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  #1  
Old 02-18-2020, 01:23 AM
dj8735 dj8735 is offline
 
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Default Mom and pop actuarial firms

I currently work as an analyst (entry-level) in pension for a large corporate consulting firm, where I've been for a little over a year. Before that, I worked for a while at a very small financial advisor firm (fewer than 20 employees). I was extremely content with the setting of the financial advisor firm, but it wasn't in actuarial, so I left once I secured my current job.

It would be an understatement to say that my current large corporate setting is a poor fit for me, and I for it; the constant adjustment and upkeep of personal goals, the "optional" training sessions that occur during lunches, micro-managing, zero work/life balance, and many, many other facets of this setting have made each day at work more miserable than the last.

Do there exist "mom-and-pop" actuarial firms? I felt so much more comfortable at the last company that I worked for, and felt that its more intimate setting was inherently a much better fit. However, now I don't even know where/how to look for boutique-sized actuarial firms.

Please help. Any educated input is welcome.

Thanks.
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Old 02-18-2020, 01:48 AM
tommie frazier tommie frazier is offline
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look at soa.org directory for actuaries in your area. note any firms that you don't recognize as big. look at their websites - if they have a "meet our team" part of the site it strongly suggests a smallish size. same with locations.

They def exist.
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Old 02-18-2020, 09:41 AM
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Originally Posted by dj8735 View Post
It would be an understatement to say that my current large corporate setting is a poor fit for me, and I for it; the constant adjustment and upkeep of personal goals, the "optional" training sessions that occur during lunches, micro-managing, zero work/life balance, and many, many other facets of this setting have made each day at work more miserable than the last.
If this is the first large corporation you've worked for, it might be worth not avoiding any other companies just because they're large. I don't know what the "many, many other facets" you mentioned includes, but some of the things you mentioned are company-specific. I think personal goals is probably universal, along with an occasional lunch training. But the way goals are approached and the frequency of lunch trainings, along with expectation to attend them, vary by company or even by manager. So does micro-managing and work/life balance.
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Old 02-18-2020, 09:58 AM
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there is certainly a stark contrast between large and small companies. Looks you've hit on the extreme ends early on. Both have their ups and downs. Big corp life is a bit soul draining, but it comes with some security. A bad year at a small shop could be the end of that shop, while it takes a lot of bad years at a big corp that they get rid of actuaries.

Big corp jobs are more high profile with lots of openings and reciters tend to push them. Small shops are hard to sniff out. lot of right place right time needs to happen to get in.
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Old 02-18-2020, 11:28 AM
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Originally Posted by dj8735 View Post
I currently work as an analyst (entry-level) in pension for a large corporate consulting firm, where I've been for a little over a year. Before that, I worked for a while at a very small financial advisor firm (fewer than 20 employees). I was extremely content with the setting of the financial advisor firm, but it wasn't in actuarial, so I left once I secured my current job.

It would be an understatement to say that my current large corporate setting is a poor fit for me, and I for it; the constant adjustment and upkeep of personal goals, the "optional" training sessions that occur during lunches, micro-managing, zero work/life balance, and many, many other facets of this setting have made each day at work more miserable than the last.

Do there exist "mom-and-pop" actuarial firms? I felt so much more comfortable at the last company that I worked for, and felt that its more intimate setting was inherently a much better fit. However, now I don't even know where/how to look for boutique-sized actuarial firms.

Please help. Any educated input is welcome.

Thanks.
Yeah, I can't believe these companies encourage us to better ourselves! Down with corporates, amirite?
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Old 02-18-2020, 11:30 AM
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Originally Posted by dj8735 View Post
I currently work as an analyst (entry-level) in pension for a large corporate consulting firm, where I've been for a little over a year. Before that, I worked for a while at a very small financial advisor firm (fewer than 20 employees). I was extremely content with the setting of the financial advisor firm, but it wasn't in actuarial, so I left once I secured my current job.

It would be an understatement to say that my current large corporate setting is a poor fit for me, and I for it; the constant adjustment and upkeep of personal goals, the "optional" training sessions that occur during lunches, micro-managing, zero work/life balance, and many, many other facets of this setting have made each day at work more miserable than the last.

Do there exist "mom-and-pop" actuarial firms? I felt so much more comfortable at the last company that I worked for, and felt that its more intimate setting was inherently a much better fit. However, now I don't even know where/how to look for boutique-sized actuarial firms.

Please help. Any educated input is welcome.

Thanks.
are you set on wanting to do consulting work? you mention work-life balance, and that's gonna be tougher to achieve in consulting than insurance. plenty of people working for large insurance companies don't work more than 40 hrs/week. nobody on my 10-person team does.
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Old 02-18-2020, 11:39 AM
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Sounds like you just need to leave pensions
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Old 02-18-2020, 11:41 AM
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Yeah, I can't believe these companies encourage us to better ourselves! Down with corporates, amirite?
ime, formal goal setting in big corp is a meaningless exercise for employees. even worse in consulting low level where your goal is effectively just # billed hours.
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Old 02-18-2020, 11:55 AM
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Originally Posted by act2106 View Post
If this is the first large corporation you've worked for, it might be worth not avoiding any other companies just because they're large. I don't know what the "many, many other facets" you mentioned includes, but some of the things you mentioned are company-specific. I think personal goals is probably universal, along with an occasional lunch training. But the way goals are approached and the frequency of lunch trainings, along with expectation to attend them, vary by company or even by manager. So does micro-managing and work/life balance.
Yeah, I've been at a very, very, very large company for a long time. There are groups where the level of documentation is onerous, for sure. But there are also pockets where small teams exist and skirt this. So I'd approach this as asking about 'team' culture rather than 'company' culture, or thereabouts.
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Old 02-18-2020, 12:02 PM
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There are. At the CCA meeting there's a group for small businesses, maybe 10-15 people go to that. Usually just the 1 actuary, maybe with a staff.

In my experience, the biggest issue is larger employers didn't value that experience much, as they felt it didn't apply to their business lines that much, so it can be hard to change later if you are at the small place for a long time. The small business definitely has more opportunity to shine, but then you can also hit the top really fast. How high do you go if you are next in line behind the owner. Or even if you take it over, you definitely aren't moving up from there.

The plus side is it helped me start my own business doing basically the same stuff, without working hard.
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