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MERJE Markets: Here we meet Adam Jones, who heads up our new Actuarial offering

  • Publish Date: Posted 10 months ago
  • Author:by Adam Jones

​Adam Jones joined MERJE in early November, mere days before lockdown 2.0, to establish our new Actuarial offering and help grow and strengthen the overall business. 

In our latest MERJE Markets, Adam tells us all about his new position and shares insights around the latest developments in the Actuarial arena, including the impact of Covid.

How have you found settling into a new business during lockdown and what is your perception of the business one month in?

It was certainly a strange time to start a new venture but I was made to feel very welcome by everyone in the business, whether it was in person or on the phone! I’m settling in nicely and already feel part of the MERJE family. The business has provided me with everything I need to get up to speed. The perception of MERJE among candidates and clients is impressive and I look forward to continuing that with the new Actuarial offering.

What exactly is an Actuary and what advice would you give for any budding Actuaries out there in terms of education, career path and any other general advice?

Actuarial Science is the measurement and management of risk factors, predominantly within insurance. To become an Actuary, you have to pass a series of exams, although exemptions can be gained through academic/university courses. You must have a strong technical understanding and interest level in mathematics and be able to apply it to real life scenarios. Regarding career pathways, there are numerous options across Life, General Insurance, Consultancy, Pensions and Public Sector, to name a few. Take the time and care to do your research and feel free to approach me for specific guidance.

Why did you choose to join MERJE and what attracted you to setting up a new division?

MERJE has a great reputation for what it does which is focusing on offering quality work while nurturing long-term relationships. While Actuarial is a new division, it complements the existing areas of Risk Management, Compliance, Credit Risk and Finance & Audit so it seems to be a natural area of growth. MERJE has demonstrated all the right factors for me both personally and professionally and it has delivered everything it promised.

You have been in recruitment almost five years and it’s fair to say you have achieved great success already in terms of fee generation, alongside the excellent reputation which you have built. What would you say is the key to your success in such a relatively short space of time?

Quite honestly, I feel like I’ve only hit the tip of the iceberg and there is so much more to develop on. My priority is to add value to my clients and candidates and represent their best interests, it’s as simple as that.

How has the Actuarial market evolved over the past five years and what, if any, has been the impact of Covid on your market?

I’ve certainly seen a lot of change in a short space of time. I entered the market during the height of Solvency II. In addition, we’ve seen a lot of merger & acquisition activity. Then the past 18 months has been a frenzy; IFRS 17 was announced and then delayed, IR35 similarly influenced the contract market and then Covid changed working practices. Among all of that, new disruptors seem to be entering the market and we’ve seen a rise in demand for AI and machine learning in some sectors.

Covid impacts insurance monumentally. Life, longevity and mortality rates are evidently changing. Holidays were cancelled for many and travel insurance was hit hard. Pensions and investments initially dropped but seem to be bouncing back. Vehicles and motor insurance premiums are reduced due to lockdown and people staying at home more frequently. I’m sure there will be further changes to come to incorporate regulatory changes to insurance products.

Over the past decade, we have seen a significant rise in social media recruitment. How important is it for you that you embrace the use of social media in your day-to-day role in order to attract talent and engage with your network?

It’s absolutely essential! While I’m not the biggest social media user out there personally, from a professional standpoint it’s vital. A good number of the Actuarial network are avid users so it’s a platform to get to grips with and engage with them. However, some people don’t engage on social media so it’s important to use other techniques to make contact and build a beneficial relationship. In such a technical sector, knowledge sharing is powerful. I’m always looking for ideas to create and generate new content.

Similarly, we have increasingly seen companies use social media to attract talent directly, alongside other direct hiring methods in order to drive down agency spend. What impact do you think this will have on recruitment consultancies and do you think there is still a place in the market for them longer term?

Clients attracting talent directly is part of the job and you have to accept that in the current recruitment climate. That being said, Actuarial is a niche market where you have to understand the technical elements. We’re here to support our clients with that technical understanding which I’ve built up over the past five years. There are so many candidates out there who are “passive,” meaning they won’t respond to adverts or reach out to job postings. Instead, they prefer to trust a consultant to present them with the right opportunities.

It’s fair to say, 2020 has been a year like no other, how has Covid and the events of this year changed your outlook on a personal and/or professional level?

It has been quite the year! The first word that comes to mind is “reflection”. Regardless of what you do and the sector you work in, I believe everyone has reflected on where they are and where they want to be. I used this time to take a break, recharge the batteries and start with MERJE. Working from home has impacted many of us and allowed us to focus on work/life balance. It’s been a great year of change for me both personally and professionally and I’m full speed ahead going into 2021!

What three things are you hoping for in 2021 and that you have missed out on in 2020? 

Holidays! I love getting away and had a few trips planned in 2020. I’ll be in Italy for the quarter final of the Euros next year after it was postponed so that’s certainly one. Secondly, I hope to have a solid start with MERJE and begin plans to grow out our Actuarial capability. Finally, it’s time to get a dog! I’ve always wanted to but work commitments haven’t allowed me to do so. With the new ways of working, 2021 will be the time to get a pup!

Finally, what would people be surprised to learn about you? 

It’s probably not too much of a surprise but I’m sports mad! Football is the obvious one but I’m also a huge American Football, Formula 1, golf and cricket fan. I go on a trip abroad every year - until 2020 - to watch some form of sporting event.

To talk about your Actuarial requirements in more detail, please feel free to email Adamto arrange a chat: ajones@merje.com