Standard Bank supports the development of the actuary profession in South Africa

06 October 2021 Standard Bank

Standard Bank has taken title sponsorship of one of the longest-standing events of the actuarial profession in South Africa: The Convention of the Actuarial Society of South Africa (ASSA) 2021. This year marks the 48th annual convention, which will take place virtually from 19-22 October.

The ASSA is a member driven organisation that aims to grow the actuarial profession by providing knowledge and skills and ultimately impact positively on society and the broader sector. The convention provides a platform for members to network, engage and learn.
This is the second virtual edition of the conference and the first time in which Standard Bank is sponsoring the event. While the impact Covid-19 pandemic has shifted the format of the conference, its virtual nature has widened its reach.

In 2020, the conference welcomed 1 575 attendees from 23 countries and saw an average of 1100 attendees on average per session. Just over 2 000 participants visited the virtual exhibition hall.

“Actuaries play a pivotal role in the financial services industry; their skills and expertise are highly valued not only in the area of insurance but across different facets of the sector such as investment banking, which deals with various risks,” explains Schalk Kotze, Head of Affluent, Consumer and High Net Worth South Africa at Standard Bank Group. “Essentially, actuarial science can be applied to any field that has an element of risk associated with it.”

Many of the industries and areas of business in which actuarial science is applied have been impacted by technological advancements, specifically in insurance where big data and insights are being leveraged to better analyse customer profiles and potential areas of risk. This, and various other factors, is redefining the role of modern actuaries.

“The increasing availability of big data offers a huge opportunity for actuarial departments to use analytics to determine loss drivers and offer better solutions for their customers. However, this must be managed carefully, considering the regulatory wave that has washed over the globe in relation to data privacy and protection.”

In addition to the evolution of technology, and increased regulation, not only in relation to data privacy, other significant changes are also influencing actuarial departments. These include shifting customer preferences, the state of the environment and other developments globally.

"As such, it is of utmost importance that platforms are made available that facilitate sharing of insights and ignite conversations that will bring learnings to members of the actuarial fraternity,” says Kotze. It is these types of conversations that will help to ensure that actuarial departments are properly equipped for the complexities of the modern world, and the risks that come with it.”

Schalk Kotze says that Standard Bank is a proud sponsor of the ASSA’s virtual convention this year, which, through a wide host of sessions, is expected to cover some of the most pertinent issues facing actuaries currently. “Ultimately, Standard Bank wishes to develop the actuarial profession to ensure that today’s actuaries are well-developed and ready for the changes in the insurance and banking environments, and the global events that are changing the game.”

As part of its future ready strategy, Standard Bank is undergoing extensive digital transformation to create efficiencies in the business and develop a truly client-centric approach. As such, the organisation requires professionals in the field of actuarial sciences and beyond that will embrace innovation and working in tandem with digital capabilities.

In addition to sponsoring the Convention of the ASSA this year in a bid to support the growth and development of the profession, Standard Bank offers a graduate development programme for data, analytics and actuarial graduates. This programme aims to equip young and talented Africans with skills required in meeting the current and future demands of the world of work, given the proliferation of changes within the technology space and insurance landscape in the country.

“At Standard Bank, we are focused on delivering exceptional, personalised experiences to our clients by leveraging both digital and human capabilities. As such, we are throwing our weight behind initiatives and supporting endeavours aimed at growing the development of professions such as the actuary profession, and its professionals, to ensure the competitiveness of our organisation, and that of others on the continent, with the end goal of driving Africa’s growth and participation in the 4th Industrial Revolution,” Kotze concludes.

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