ACTL5100 Actuarial Theory and Practice A - 2019

ACTL5100
Postgraduate
Term 1
6 Units of Credit
On Campus
Risk & Actuarial Studies
This course outline is provided in advance of offering to guide student course selection. Please note that while accurate at time of publication, changes may be required prior to the start of the teaching session. You should always access the current online version of the outline when the Term commences.

1. Course Details

Summary of Course

​The Actuarial Theory & Practice courses develop the theory and practice underlying the actuarial management of financial institutions. The courses particularly cover applications in life, health and general insurance, superannuation and banking where actuaries are involved in product design, pricing, reserving, risk, investment and surplus management. The courses emphasise students’ ability to bring together what they have learnt in the undergraduate courses in order to make professional judgements.

Teaching Times and Locations

Please note that teaching times and locations are subject to change. Students are strongly advised to refer to the Class Timetable website for the most up-to-date teaching times and locations.

View course timetable

Course Policies & Support

Course Aims and Relationship to Other Courses

The courses consider the practical application of the concepts covered in the Part I courses covered in the first 3 years actuarial courses at UNSW. The Actuarial Theory & Practice courses, together with ACTL4303/ACTL5303 Asset and Liability Management cover the part II requirements of the Institute of Actuaries of Australia (Actuaries Institute). Students who obtain over a 75% average for these three courses will be recommended for Part II exemption. This means that they can qualify for the actuarial designation after three years of appropriate practical experience, and the completion of a final professionalism course.

In Part II, the Actuaries Institute expects students “to develop a holistic approach to practical problem solving, and develop a level of judgement and professional skills required to successfully apply actuarial principles”.

The main aim of these courses is therefore to prepare students to take a professional approach to the actuarial management of a financial institution:

  • Product development and pricing
  • Valuation of assets and liabilities and the determination of capital
  • Application of the Actuarial Control Cycle to meet commercial and regulatory objectives
  • Enterprise risk management

There will be references to professionalism, ethics and the ability to make reasoned argument, throughout the course.

The undergraduate ACTL4001 and postgraduate ACTL5100 students attend the same lectures, but separate tutorials. The assessment is the same for both classes.

2. Staff Contact Details

Position Title Name Email Location Phone Consultation Times
Lecturer-in-chargeAProfAnthony AsherRoom 650, Business School building – Ref E12+61 2 9385 7619To be announced on Moodle

Communication with staff

Consultation times: To be announced on Moodle.

Written queries should be made in the discussion forums on Moodle so that all students can see the responses. There will be no response to subject related questions made by email.

3. Learning and Teaching Activities

Approach to Learning and Teaching in the Course

Students are encouraged to become deep learners. As a deep learner, you would have taken responsibility for your own learning, and have chosen to become interested in the subject for its own sake rather than merely to pass the exams. You will be developing your own personal opinions on the subject, and will go on learning and thinking throughout life. Students may find it helpful to use the Biggs study process questionnaire on Moodle to understand the extent to which you are a deep learner.

There are many facts to learn about the context of actuarial work and these will be covered in the readings and in the lectures. Both readings and lectures will, however, also expose students to different opinions and you will be expected to develop your own views on the difficult and sometimes controversial questions that actuaries have to address in practice. In many cases, there are no right answers.

This could be described as a guided self-learning approach. The ultimate aim is for you to see yourself as a member of the actuarial (or related) profession and be able to apply your knowledge to new situations encountered in the financial sector.

Learning Activities and Teaching Strategies

The strategy for the course involves:

  • Students prepare for lectures and tutorials by reading and thinking about the relevant material, and identifying issues they are uncertain of, for discussion in the class.
    1. An online weekly quiz highlights the main issues, provides immediate feedback on basic misunderstandings, and provides a discipline so that all students are prepared to contribute to tutorials and lectures.
    2. There is also a private weekly personal reflection to prompt consideration of the personal applications of the work covered.
  • Lectures highlight the main implications and controversies arising from the readings, accompanied by discussion where the class is expected to contribute and to provide feedback. There may also be small group discussions. There will be guest lecturers with significant experience in financial institutions to provide background knowledge on the operation of particular markets.
  • Tutorials involve oral presentations, where the student is expected to research a topic and then develop a short presentation for their peers, followed by discussion by the class. This also allows for feedback, and discussion of the broader context of the issue addressed by the presentation.
  • A midsession examination to give practice at examinations, and a re-write exercise to give more detailed feedback on understanding, critical thinking and written communication.

The tutorials will include:

  • Student presentations
  • Discussion
  • Time for student questions and feedback from the lecturer

The course textbooks, lectures and assessment tasks are designed to provide a framework for your learning. Every student has a different approach to learning. How much time you spend on reading in preparation for lectures, completing assessment tasks, reviewing course objectives, deepening your understanding and preparing for final examinations will depend on your learning approach. Experience suggests that students spending less than thirteen hours per week (including lectures and tutorials) are unlikely to obtain the exemption standard. Lectures and class discussions will cover the main concepts and issues, and will not necessarily cover all the details of the course readings or texts.

Your private study is the most important component of this course. Weekly readings, reviewing key concepts, and your own topic summaries should be considered as a basis of a regular private study regime. Keeping up to date is very important and each week builds on the prior week so it is important that you have your study regime organised early.

5. Course Resources

The required reading for this course is:

  • C Bellis, Richard Lyon, Stuart Klugman and John Shepherd, Understanding Actuarial Management, Institute of Actuaries, Second Edition, 2010 (UAM)
  • A Asher, Working Ethically in Finance: Clarifying our Vocation, Business Expert Press, 2015 (WEF)

Other papers and resources that are considered relevant will be available on Moodle.

The Moodle site for this course will contain the Course Outline, presentations made by lecturers, presentations made by students, and any notices relevant to this course. It is important that you visit the site regularly to see any notices posted there by the Lecturer-in-Charge – and are able to regularly read the emails sent by Moodle.

6. Course Evaluation & Development

Feedback is regularly sought from students and continual improvements are made based on this feedback. At the end of this course, you will be asked to complete the myExperience survey, which provides a key source of student evaluative feedback. Your input into this quality enhancement process is extremely valuable in assisting us to meet the needs of our students and provide an effective and enriching learning experience. The results of all surveys are carefully considered and do lead to action towards enhancing educational quality.

 
This term, debates have been reduced to one person per slide to give more opportunity for interaction.

7. Course Schedule

Week Activity Topic Assessment/Other
Week 1: Lecture

Introduction to the course and learning methods

  • UAM Chapter 1,19
  • WEF Part 1
Week 2: Lecture

General economic & commercial environment for financial institutions in Australia & professionalism

  • UAM Chapters 3, 5
  • WEF Chapters 4, 5
Week 3: Lecture

The General insurance industry & people’s needs for financial products

  • UAM Chapter 4
  • WEF Chapter 8, Part 3 introduction
Week 4: Lecture

The banking industry and product design

UAM Chapter 4 ,8 WEF Chapter 9

 

Midsemester exam

All material from first 3 weeks

Midsemester exam

Week 5: Guest lecture

The health insurance industry and some pricing theory

  • UAM Chapter 13
  • Anatomy of Health Insurance (Cutler et al: 1 - 10, 30 - 35, 61 - 66, 71 - 74)
Week 6: Lecture

The role of regulation in the financial sector

  • UAM Chapter 7
  • WEF Chapter 10
Week 7: Lecture

Profit and the life insurance industry

UAM Chapter 16 WEF Chapter 8

Week 8: Lecture

Features & risks of financial contracts & types of risks

UAM Chapters 2, 6 Kelliher et al

Week 9: Lecture

The Superannuation & funds management industries and fiduciary duties

Super in Australia (Wikipedia) WEF Chapter 7

Group presentations

Week 10: Lecture

Interrelationships between pricing, capital, reinsurance policy conditions, underwriting, profits

UAM Chapters 11; 13; 16

Group presentations

8. Policies and Support

Information about UNSW Business School protocols, University policies, student responsibilities and education quality and support.

Program Learning Outcomes

The Business School places knowledge and capabilities at the core of its curriculum via seven Program Learning Outcomes (PLOs). These PLOs are systematically embedded and developed across the duration of all coursework programs in the Business School.

PLOs embody the knowledge, skills and capabilities that are taught, practised and assessed within each Business School program. They articulate what you should know and be able to do upon successful completion of your degree.

Upon graduation, you should have a high level of specialised business knowledge and capacity for responsible business thinking, underpinned by ethical professional practice. You should be able to harness, manage and communicate business information effectively and work collaboratively with others. You should be an experienced problem-solver and critical thinker, with a global perspective, cultural competence and the potential for innovative leadership.

All UNSW programs and courses are designed to assess the attainment of program and/or course level learning outcomes, as required by the UNSW Assessment Design Procedure. It is important that you become familiar with the Business School PLOs, as they constitute the framework which informs and shapes the components and assessments of the courses within your program of study.

PLO 1: Business knowledge

Students will make informed and effective selection and application of knowledge in a discipline or profession, in the contexts of local and global business.

PLO 2: Problem solving

Students will define and address business problems, and propose effective evidence-based solutions, through the application of rigorous analysis and critical thinking.

PLO 3: Business communication

Students will harness, manage and communicate business information effectively using multiple forms of communication across different channels.

PLO 4: Teamwork

Students will interact and collaborate effectively with others to achieve a common business purpose or fulfil a common business project, and reflect critically on the process and the outcomes.

PLO 5: Responsible business practice

Students will develop and be committed to responsible business thinking and approaches, which are underpinned by ethical professional practice and sustainability considerations.

PLO 6: Global and cultural competence

Students will be aware of business systems in the wider world and actively committed to recognise and respect the cultural norms, beliefs and values of others, and will apply this knowledge to interact, communicate and work effectively in diverse environments.

PLO 7: Leadership development

Students will develop the capacity to take initiative, encourage forward thinking and bring about innovation, while effectively influencing others to achieve desired results.

These PLOs relate to undergraduate and postgraduate coursework programs.  Separate PLOs for honours and postgraduate research programs are included under 'Related Documents'.

Business School course outlines provide detailed information for students on how the course learning outcomes, learning activities, and assessment/s contribute to the development of Program Learning Outcomes.

RELATED DOCUMENTS

 

UNSW Graduate Capabilities

The Business School PLOs also incorporate UNSW graduate capabilities, a set of generic abilities and skills that all students are expected to achieve by graduation. These capabilities articulate the University’s institutional values, as well as future employer expectations.

UNSW Graduate CapabilitiesBusiness School PLOs
Scholars capable of independent and collaborative enquiry, rigorous in their analysis, critique and reflection, and able to innovate by applying their knowledge and skills to the solution of novel as well as routine problems.
  • PLO 1: Business knowledge
  • PLO 2: Problem solving
  • PLO 3: Business communication
  • PLO 4: Teamwork
  • PLO 7: Leadership development

Entrepreneurial leaders capable of initiating and embracing innovation and change, as well as engaging and enabling others to contribute to change
  • PLO 1: Business knowledge
  • PLO 2: Problem solving
  • PLO 3: Business communication
  • PLO 4: Teamwork
  • PLO 6: Global and cultural competence
  • PLO 7: Leadership development

Professionals capable of ethical, self-directed practice and independent lifelong learning
  • PLO 1: Business knowledge
  • PLO 2: Problem solving
  • PLO 3: Business communication
  • PLO 5: Responsible business practice

Global citizens who are culturally adept and capable of respecting diversity and acting in a socially just and responsible way.
  • PLO 1: Business knowledge
  • PLO 2: Problem solving
  • PLO 3: Business communication
  • PLO 4: Teamwork
  • PLO 5: Responsible business practice
  • PLO 6: Global and cultural competence

While our programs are designed to provide coverage of all PLOs and graduate capabilities, they also provide you with a great deal of choice and flexibility.  The Business School strongly advises you to choose a range of courses that assist your development against the seven PLOs and four graduate capabilities, and to keep a record of your achievements as part of your portfolio. You can use a portfolio as evidence in employment applications as well as a reference for work or further study. For support with selecting your courses contact the UNSW Business School Student Centre.




Academic Integrity and Plagiarism

Academic Integrity is honest and responsible scholarship. This form of ethical scholarship is highly valued at UNSW. Terms like Academic Integrity, misconduct, referencing, conventions, plagiarism, academic practices, citations and evidence based learning are all considered basic concepts that successful university students understand. Learning how to communicate original ideas, refer sources, work independently, and report results accurately and honestly are skills that you will be able to carry beyond your studies.

The definition of academic misconduct is broad. It covers practices such as cheating, copying and using another person’s work without appropriate acknowledgement. Incidents of academic misconduct may have serious consequences for students.

Plagiarism

UNSW regards plagiarism as a form of academic misconduct. UNSW has very strict rules regarding plagiarism. Plagiarism at UNSW is using the words or ideas of others and passing them off as your own. All Schools in the Business School have a Student Ethics Officer who will investigate incidents of plagiarism and may result in a student’s name being placed on the Plagiarism and Student Misconduct Registers.

Below are examples of plagiarism including self-plagiarism:

Copying: Using the same or very similar words to the original text or idea without acknowledging the source or using quotation marks. This includes copying materials, ideas or concepts from a book, article, report or other written document, presentation, composition, artwork, design, drawing, circuitry, computer program or software, website, internet, other electronic resource, or another person's assignment, without appropriate acknowledgement of authorship.

Inappropriate Paraphrasing: Changing a few words and phrases while mostly retaining the original structure and/or progression of ideas of the original, and information without acknowledgement. This also applies in presentations where someone paraphrases another’s ideas or words without credit and to piecing together quotes and paraphrases into a new whole, without appropriate referencing.

Collusion: Presenting work as independent work when it has been produced in whole or part in collusion with other people. Collusion includes:

  • Students providing their work to another student before the due date, or for the purpose of them plagiarising at any time
  • Paying another person to perform an academic task and passing it off as your own
  • Stealing or acquiring another person’s academic work and copying it
  • Offering to complete another person’s work or seeking payment for completing academic work

Collusion should not be confused with academic collaboration (i.e., shared contribution towards a group task).

Inappropriate Citation: Citing sources which have not been read, without acknowledging the 'secondary' source from which knowledge of them has been obtained.

Self-Plagiarism: ‘Self-plagiarism’ occurs where an author republishes their own previously written work and presents it as new findings without referencing the earlier work, either in its entirety or partially. Self-plagiarism is also referred to as 'recycling', 'duplication', or 'multiple submissions of research findings' without disclosure. In the student context, self-plagiarism includes re-using parts of, or all of, a body of work that has already been submitted for assessment without proper citation.

To see if you understand plagiarism, do this short quiz: https://student.unsw.edu.au/plagiarism-quiz

Cheating

The University also regards cheating as a form of academic misconduct. Cheating is knowingly submitting the work of others as their own and includes contract cheating (work produced by an external agent or third party that is submitted under the pretences of being a student’s original piece of work). Cheating is not acceptable at UNSW.

If you need to revise or clarify any terms associated with academic integrity you should explore the 'Working with Academic Integrity' self-paced lessons available at: https://student.unsw.edu.au/aim.

For UNSW policies, penalties, and information to help you avoid plagiarism see: https://student.unsw.edu.au/plagiarism as well as the guidelines in the online ELISE tutorials for all new UNSW students: http://subjectguides.library.unsw.edu.au/elise. For information on student conduct see: https://student.unsw.edu.au/conduct.

For information on how to acknowledge your sources and reference correctly, see: https://student.unsw.edu.au/referencing. If you are unsure what referencing style to use in this course, you should ask the lecturer in charge.


Student Responsibilities and Conduct

Students are expected to be familiar with and adhere to university policies in relation to class attendance and general conduct and behaviour, including maintaining a safe, respectful environment; and to understand their obligations in relation to workload, assessment and keeping informed.

Information and policies on these topics can be found on the 'Managing your Program' website.

Workload

It is expected that you will spend at least ten to twelve hours per week studying for a course except for Summer Term courses which have a minimum weekly workload of twenty to twenty four hours. This time should be made up of reading, research, working on exercises and problems, online activities and attending classes. In periods where you need to complete assignments or prepare for examinations, the workload may be greater. Over-commitment has been a cause of failure for many students. You should take the required workload into account when planning how to balance study with employment and other activities.

We strongly encourage you to connect with your Moodle course websites in the first week of semester. Local and international research indicates that students who engage early and often with their course website are more likely to pass their course.

View more information on expected workload

Attendance

Your regular and punctual attendance at lectures and seminars or in online learning activities is expected in this course. The Business School reserves the right to refuse final assessment to those students who attend less than 80% of scheduled classes where attendance and participation is required as part of the learning process (e.g., tutorials, flipped classroom sessions, seminars, labs, etc.).

View more information on attendance

General Conduct and Behaviour

You are expected to conduct yourself with consideration and respect for the needs of your fellow students and teaching staff. Conduct which unduly disrupts or interferes with a class, such as ringing or talking on mobile phones, is not acceptable and students may be asked to leave the class.

View more information on student conduct

Health and Safety

UNSW Policy requires each person to work safely and responsibly, in order to avoid personal injury and to protect the safety of others.

View more information on Health and Safety

Keeping Informed

You should take note of all announcements made in lectures, tutorials or on the course web site. From time to time, the University will send important announcements to your university e-mail address without providing you with a paper copy. You will be deemed to have received this information. It is also your responsibility to keep the University informed of all changes to your contact details.



Student Support and Resources

The University and the Business School provide a wide range of support services and resources for students, including:

Business School Education Quality and support Unit (EQS)
The EQS offers academic writing, study skills and maths support specifically for Business students. Services include workshops, online resources, and individual consultations.
Level 1, Room 1033, Quadrangle Building.
bschoolconsults@unsw.edu.au
02 9385 7577 or 02 9385 4508

Business School Student Centre
The Business School Student Centre provides advice and direction on all aspects of admission, enrolment and graduation.
Level 1, Room 1028 in the Quadrangle Building
02 9385 3189

UNSW Learning Centre
The UNSW Learning Centre provides academic skills support services, including workshops and resources, for all UNSW students. See their website for details.
Lower Ground Floor, North Wing Chancellery Building.
learningcentre@unsw.edu.au
02 9385 2060

Educational Support Service
Educational Support Advisors work with all students to promote the development of skills needed to succeed at university, whilst also providing personal support throughout the process. Check their website to request an appointment or to register in the Academic Success Program.
John Goodsell Building, Ground Floor.
advisors@unsw.edu.au
02 9385 4734

Library services and facilities for students
The UNSW Library offers a range of collections, services and facilities both on-campus and online.
Main Library, F21.
02 9385 2650

Moodle eLearning Support
Moodle is the University’s learning management system. You should ensure that you log into Moodle regularly.
externalteltsupport@unsw.edu.au
02 9385 3331

UNSW IT
UNSW IT provides support and services for students such as password access, email services, wireless services and technical support.
UNSW Library Annexe (Ground floor).
itservicecentre@unsw.edu.au
02 9385 1333

Disability Support Services
UNSW Disability Support Services provides assistance to students who are trying to manage the demands of university as well as a health condition, learning disability or who have personal circumstances that are having an impact on their studies. Disability Advisers can arrange to put in place services and educational adjustments to make things more manageable so that students are able to complete their course requirements. To receive educational adjustments for disability support, students must first register with Disability Services.
Ground Floor, John Goodsell Building.
disabilities@unsw.edu.au
02 9385 4734

UNSW Counselling and Psychological Services
Provides support and services if you need help with your personal life, getting your academic life back on track or just want to know how to stay safe, including free, confidential counselling.
Level 2, East Wing, Quadrangle Building.
counselling@unsw.edu.au
02 9385 5418


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ACTL5100