“I went back and revisited the SP9 syllabus and saw it was just a perfect match.” – Louise Williamson
Initially, I went into a traditional defined benefits pension consulting role, supporting trustees of pension plans and also corporates. I did some really exciting projects as part of that work: some of the first pension increase exchange and enhanced transfer value exercises in the industry. It was at that point that I really appreciated the impact of data on pension schemes.
I was then given the opportunity to move into the newly formed data solutions business where we did some really interesting work with data, realising the importance not only in terms of saving time for the pension schemes we were working with, but also making a real financial impact. I was using my actuarial skills on projects such as calculating contingent spouses’ pensions for schemes that were looking to do a buy-out and GMP reconciliation exercises.
Following that, I was offered the chance to join a new team, a defined contribution master trust that was being set up within the business. I moved into that area and that was where my real interest in risk came to the forefront and I soon moved into a role working specifically in risk and compliance for the trust.
My current role
It was really interesting making the move from working solely in pensions to a much broader risk role. The work I had done before laid down some really good foundations, in terms of the approach that I would take, my familiarity with regulations and oversight required, as well as the manipulation of figures, assumptions etc. when I was looking at reserves. However, it did take a conscious application to carry those skills into a new field, which was both really interesting and challenging at the same time.
I took a look at my career and the role I was doing to date. I looked at the very diverse responsibilities I had managing risk registers, working with audit and risk subcommittees, monitoring new regulations such as GDPR, as well as monitoring capital reserves. I considered that and thought how does that best map to the qualification that I have and how does that fit in with my actuarial role. I was sure it did, but it was just very different to the work I had been doing when I first qualified as a pensions actuary.
Read more from Louise: Download the rest of the case study.
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