A day in the life of Fraser Harker
The great thing about working at Barnett Waddingham is that no two days are ever the same, and there are always plenty of opportunities to get involved in exciting projects; but here's how a typical day looks for me.
Law requires that a pension scheme has a full actuarial valuation every three years and we are currently in the stages of a valuation for a client. Having received all of the data on the scheme's members from the administrators it now needs to be checked for accuracy so, after my morning cup of coffee, I start my day by doing some data checks.
Later on, there's an investment monitoring report that I need to finalise. A client has a trustee meeting in a few weeks’ time and they need to know how the scheme's assets have been performing. This involves getting in touch with the scheme's investment managers and obtaining valuations and performance figures for each of the scheme's assets.
Every fortnight we have a lunchtime team meeting, this is a great opportunity to get away from our desks and socialise with colleagues. During the meeting, different members of the team present on a range of topics; from regulatory changes to interesting pieces of work that they’ve been involved with. Although we all work very closely, this is a great chance to catch up with colleagues and share details of recent projects, accomplishments and challenges from the fortnight before.
Pensions’ legislation is often in a state of flux and it’s important that we always try to stay one step ahead of the game, so that we can inform our clients of any changes that might affect them. After lunch, I spend some time on the internet reading up on the latest pension’s news and any issues that were raised at the team meeting.
During the afternoon I prepare trustee packs for a client's upcoming trustee meeting. One of the scheme’s investment managers is due to give a talk at the meeting regarding the performance of their fund and their opinions on the markets, so I get in touch with them to make sure that they have everything they need for this. I really enjoy having the opportunity to talk to clients and build relationships with them.
Later on, I receive a request from a member of a scheme - they are thinking about taking their money out of their pension scheme and, hence, we need to value their benefits. We have excellent tools that perform these calculations but as this scheme has a complex range of benefits, I perform additional checks on the results - it’s important to ensure the computer is valuing the pension in the correct way.
I am a member of the Staple Inn Actuarial Society – an organisation for young actuaries and trainee actuaries. Tonight is their summer social, so some workmates and I hop on the tube and make our way to the Thames for a boat party. I really enjoy being able to socialise outside of work with my colleagues and peers - there's always a great support system!