and study?

The art of balancing work, life and study is challenging yet rewarding. For me, success has always come with the balance of scoring small points throughout the day. This means eating well, making time for a workout or walk, ensuring I spent time with friends and family, all while finding the time to study.

I found it useful to set up a plan upfront of what I wanted to achieve and when. If, for whatever reason, I wasn’t completing my set targets, I reset the plan based on experience. A realistic plan will keep you productive and accountable, especially when work and life get busy!

Jayden Diep

Occupation: Senior Consultant, Actuarial Team at Deloitte

Once I graduated from the University of New South Wales with a Bachelor of Actuarial Studies and Bachelor of Commerce with a major in Finance, I started as a graduate at Rice Warner in 2020 before moving to Deloitte as part of its acquisition of the consulting business.

My work experience spans superannuation and life insurance with a focus on merger work, including advising funds on their strategic options, merger partner selection and due diligence. Other work that I have done includes insurance pricing reviews, research on insurance needs in Australia and benchmarking.

What led you to study Superannuation and Retirement Applications?

I decided to study SRA as it was aligned to what I was doing at work, as well as my goals of working within the superannuation industry. I was interested in the applications nature of the course, especially applying the constantly changing superannuation environment to more theoretical concepts.

In SRA, what was your favourite thing you learnt?

I enjoyed learning about the different considerations required to design appropriate superannuation products and the differing roles that stakeholders played in this process. I also enjoyed discussing how different regulatory changes could affect product design and the importance of monitoring in the overall process.

For actuaries currently studying, do you have any tips for managing work, life and study?

I found it useful to try and set clear boundaries between work, life and study by allocating time for each and not letting them become intertwined. This allows you to solely focus on the task at hand without distraction.

It’s also important to reward yourself while studying; whether it be a small reward for finishing a module or a larger one for hitting milestones such as submitting an assignment or finishing an exam. This helped me stay motivated throughout study.

Also, I think it’s important to allow yourself to have breaks – I found that studying after a long day at work was not always productive. It’s beneficial to take time off to recharge before hitting the books.

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