As part of the Accountancy Careers series of  Employer Q&As, leading investment firm Standard Life will be answering questions submitted by you.

About Standard Life

Standard Life is a global investment savings business based in the UK. We help people save for their future. Since 1825, we’ve been helping people plan for, and enjoy, the lifestyles they want.
Around 4.5 million customers around the world trust us to look after their savings and investments – over £307 billion in total (as at December 2015).
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The questions

What is the main thing Standard Life expects from its actuaries?
What measures does Standard Life use to judge the success of its actuaries?
How would you describe Standard Life’s company culture and management style? 
How does Standard Life build good relationships within its teams?
What areas, if any, do Standard Life plan to expand into over the next five to ten years? 
To what extent, can a student actuary who has all 8 (or close to) CT exemptions by means of university results, be fast-tracked to kick-start their actuarial career?
If there is an advantage of CT exemptions, what can one expect the salary differences to be?
Do I have to have a relevant degree subject to apply to your graduate programme?
Can I apply to your graduate programme if I have a degree from outside of the UK?
Can I apply to more than one of your graduate/ internship programmes?
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The answers

What is the main thing Standard Life expects from its actuaries?
To be effective and contribute to the overall success of the business while honing both actuarial and other skills, and passing exams at a satisfactory rate. Given the very generous study package there is an expectation that students at SL will pass more exams first time than the trainee population in general.

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What measures does Standard Life use to judge the success of its actuaries?
The way we manage performance provides plenty of opportunities to give and receive feedback, review goals and outcomes and to recognise successes. Like all our employees, actuaries have performance reviews every 6 months. The majority of these reviews are made up of your performance as a member of your team/department and your contribution to the successful running of the business. It is also required that trainees pass exams at a reasonable rate and they complete their Work Based Skills requirements every 6 months.

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How would you describe Standard Life’s company culture and management style?
Our Company Strategic goals are to drive shareholder value through being a leading, customer-centric business focused on long-term savings and investment propositions in our chosen markets. We’ve created a People Strategy to compliment this – to make sure our people understand how they contribute.
The opinion of everyone at Standard Life counts. Our employee engagement survey informs our decisions, and gives all our people a chance to have their say about what it’s like to work for us.
Our offices are open, pleasant environments, with personal space for working and areas for interaction with others.
We value your individuality. Your experiences, values, beliefs, opinions, likes and dislikes make you who you are. Our diversity and inclusion approach promotes a company culture where you can be yourself and achieve your potential.

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How does Standard Life build good relationships within its teams?
Through collaboration and inclusion within your own team and across other areas of the business.
We help you understand your strengths and aspirations, and ensure you know what’s expected of you and your team and how this connects with the company’s strategic goals.
We have a strong focus on development and we’ll support you as you continue to learn and work towards achieving your ambitions.
We celebrate inspiration – in the activities our people do in and out of work. We hold local awards each year to recognise inspiring people and teams.

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What areas, if any, do Standard Life plan to expand into over the next five to ten years?
Our ambition is to grow globally, helping our customers in the UK and across the world to save and invest for their future, continuing to be a trusted, world class long term investments savings business.

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To what extent, can a student actuary who has all 8 (or close to) CT exemptions by means of university results, be fast-tracked to kick-start their actuarial career?
In general, trainees starting with 8 CT exemptions are not treated any differently to the other trainees – all trainees are entitled to the same support from the company as they progress through their actuarial career. They will, however, be entitled to a pay rise following confirmation of exemptions. The only other difference may be that their first placement in the business is of a more technical actuarial nature reflecting their background. The first two placements within the company may also be shorter, of 12-18 month duration, to ensure a breadth of experience before qualification.

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If there is an advantage of CT exemptions, what can one expect the salary differences to be?
We increase students’ salaries by a set amount for each successfully completed CT. 25% of these pay rises are awarded immediately, with the other 75% being awarded with exam pass results roughly 2 years after joining the company.

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Do I have to have a relevant degree subject to apply to your graduate programme?
You are required to have a first or 2:1 degree in an analytical subject in order to apply, but not necessarily in actuarial science or maths.

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Can I apply to your graduate programme if I have a degree from outside of the UK? 
Yes, if the degree is relevant and the equivalent of a first or 2:1.

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Can I apply to more than one of your graduate/ internship programmes?
We ask that you take time to research and consider all of our options and choose one graduate/internship programme to apply to.

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If you want to find out more about what its like to work for Standard Life check out the profiles and videos below:
Graduate Trainees – Video
Summer Internships – Video
Financial and Insurance Risk Actuary – Senior Profile

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