I grew up in Dublin and went to university in Dublin. Having always lived close to home, moving to another country was an exciting prospect and something I’d thought about for a while. When I finished my actuarial exams, London became the obvious choice for me. It’s easy to get back to Dublin and I have friends and cousins here.
I had heard good things about Milliman in Ireland and, when I decided to move to the UK, it was one of the consultancies I was most interested in talking to.
What do you like to do away from the office?
I like going to the gym, visiting London markets, cinema, shopping, and reading.
I love all the markets here—they are on a much larger scale than they are in Dublin. I especially like the markets with vintage clothes, bags and jewellery and could spend all day there browsing. There are still a few I’ve yet to visit and when anyone comes to visit me here, I try to bring them to a new one.
As for books, I love fiction and fantasy, like Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings. I also really enjoy sports biographies. Professional athletes have another level of focus, and it’s fascinating to read about them.
When did you decide you wanted to be an actuary?
I decided to study actuary and finance in university around the time I turned 18. I’ve always liked maths and problem-solving and wanted to pursue a career that included both. Being an actuary seemed to fit that.
At Milliman, there’s a nice balance of both technical and marketing work due the client-oriented nature of a consultancy. I really enjoy this balance.
In my current position, I get the opportunity to meet new people and build relationships with them. If I do a good job, a client benefits. Gaining a client’s trust, keeping them happy and succeeding in adding value for them is probably the most rewarding aspect of the job for me.
What are you focusing on right now?
At the moment, most of the projects I’m involved in are in relation to Solvency II. The new regime is coming into force in 2016 and, therefore, there’s a lot of preparatory work for this at the moment.
For some clients, I’m involved in reviewing their Solvency II implementation plans and models to ensure that they are compliant with the latest requirements. Where we see gaps between where clients are now and where they need to be, we work with them to address these areas-- for example, by developing new processes and updating their models.
Some of our clients are applying to the UK regulator for approvals. For example, firms need approval to use an internal model or to apply certain adjustments to the risk-free interest rates used to value their best estimate liability. There is a significant amount of work and documentation required for such applications, which we can help with.
How has Milliman compared to other places you have worked?
I worked at another consultancy in Dublin before joining Milliman. I feel that, at Milliman, there is a more level structure. Everyone, from the most recent graduates to senior consultants and principals, is encouraged to voice their opinions and give input to projects and, most importantly, everyone’s views are considered and taken seriously. There is more onus to take responsibility for your own workload and the types of projects you work on.
I also think that the projects I’ve worked on at Milliman are more varied. Rather than focusing on generic solutions, Milliman’s solutions are tailored and specific to individual clients.
What advice would you give to someone starting out at Milliman?
I would say be proactive about getting involved in projects and work in which you have a particular interest. I’ve found that senior consultants and principals will make an effort to accommodate to your requests as far as is reasonably possible. To an extent, the experience you get is up to you.