Actuarial degrees

#1

An actuary is a person who has good mathematical skills to measure the probability and risk of future events. So why become an actuary?
Actuaries are used in many industries, including healthcare, pensions, insurance, banking and investments. The influence on decision can have is immense and thus the responsibility attached to this profession is significant. There are professional qualifications attached to this degree and it is a well recognised profession. The people who make up the profession come from a variety of backgrounds although there will be a common bond of a love of mathematics. The key skills needed will be evaluating financial risks, analysing data and assessing giving direction to the board in making decisions.
There are a number of suitable degree courses which will allow for the student to be well equipped in his advancement towards the professional qualification and these will include the BSc at LSE (once known as the London School of Eccentrics) and the MSc in Statistics and Stochastics. The BSc is interesting in that it has no modules but is composed of a set number of subjects which mus be studied in order to qualify for admission to the Institute of Actuaries. This gives a clear outline of the depth of study needed for this degree. It seems to me that this a most challenging degree and I would be pleased to hear from anybody who has undertaken this course of study or profession as I have a friend who wishes to cross the rubicon.

#2

I am not an actuary but have an interest in this area as they impinge on the investments that I make as well as setting inflated insurance premiums!
The degree courses that are available seem to be of great assistance in moving forward in this degree and I therefore wonder why universities are withdrawing these degrees. Clearly this is a sign that the uptake is insufficient and might suggest that there is a waning interest in this profession. But why? It is a mathematicians dream and also allows for a practitioner to be able to assess risk.
Surely there can be no risk to employment in this field as banks and Lloyds are growth service industries. I looked at the degrees on offer and they are certainly challenging but not exceedingly so. Is it that the industry is not a glamour industry?
My thoughts are that with insurance growing in Russia and China there is an ever strengthening demand for actuaries. Surely these degrees need to be promoted to attract people so can an actuary please give a feel for the profession and where it is headed?