This month we have the pleasure of interviewing Javier Campelo, ASA, from Buenos Aires, Argentina. Javier is the SOA´s ambassador for Argentina and the regional ambassador coordinator for Latin America and the Caribbean. Javier leads Re Consulting, an actuarial consulting firm specializing in reinsurance.
Javier has a degree in Economics and Actuarial Science from the University of Buenos Aires, and has worked and traveled extensively throughout Latin America, the United States and Europe with Swiss Re, Aon Re, and Lincoln Re. He has also worked in Argentina’s Ministry of Finance and Stock Exchange.
Actuarial Learning (AL): How many practicing actuaries do you have?
Javier Campelo (JC): In Argentina, there are about 1,000 qualified actuaries. About 300 are matriculated at the Professional Council of Economic Sciences (CPCE). The schools that offer actuarial science undergraduate degrees in Argentina are the University of Buenos Aires (UBA) and Universidad del Salvador (USAL). The Professional Council of Economic Sciences offers continuing education. There are about 2,000 people studying actuarial science (most of them at UBA). Of those, about 400 are in the last two years of the program.
(AL): What is your favorite part about being an actuary?
(JC): My favorite part of being an actuary is getting involved in relevant public policies to incentivize long-term investments in our country, either from national or international capital. As an example of this, I would mention my actuarial work for the Argentinean Strategic Plan for the Insurance Industry (PlaNeS). This plan includes quantitative projections of the impact of different regulatory changes on the evolution of solvency, profitability, market production and other variables relevant to the sector.
In PlaNeS, we have been working together with highly qualified actuarial teams and other experienced professionals, with the participation of all the relevant market players, from both the public and private sectors, including the insurance and reinsurance companies¢authorities within Argentina. We gave a presentation of PlaNeS at the Fourth National and Latin American Actuarial Conference held at the School of Economic Sciences at the University of Buenos Aires. For those readers interested in our work for PlaNeS, please see the SOA web page (www.soa.org), search for my name, and you will find many articles about our activities.
(AL): Do you have any advice for young people in your country interested in pursuing this career?
(JC): Being an actuary is one of the best decisions I have ever made. I would strongly advise young people with strong math and business skills to pursue it. An actuarial career is enormously intellectually satisfying, financially rewarding, can take you anywhere in the world and actuaries enjoy a very good work/life balance.
As an Argentine actuary who graduated from the University of Buenos Aires, and then took the Society of Actuaries´ exams, I had the opportunity to work in United States, in England and in various Latin American countries for the most important reinsurers and reinsurance brokers. Not only was it a pleasure to travel to different places and meet great people from all over the world, it was also the foundation of the career that I have today.
In part because of these experiences abroad, I was qualified to create my own consultancy firm, Re Consulting, based in Buenos Aires, the city where I was born. I now enjoy, in my early forties a financially rewarding and intellectually stimulating job. I also enjoy having a great work/life balance and being able to spend time with my family and being around for the important moments in my kids´ lives.
(AL): What are some of the main challenges and projects for your association over the next 5-10 years?
(JC): The Argentine Actuarial Institute (AAI) is a national association of actuaries and is an associate member of the International Actuarial Association (IAA). In order to be eligible for AAI membership, Argentinean actuaries have to finalize their studies at either UBA or USAL and matriculate at CPCE.
One of the challenges for UBA over the next years is to become the first university in South America to obtain recognition by SOA as a UCAP (Universities and Colleges with Actuarial Programs). In order to achieve it, the UBA will be compliant with the following UCAP requirements in 2018: (a) UBA will have new courses approved as Valid Education Experience for the three VEE topics: Economics; Corporate Finance and Applied Statistical Methods; (b) UBA will offer new courses in Statistics and Financial Mathematics that cover the contents of the first two SOA exams: (P) Probability; (FM) Financial Mathematics.
Another challenge for the UBA is to continue being recognized in Latin America as a center of actuarial academic excellence and continue strengthening its relationship with other universities in the region. The SOA Latin American Committee (which is comprised of ten actuaries in the USA and Latin America, and includes myself) is currently serving as a connection between the UBA and different universities in Colombia, Brazil and Chile to mutually collaborate in updating their respective curricula and adjusting them to the best international practices of the profession.
We visited Colombia in October this year, and we gave presentations at different universities including Universidad Nacional and Universidad de Los Andes, which seem to have the most rigorous actuarial programs in that country. We will also be visiting Brazil in 2018 and we are already in contact with different Brazilian universities, including Universidad Federal de Río de Janeiro. After our visit to Brazil, we will be in Chile where we have also been in contact with Universidad Católica, another university with a strong actuarial curriculum.
(AL): What developments on the horizon could affect future opportunities in your country?
(JC): We strongly believe that the insurance and reinsurance industry in Argentina should move to a Risk-Based Supervision regime. PlaNeS includes the need to improve the solvency levels within the Argentine insurance and reinsurance markets and considers the fact that, with the World Bank’s assistance, the market moves to a risk-based supervision scheme with risk-based capital requirements, in accordance with international best practices. The actuarial community in Argentina will have a key involvementinthemovementtoaRisk-BasedSupervisionregimefortheinsurance industryinArgentina.For those readers interested in our work and theWorldBankvisitto Argentinainitscapacityasassistanttotheproject, I would also recommend looking at the SOA web page and reading some of the articles that we wrote about our activities.
We also believe that many opportunities for local actuaries will arise from the new regulation in reinsurance (Resolution SSN 40422/2017), which opens the Argentine reinsurance market and creates new opportunities for international reinsurers. For those readers interested, I would recommend reading the article “Argentina: The Gradual Opening of the Reinsurance Market. New Opportunities for International Reinsurer” that I wrote for the SOA newsletter “Reinsurance News” in August 2017 (Issue 88).
(AL): What have you seen from inside your company? Where do you think the changes to actuarial work in your country will happen in the next five years?
(JC): I believe that there will be an increasing demand from companies to develop risk models for use as a decision-making tool within the process of setting governing policies and strategies. In this context, the theoretical framework identified as ”Dynamic Risk Modeling“ or “Dynamic Financial Analysis“ will be increasingly implemented by insurance companies to determine optimal retention levels and negotiate with reinsurers on the terms and conditions applicable to the reinsurance schemes.
As an example of the use of these models for the agribusiness insurance, I would refer to the articles “Agribusiness Reinsurance in Argentina – Actuarial Models for Decision-Making” and “Agribusiness Reinsurance in Argentina” — a “David and Goliath Tale” that I wrote for the newsletter International News.
(AL): What qualifications do you find most important for upcoming actuaries?
(JC): At Re Consulting – Actuarial Services we recruit young and talented actuarial students at the School of Economic Sciences at the University of Buenos Aires (FCE- UBA). We are looking for students with a very high general average (at least top 5%) who have both math and business skills and are proficient at using different computer programs.
We hire actuarial students with excellent communication skills and the ability to make effective presentations at a management level. It is absolutely necessary to be flexible and to move quickly from one project to another in the different fields where we provide services to our clients. We strongly advise our consultants to follow the Society of Actuaries path. We give them time to study and we pay for their tuition fees and study material for the SOA exams.
(AL): Do employers support the cost and time of exam preparation?
(JC): At Re Consulting – Actuarial Services we sponsor and mentor actuaries and advanced actuarial students who are really committed to pursuing the SOA exam path. There are a few other employers in Argentina that also support the cost and time for SOA exams.
In my role as SOA Ambassador for Argentina and Regional Ambassador Coordinator for Latin America, we have undertaken several activities in the recent past to encourage more employers to support the cost and time of exam preparation. We have also given various presentations about the Society of Actuaries and its exams at different institutions/organizations including: (a) University of Buenos Aires; (b) the Professional Council of Economic Sciences; (c) the Insurance Superintendence. These presentations were mainly directed atArgentine actuaries and actuarial students interested in becoming SOA members.
(AL): What could people from outside of your country do to help the profession grow in Argentina and/or in Latin America?
(JC): The Society of Actuaries is already doing a lot to help the profession grow in Latin America. I am very proud to be part of the SOA Latin American Committee (LAC) which was built with the aim of carrying out the SOA strategic plan of helping to promote the actuarial profession in Latin America. There is an increasing interest from Latin American universities and local actuaries to become members of the SOA, and we are assisting various universities in Latin America to obtain recognition by SOA as UCAP (Universities and Colleges with Actuarial Programs). In order to achieve it, these universities will have to be compliant with the following UCAP requirements: (a) Have at least one course approved as Valid Education Experience; (b) Offer courses that cover at least the contents of two preliminary SOA exams.
(AL): Is there anything else you would like to add?
(JC): I will forever be indebted to the University of Buenos Aires where I studied both Economics and Actuarial Science. Likewise, I will always be thankful to my former employer, Swiss Re, which gave me the time to study for the SOA exams and the opportunity to travel to different places and meet people and professionals from all over the world. Last but not least, I will also always be grateful to the Society of Actuaries for having a strong actuarial syllabus, which gave me the foundational knowledge to build Re Consulting, my own actuarial consulting company.
I am so thankful to the actuarial profession that has given me so much and now, in my early forties, I think it is time to give back to the profession. This is why I volunteer now as the SOA Ambassador for Argentina and Regional Ambassador Coordinator for Latin America and the Caribbean and I am now part of the SOA Latin American Committee. This is why I dedicate many hours to working for the University of Buenos Aires in helping the UBA to be compliant with the UCAP, having new courses approved as VEE and offering new courses that cover the contents of the first two SOA exams. This is why I decided to help the Argentinean Insurance Superintendence by leading the actuarial team that worked in the quantitative projections of the Argentinean Strategic Plan for the Insurance Industry.
Giving back and showing gratitude to everyone that has helped you makes you feel great. This is something that I always say to my children (likely future actuaries), of whom I could not be more proud.