Actuary vs CFA

Written by selam nuri
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Actuary vs CFA
Actuaries and CFA have to calculate projections. (Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Actuaries and chartered financial analysts (CFA) both have extensive training in business, finance and statistics. Both fields require a strong background in mathematics and analytical skills. The minimum education requirement for actuaries and CFAs is a bachelor's degree. Along with the similarities of actuaries and CFAs, there are some differences between the two professions.


Actuaries are employed in the insurance and financial industries. They are trained to analyse risks and forecast the potential financial losses of an organisation. In the insurance industry, actuaries specialise in property, casualty or life and health insurance. In the financial services industry, they manage credit and set prices for corporate securities or develop new investment tools. Approximately 55 per cent of actuaries are employed in the insurance sector, and in 2009 the median salary for actuaries was £56,550.

Chartered financial analyst (CFA)

CFA designations are sponsored by the CFA Society of the UK. Financial analysts advise businesses and individuals on sound investment practices. Banks, insurance companies, securities firms and the business media employ financial analysts. Financial analysts are categorised into two areas: buy side and sell side investments. Buy side analysts help companies invest their money. Sell side analysts assist securities dealers like banks and investment firms with selling stocks, bonds and other financial instruments. The average salary for CFAs was £47,450 in 2009.

Actuary training and qualifications

Students with an undergraduate degree in mathematics, statistics or actuarial science can become actuaries. Actuaries are accredited by a professional association in the UK: the Institute of Actuaries. Employers typically prefer to hire candidates who hold a credential in specialised fields such as casualty, medical malpractice, homeowners and worker's compensation.

CFA training and qualifications

CFAs hold a bachelor's or master's degree in fields like finance, business, accounting and economics. While certification is not a requirement, financial analysts with CFA designations can enhance their employment opportunities and professional standing. In addition to having a bachelor's degree, CFA candidates must also have a minimum of four years of related work experience. The CFA Society of the UK offers preparatory courses and training for qualified individuals. CFA examinees must have a solid knowledge of topics like accounting, economics, securities analysis and corporate finance.

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