As the new curriculum 2019 has been released, there are major debates over the changes in the structure of both the Actuarial Societies (IFOA vs IAI). There were many students who used to attempt exams from IAI because the exam fees were lower as compared to that of IFoA. However, this advantage seems to be fading away as now IAI has made it compulsory to buy the study material (except SP and SA levels) along with each exam booking. Also, soft copy option to buy the material is no longer available which forces the students to buy relatively high-priced study material.
So, here we bring an analysis of the IFOA vs IAI costs involved in giving actuarial exams from both the reputed societies as per the new curriculum. We hope that it helps you in deciding what factors you should consider before booking an exam from these societies.
*Study material mentioned in IFOA is CMP (Combined material pack) from Acted, the rates mentioned here are of Soft copy. To make the analysis more realistic the exchange rate is taken as 90 rupees, to include 2-3.5% transaction charge of the actual cost. Current exchange rate is 86.5 rupees per pound.
** Exam fees for IFOA CS1 non-members is 180 pounds or 16,200 rupees. The exam rate mentioned for CS, CM and CB series are reduced rates from IFOA and CP, SP and SA series have full rates. Study material rate mentioned is also reduced rate for respective subjects while others are full rates except for CB2.
*** Membership fees for IFOA associate and fellow is Partial fees, Partial fees are applicable to members working outside of UK, who are not performing UK work.
Some of useful insights from the IFoA vs IAI comparison table are:
Most of the IAI exams are cheaper than IFOA. The cost difference is also not very high and given the advantage of IFOA higher pass rate, these exams might be a better choice. CB3 and CP2 have huge difference in cost of 19800 and 10350 (total of 30,150 rupees). So, its recommended to give these two exams from IAI only and get mutual exemption. Since exemption is being stopped from both Institutes, it’s better to postpone and give these exams later.
Material Costs under IAI or IFoA
If you compare the material cost of IAI and Acted, you can see a big difference of at least two times. Acted is making the material, while IAI is just distributing and paying royalty for it. Also, IAI is providing material in hard copy while Acted is providing it in soft copy, still there is a big difference. I think its better to blame Acted for making the material so expensive rather than IAI!
Possible reason for increased costs
The higher cost of material and compulsion to buy the buy the material, can be due increase in royalty or compulsion by Acted. Sharing of material might also be the reason behind banning of soft copy and availability of only hard copy. Most people only blame IAI for increased cost and compulsory hard copy. Ever wondered, this could be due to sharing of material by you only
It also must be noted that, professional courses like CA has an inclusive material cost in the examination fees itself, and that material is hard copy only.
Membership under IFoA or IAI
There is a massive difference between IAI and IFOA membership fees which can easily be noticed. If the exemption continues, then it’s recommended to take both memberships. IFOA has advantage of higher pass rates while IAI membership has 2 advantage that IFOA doesn’t have.
Firstly, it’s very cheap compared to IFOA both in exams and membership fees. Secondly, IAI conducts 10-15 seminars or events each year which are very good for holistic learning and networking. The participation fees vary greatly between member and non-member and sometimes the event is for members only. So, I think it’s better to pay 2000 each year rather than paying 15-20k extra each year for those events.
If you think, the costs are too high from IAI or IFoA
I would like to share a post written by Kartikey Kandoi, Fellow Actuary.
“Suppose average cost of each material 10k, plus assume average cost of each exam 10k and average student give on average all exam twice dies to late success, so average cost of each exam is 30k, plus let’s add say 10k average for classes offered by Acted or IAI online, so let say 40k for each exam. Considering say 15 exams, total cost of study is 6 lakhs.
I believe this cost is not too much, which offer handsome amount of money while candidate is working alongside examination (3 years work experience).
Plus, post qualification, average package is minimum 20-25 lakhs. Still you believe this study cost/ investment is costly and one need to think to leave course on grounds of cost!!! Worst case scenario where on an average candidate will take 3 diet for each exam passing, that will take cost to 7.50 lakhs.
Still I believe this is best in terms of cost benefit analysis. I can assure you, study cost will be recovered before you complete Actuary (if you are working in Actuarial domain, even if you take 100 sittings to pass 15 papers). Compare cost in Doctor, IIT, IIM. I know, someone will compare with CA is cheaper, in that stipend also comes in that manner only, one can’t recover cost from Stipend even though pass CA first attempt. But in Actuaries they can recover all cost before completion if they pass required exams and complete 3 years work experience from any Actuarial Employer.”
It is true that actuarial exams are expensive, but it is also true that benefits are worth those expense.
As you know current exemption policy is on hold and both institutes have also clearly mentioned that there would be no mutual exemption after 2021. The latest IAI announcement clearly stated that IAI is trying to get the recognition for years 2019-2021, but its still in progress. Check IFOA newsletter and IAI announcements for more info.
An article on the current exemption policy and possible reasons behind the exemption policy changes will be rolling out soon. Stay tuned
If the cost is concerned IAI is much better than IFOA but when the passing rates are concerned IFOA seems to be better. There can be only 2 possible scenarios in the future; Exemption is not available or Exemption is available.
Exemption is not available
Then, it’s wise to give from only one actuarial society only. You can also give papers from CAS and SOA, the costs are high but the papers are also less with no membership fees. Comment below if you would like to read an article on the same.
Exemption is available
The best choice would be to take membership from both the institutes and take their subsequent advantages. One could give CM1, CM2, CS1, CS2, CB1, CB2 & CP1 from IFOA because of its higher pass rate and also there is not much difference in cost and give papers like CB3, CP2 from IAI only and take mutual exemption.
Let’s just hope that the exemption policy rolls out as soon and exemption still continues for all the papers.
The purpose of this article was not proving that IFOA is more expensive than IAI, the purpose was to give you an overall idea of the current scenarios and help you to take your future decisions better. The purpose was also to give you some clarification regarding IAI changes, and to motivate you not to leave actuarial science just because of the costs.
Hope this article was helpful.
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