Heriot-Watt University Students' Actuarial Society (SAS) held its annual conference on Wednesday 12 February. The event was an opportunity for students to exchange views with experts from industry and academia about the challenges and issues facing the actuarial world today.
A key part of the conference was the wide range of informative talks delivered by distinguished speakers with specialist knowledge in their chosen areas of expertise.
Kris Hristakev, actuarial analyst at Swiss Re, delivered a presentation on Solvency II. The presentation provided helpful diagrams and important technical details describing how the issue is currently being treated by large actuarial firms and regulators.
Dr. Gordon Woo, Cambridge University graduate currently working as a mathematician at RMS, gave a talk entitled "A Medical Science Based Approach to Longevity Models". The presentation touched on issues including the rising resistance of antibiotics, the progress made in geroscience and the intriguing randomness of important medical discoveries throughout history.
John Gordon, consultant at Punter Southall and Heriot-Watt graduate, gave a presentation on the transition from defined benefit pension to defined contributions pension schemes. The talk carefully distinguished between the two pension plans and highlighted the advantages and disadvantages businesses and consumers are exposed to with each plan.
Andrew Smith, senior partner at Deloitte, discussed the "Consequences of Choosing the Wrong Model". In particular, the speech emphasised the problems huge financial companies face when designing and interpreting their statistical models, and how this can go devastatingly wrong.
The SAS Conference has been a great success thanks to the hard work of student and a great opportunity to keep up to date with some of the current issues facing the financial industry, for those with an interest in actuarial work or risk management.