Actuaries 'taking up freelance status'

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As the 21st century progresses, increasing numbers of actuaries may leave big consulting firms to work on a freelance contract basis, according to Nigel Burton, corporate development actuary at the self-styled 'actuarial entrepreneurs' firm HCAS.

Burton says: 'Actuarial work is mathematical and analytical and, by its nature, it can be done where and when you want. Actuaries don't have a lot of face-to-face client meetings.'

HCAS now employs between 150 and 200 actuaries on a freelance basis, working from home. They are mainly concerned with loss assessment relating to the pensions mis-selling review, calculating the amounts to be paid to individuals by life assurance companies.

Employing these actuaries to work from home, Burton says, cuts down on the fees charged to the clients and increases their flexibility. E-commerce helps to make this new cottage industry possible.

The pensions mis-selling review is due to be completed by June 2002. Burton, however, believes there will be many opportunities for actuaries to work on a freelance basis beyond that date.