Any time when you are assessing and planning your finances will often mean you turn to experts and professionals for advice and help, such as an accountant or tax advisor, and in many scenarios, you may also require actuarial services from a company such as actuary.com.au.
Not everyone is aware of or even understands what an actuary does, so here are the basics. The simplest way to describe what an actuary does is to say they are a risk assessor. However, how they undertake that role is at a far higher level of detail and analysis than that of most risk assessments.
The reason for that is that the risks they evaluate relate mainly to financial risks, and therefore the accuracy of the risks they determine is extremely important. How actuaries determine risks includes looking at data, researching past events, creating mathematical models to evaluate risks, and calling upon their knowledge and experience to produce their conclusions.
They can then provide those conclusions to their clients which can include both commercial enterprises and individuals. Whether you are a business owner and fall into the first category, or a private citizen and are in the latter, choosing an actuarial service should be done with care, given that you may make several important decisions based upon their work. To assist you with that decision, here is some advice on how to choose the correct actuary for your financial needs.
Assess Your Needs: Those last three words, “your financial needs“, are what should drive your search for an actuarial service. This will differ greatly between businesses and individuals but in both cases, the goal is the same. That is, to ensure that any actuary you hire will be able to assist in a way that suits you, be that in advising on pensions, insurance, or investment opportunities.
Ask For Referrals: This should be part of any search for professional services, and it simply requires you to ask those whom you know have paid for actuarial services before to comment on how good that service was. Take this a stage further and ask if they would be happy to recommend that actuary to you, given that you are looking to hire one.
Look For Experience And Expertise: Time for some detailed research now. You will find that local actuarial services normally have a website, so go there and click through each page to garner information on their qualifications, history, and accreditation. This is also an ideal opportunity to look for reviews and testimonials. Your goal is to satisfy yourself that the actual service has the required track record.
Evaluate The Range Of Services They Provide: As you conduct your research into potential actuaries, you should make note of the range of actuarial services they provide. This will ensure that the needs you identified at the outset can be met by one or more of the services made available by any given actuary. Also, check if they specialise in any financial area which is of particular interest to you.
Determine Their Communication And Responsiveness: As you proceed, part of your research should include reaching out to local actuaries, asking about their services and so on. This gives you a great opportunity to determine how well they communicate and how quickly they respond to queries which are key as you want to know that, if you become their client, you will not be chasing them for responses.
Consider The Cost: Given the complexity of what they do, its importance, and the knowledge, skills, and experience they require, it should not surprise you that using an actuary will incur a reasonable fee. Here is where you, ironically, do your own little bit of risk assessment to ensure that any fees quoted meet your expectations for the actuarial services you will receive.