Bringing you the "Watt's Watt" from the Actuarial world.

Since 2010, The Actuarial Watt has continually shed light on current development in the actuarial industry. Within a continually evolving financial world, we feature hard-hitting articles on a vast range of actuarial issues.

February 2020 Edition

Casting the Net

Whether you are a student or a professional, networking is a useful way to progress in your career. If you are unsure about how you can build your network then this article may be able to help.

Reeling It In

With more companies making the most of the lastest technology available, are they under greater threat from cyber-atacks and what are they doing to combat the risks?

The Human Cost of an Environmental Disaster

The effects of the Australian bushfire has been catastrophic not just to the environment but also for many homeowners. How has the insurance industry been affected?

Society Recap: February 2020

SAS have hit the ground running with the start of a new decade!

Note from the Editor

So, it’s that time again. Back to the grindstone after a well-earned break for Christmas. I hope everyone had a great holiday and a happy new year! Was it just me or does it always feel like holidays fly by too fast? Oh well… One thing that has been occurring at Heriot Watt lately was the dreaded exam results day. Fingers crossed that everyone has done as well as they wanted to as I’m sure you all have!

So what has SAS been up to since we’ve been back? Well, we had the return of the mystery bus tour where several unknowing students travelled the land while stopping at some very interesting bars. We also our annual competition which has had a makeover and is now called the Artificial Assessment Centre (very professional sounding I know).The event gave students a chance to speak with actuarial recruiters and find out how they can succeed at the assessment stage of job applications. You can find more about the events that have happened now or in the future near the end of this newsletter or on our website.

Now, onto the articles as there are many interesting topics inside that may pique your interest. Firstly, we have an article that looks into how important networking is when it comes to looking for a job and how it can help you strive to greater success. This article will hopefully help those who are maybe struggling to gain contacts within the actuarial industry. Moving on to a different kind of network, Brogan Howe dives into the world of cyber security where he investigates how businesses in the financial industry are protecting themselves against the ever-developing threat of a cyber-attack. Finally, Paarisha Emilie gives some insight into wildfires that have been destroying the homes of people and animals alike. Paarisha investigates the impact this has had on the economy of Australia along with their Insurance industry.

Hopefully there is something there for everyone, so I’ll try not give away too many spoilers! All that’s left to say is thanks for making it this far, best of luck with the rest of the semester and happy reading!

Fraser Albiston

November 2019 Edition

Note from the Editor

Well hello again and welcome back to another edition of the Actuarial Watt! And yes, we are keeping with two editions each semester…so far.

As some of you may know, project season is hitting students hard as most 4th year students are busy with 3 projects on the go at the same time (hopefully not just me). 3rd year students have had their portfolio theory and stochastic projects to deal with, but it could be worse… at least the 2nd stochastic project is no longer a 48-hour caffeine-fuelled bonanza this year.

So, what other things have we been up to? Well, we held a lecture on how to tackle coding problems by your friendly neighbourhood Amit which I heard was a sell-out event! We also had a career talks from the IMA, an internship talk and not one but two industrial placement talks! You can’t say we aren’t good to you.

In terms of fun stuff happening, you should hear about the details for the Christmas dinner soon (if you haven’t heard about it before picking this newsletter up) so that’s one thing to be excited for.

But anyway, let’s start talking about the articles on offer. For this edition we are mixing it up and have 4 very interesting articles to share with you. With more and more people choosing to do their shopping online, large companies that focus on E-commerce can capitalize on our new purchasing preferences. However, how responsible are these large companies when it comes to declaring how much tax they pay? Brogan Howe discusses this issue and its impact on other businesses and the government.

More onto the topic of responsibility, in the world of work, it is the responsibility of employees and their employers to think about saving for retirement, (any 4th year taking Pensions will hear a lot about this). With the introduction of the Automatic Enrolment regulation, there are more opportunities for those who are eligible to start saving. Lewis Currie investigates this and the impact it is having in the UK.

Automatic Enrolment is much easier to incorporate due to advances in modern computer systems and other technologies. Riddhi Lakhotiya explains how technology has changed throughout the years and how this has affected the insurance industry.

Aside from technology, climate change has also affected the insurance industry in recent years. With more and more people becoming aware of how humanity is affecting the planet and our climate, Paarisha Emilie explains what this means for the insurance industry and how climate change can have both a positive and negative financial impact for insurers.

That is all from me and if you have made it this far without getting too bored then well played. All that’s left to say is good luck with the rest of your studies, thank you for making it this far and enjoy the rest of the newsletter!

Fraser Albiston

October 2019 Edition

Note from the Editor

Welcome to the October edition of the Actuarial Watt! I hope you have all had a great summer and that the first few weeks haven’t been too intense. Since it’s the start of the year, it’s also the start of a brand-new editor so please bear with me for a few weeks until I get the formula down.

The first four weeks have been quite busy for SAS so far. To name a few things that we’ve been up to, we have had our first ever cultural event with stalls from all around the world giving us a little taste of different traditions. The event was a huge success with everyonebeing able to try new foods (some were a lot sicklier than others-I’m looking at you, Scottish tablet), learn new phrases and even take part in a miniature ceilidh. We also held a very interesting talk from ex-president Ley Kuan Law who gave us an insight into the work involved in general insurance.

Now on to the newsletter, I have three amazing articles for you guys to read! The first article is from Alistair Stewart, a 4th year actuarial science student who is giving the rundown on what he has been up to during his first six months on the PwC Flying Start programme. The second article is by Amit Parekh who talks about why developing your writing skills is extremely important when it comes to preparing job applications for day-to-day work in the office. He also does a great job in selling the idea of joining the current affairs subcommittee so feel free to think about sending an application in after reading this newsletter! Our final article is by Lewis Currie who investigates the current inverted yield curves and how effective they are at predicting a recession.

Well I think I’ve rambled on enough so all that’s left to say is that I hope you enjoy reading the rest of my first newsletter and thank you for making it this far!

Fraser Albiston

March 2019 Edition

Note from the Editor

I hope you’re sitting down with your tissues at the ready because I’ve got some very upsetting news, this is in fact my last edition of the Actuarial Watt as editor (heart-breaking, I know). Don’t worry though, dry your tears, we’ve got a very exciting newsletter ahead!

First off Dhavhesh Balakrishnan discusses the pressing issue of universal healthcare in “Is Healthcare a human right?”. We delve into the pros and cons of private and public healthcare systems worldwide.

Paying for private healthcare can be incredibly expensive, but how are we going to pay? Cash, card, the marvel of Apple pay? Luckily Fraser Albiston has got the rundown on the longevity of physical money in “The Future of Cash”.

Talking of cash, many of us will have experienced some form of tie to the awful reality of cancer but most of us are unaware of the hidden costs. What can insurance companies do to help sufferers and their loved ones? Brogan Howe tells us how(e?) they’re coming to the rescue.

Despite the rumours, us actuarial science students don’t ACTUALLY spend 24/7 in the library. (I mean c’mon guys, it’s more like 23/6.) So what’s been going on? Well turns out we’ve been pretty busy since the last edition.

First off we had one of our flagship events , our annual SAS competition. The whole event ran like clockwork and its safe to say everyone benefited from the aforementioned arbitrage opportunity, with a non-zero probability of experience and fun for absolutely no cost at all! Trust us to sum up an event in true actuarial style.

After the raving success of the competition, we had our annual conference which was absolutely spectacular in every aspect (we’re really on a roll here, aren’t we?). Going by the wonderful feedback regarding the very interesting talks and superb professionalism of the event in general we must’ve done something right! Thank you to everyone who came along as well as everyone who put in an incredible amount of time and effort to produce such a wonderful event.

As always, if you’d like to write an article feel free to email me at You can write about whatever sparks your interest, as long as it can be tied in to the financial industry.

Best of luck with the end of semester and happy reading!

Lauren Bailie

February 2019 Edition

Note from the Editor

So here it is, my first completely solo newsletter (can anyone else hear “All by Myself” playing or is that just me?). Hopefully the wonderful Amit doesn’t want my head on a stick once he sees the level of design in this newsletter, I promise I tried my best (and yes, to dissuade any confusion, I know I’m not funny).

Happy New Year! Okay I know it’s February but that was my first chance to formally wish you all a brilliant 2019. I hope you are all happy with your results (or in the case of third year, ecstatic that the beautiful laws of averaging exist- thank you for the reminder Jennie Hansen). Fingers crossed this semester will be just as (if not more) fun-filled than the last one, and don’t worry too much about that last point because SAS are here to help.

So, onto what we’ve all been waiting for, the actual newsletter. This edition dives deep into the current state of the financial world. First up we take a look at what’s been going on across the pond as Ben O’Rourke reports on the financial downturn that seemed to leave a lot of US citizens feeling like they were in deep water.

It seems the US is experiencing wave after wave of financial despair, but what about a new type of wave? And by that, I mean the influence of new wave currencies. How have we gone from trading lumps of precious metal for necessities to using up and coming currencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum? Dhavhesh Balakrishnan explores how our perception of money has changed throughout the years.

With all these waves we’re going to need some form of shelter… that’s right, we’re delving into the current state of the housing market! Fraser Albiston gives us the latest insight into the reasons behind the shortage of roofs over UK citizens’ heads.

Don’t worry, I’ll stop the water themed dad humour now to tell you a little bit about what SAS have been doing thus far. This new semester has already started with a bang, and by that, I mean everyone’s favourite mystery themed SAS event – the bus tour! This year brought us two of the best juxtaposed stops in SAS Mystery Bus Tour history, firstly a very traditional old man pub in the backend of Galashiels and secondly a stunning creperie in Darlington that could have comfortably held 46 suited and booted wedding guests, as opposed to 46 utterly bewildered actuarial students in jeans and white t shirts. Having said that, credit to Callum Brown for giving us a taste of the potential actuarial lifestyle.

As well as speeding off to mystery locations, we also held an insightful talk by Alan Smith who gave us tips on how to portray our best selves when it comes to the nerve-wracking final hurdle that is the interview stage of internships and graduate job applications.

As always, if you’d like to write an article feel free to email me at You can write about whatever sparks your interest, as long as it can be tied in to the financial industry.

Best of luck with the new semester and happy reading!

Lauren Bailie