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Old 03-25-2019, 12:43 AM
Jonnyboy Jonnyboy is offline
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Lightbulb Career change for a newly minted FSA

Apologies to the forum regulars for adding another one of these, but I honestly tried to search the forum for answers and only came up with decade-old posts listing links to not-quite-relevant topics. Anyways, on to the topic at hand... I'm considering my future career options.

I just received my FSA in the Corporate Finance and Enterprise Risk Management track. I got my first actuarial job in pensions consulting (not corporate, aka pretty stable) on the west coast about 7 years ago, where I've worked my way from analyst to reviewing/supervising actuary. I'd say I'm well-respected at my firm, and am currently assigned several extracurricular roles that allow me to exercise my intellectual curiosity. I make about $135-150k a year depending upon bonus. I also am vested in the company pension plan, which would pay me roughly 45% of my final salary if I were to retire from active status at normal retirement age.

That said, now that I'm basically done with exams I feel the need to reflect on my current course and determine whether I should continue my career elsewhere...Life, Health, ERM, etc.

A change seems exciting to me, but I'm unclear what sort of space is available in those roles for someone like me. Most of the ERM positions seem very targeted toward those with certain industry experience, like Life. And, I'm not sure how far down the ladder I should expect to fall to switch fields. Should I expect a 20-40k pay cut and a senior analyst role? Also, I'm unclear how worthwhile alternative jobs would be. I really do like my employer and my colleagues, and the work I do can be interesting, though sometimes it isn't.

I guess my hope is to gain additional insight on the viability of such a switch, and what to expect. Then, maybe I can decide whether I should invest some of my seemingly vast amount of post-exam time to brushing up on industry-specific knowledge to better my chances.

As it stands, an ERM role or Life role seem exciting to me. Health seems a bit scary due to regulatory uncertainty. But, the truth is I don't know a whole lot about these industries.

Any insight would be appreciated, even if it's simply personal industry experience outside of pensions.

Thanks!
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Old 03-25-2019, 01:20 AM
Westley Westley is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonnyboy View Post
Any insight would be appreciated, even if it's simply personal industry experience outside of pensions.
So, I don't need to know anything useful to respond? That's perfect for me!

No real pension background, and not really an expert on the areas you're likely to move into either...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonnyboy View Post
And, I'm not sure how far down the ladder I should expect to fall to switch fields. Should I expect a 20-40k pay cut and a senior analyst role? Also, I'm unclear how worthwhile alternative jobs would be.
I think it's tough to make the fit at all, for most fields. Like, let's assume you want a generic Health or Life role, you're an FSA and have a lot of experience on analysis, data, managing projects (and perhaps people?) but also have some huge gaps in knowledge/experience when compared to a senior analyst. And the reality of how companies usually think about filling roles is that they can't really figure out what to do with you, so they just look for somebody that's a senior analyst, or nearly there, at a competitor. Another area where the laziness of companies in their hiring practices may be limiting their ability to find talent...

Not sure what all your company does, but a lot of that doesn't apply if you transfer internally. May also be able to get around it if you know somebody at the company you're applying to...
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Old 03-25-2019, 12:37 PM
Jonnyboy Jonnyboy is offline
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Thanks Westly, I appreciate your taking the time to respond. What you say makes sense.

Your comment about the "huge gaps" is part of the reason I want to get a sense of which industry might be most interesting to me, because I'd have an opportunity to fill those gaps the best I could before applying...sort of like targeted study as one would do for an exam. Obviously not a replacement for real world experience, but it would help in an interview I think.
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