Actuaries to test skills as fee-paid advisers - Business - News - The Independent

Actuaries to test skills as fee-paid advisers

ACTUARIES, the normally retiring types who specialise in the complex mathematics of risk assessment for insurance and pension companies, have emerged blinking into the spotlight with a claim to be considered as financial advisers.

The 21 member firms of the recently formed Independent Consulting Actuaries Network (Ican) said this month that their fee-based advice on pensions and insurance could be cheaper for individual investors than using traditional advisers who are paid commissions. Ican is made up of small and medium-sized firms interested in expanding their work with private clients (most actuarial work is for corporate clients).

'There is an increasing number of private individuals, mostly executives, who are requiring individual counselling - in many cases as a result of redundancy,' said Peter Chadwick of Grove Park Consultants, one of Ican's member firms. He said he had advised clients on, among other things, pension entitlements in divorce settlements.

'Another area is trying to unravel cases where personal pensions have been incorrectly sold - for example, where people have been cajoled into transferring out of a Civil Service-type pension.

'We can quantify the loss resulting from bad advice. Actuaries are well equipped with number-crunching skills,' Mr Chadwick said.

Actuaries can offer expert advice on pension transfers, according to the chairman of Ican, Geoffrey Bernstein. 'Although the regulations have been tightened up, there are still terrific variations in the basis on which transfer values can be calculated. For example, a pension scheme with an excellent past record of paying pension increases may not take future increases into account in the transfer value. In this situation, someone shouldn't really be taking a transfer,' he said.

Like the growing number of independent financial advisers offering fee-based advice, Ican members charge their clients at an hourly rate - from about pounds 60 upwards depending on the firm. However, arranging a pension in this way saves on the initial and often substantial commission charges - especially on regular premium pension policies.

Mr Bernstein (who charges pounds 135 an hour) estimates that people considering investing pounds 2,000 to pounds 5,000 a year in their pensions may benefit financially from taking fee-based advice. He concentrates particularly on comparing the conditions and charges levied by pension firms.

'Companies' policies are put together by actuaries who are used to obfuscating the true level of charges, so it needs an actuary to pull them apart again,' he said.

Actuaries who hope to become as familiar to the public as, say, accountants or solicitors will first have to overcome their image as the grey people of the financial world. (The old joke is that an actuarial career is for people who can't stand the excitement of accountancy.)

Mr Bernstein admits his profession has an image problem. 'It's a bit like railway timetables, in that everyone agrees they are very important but no one is very interested in them.'

This perhaps overstates the present level of recognition. 'The average person hasn't even heard of an actuary,' said Mr Chadwick. 'That's not the fault of the public; that's the fault of the actuarial profession as a whole.'

(Photograph omitted)

News
John Travolta is a qualified airline captain and employed the pilot with his company, Alto
people'That was the lowest I’d ever felt'
Life and Style
healthIt isn’t greasy. It doesn’t smell. And moreover, it costs nothing
Arts and Entertainment
Emma Thompson and Bryn Terfel are bringing Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street to the London Coliseum
theatre

Returning to the stage after 20 years makes actress feel 'nauseous'

News
peopleThe Times of India said actress should treat it as a 'compliment'
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
news

Commuter travels 320 metres, 75 steps, two ticket barriers and a labyrinth of roads to get to work
Property
Home body: Badger stays safe indoors
lifeShould we feel guilty about keeping cats inside?
News
The programme sees four specialists creating what they believe are three perfect couples, based on scientific matchmaking. The couples will not meet until they walk down the aisle together
tvUK edition of wedding show forced to recast after wave of drop-outs
Arts and Entertainment
US pop diva Jennifer Lopez sang “Happy Birthday” to Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, president of Turkmenistan
musicCorporate gigs become key source of musicians' income
Arts and Entertainment
You've been framed: Henri Matisse's colourful cut-outs at Tate Modern
artWhat makes a smash-hit art show
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
filmsDaniel Craig believed to be donning skis as 007 for first time
Student
The Guildhall School of Music and Drama is to offer a BA degree in Performance and Creative Enterprise
student

Top conservatoire offers ‘groundbreaking’ arts degree

Sport
Mikel Arteta pictured during Borussia Dortmund vs Arsenal
champions league
Voices
Yes supporters gather outside the Usher Hall, which is hosting a Night for Scotland in Edinburgh
voicesBen Judah: Is there a third option for England and Scotland that keeps everyone happy?
Arts and Entertainment
Pulp-fiction lover: Jarvis Cocker
booksJarvis Cocker on Richard Brautigan
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Consultant - Soho - IT, Pharma, Public Sector

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £35,000 first year: SThree: The SThree group i...

Sales Executive

£20 - 24k (Uncapped Commission - £35k Year 1 OTE): Guru Careers: We are seekin...

Payroll & Accounts Assistant

£20 - 24k + Benefits: Guru Careers: This is a great opportunity for an enthusi...

SQL Developer - Watford/NW London - £280 - £320 p/d - 6 months

£280 - £320 per day: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group have been engaged by a l...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week