Saturday, May 19, 2007

Job Update & Palm Oil Bitches

Firstly, my job update. I went for an assessment day 2 days ago with a human resource consulting firm(Mercer HR), I thought it went pretty well. The HR personnel contacted me yesterday to deliver to me the news that I got rejected, AGAIN. Nothing much to note here, other than the fact that she told me the reason I failed was because they think I was more suited towards working in the life/non-life insurance business rather than on pensions.

A note to you Malaysians who don't know about pensions. Pensions in Malaysia is managed by our lovely KWSP who is known for a lot of mismanagement of money but nonetheless is the BIGGEST investor in the Malaysian market. Things here in the UK is a bit different however as they were no central agency managing everybody's pensions.

Sure there is a state pension but most of people's pensions really depend on their employer. For instance, if you're an employee of Tesco, then Tesco would be responsible for your pension. It is however customary that they "sub-contract" these responsibilities out by taking up a trustee to do these work.

It is required by law that every trustee has to appoint an actuary to help them value their funds at least once every 3 years. This is where consultancies such as Mercer, Watson Wyatt and Towers Perrin come into play. Weirdly, many misconceptions about actuarial jobs being "boring", "mathematical" isn't always true. From the lots of interviewers I've had, most of them admitted that A-levels maths is probably the only requirement for them to do their job.

This however does not mean that an actuary doesn't have to know the sophisticated, complicated side of statistics and mathematics. They still have to sit for exams and most likely the exams are going to involve these high-level problems(hint hint). So basically, the hardest part of their job is to sit for exams????

Hmmmm............... anyway hope that gives you an insight on the things an actuary does in pensions. I however, am really starting to question what kind of career I want. I mean it's not possible that I know it now but is actuary a good choice for me?






On a lighter note, read tomorrow's The Star to see a very familiar article pop up.

Well...... not too familiar but on an issue I've already mentioned ---- Palm Oil.
Read my previous posts here and here.

If you're too lazy to read, then I'll give you an idea of what I was trying to say.


It is true that Malaysia needs and is surviving on Palm Oil. A lot of corporations are even making a hell of profit out of it, such as IOI corp and PBB(who incidentally is taking the firm private now). It is a blessing to Malaysia when somebody came up with the idea that palm oil can be used as a biofuel to replace petroleum. But yet another smart ass came up with the idea that palm oil is very inefficient in terms of the lots of waste it produces which offsets any merits we get from it.

A few examples of the problems we are facing because of palm oil are haze, deforestation and waste mis-disposal. Just take my words for it that it is a real upset to see the palm oil industry facing such attacks.



Today, though the attacks have suddenly got stronger. Apparently a group of western NGOs are planning to lobby against palm oil. If they succeed, we might see all palm oil products taken off the shelf in supermarkets across Europe, and that's a BIG threat.

The report from The Star says that Malaysia will be sending representatives there to talk with these people. I quote:

Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Peter Chin Fah Kui
said he would explain the truth to British MPs in London and members of the
European Parliament in Brussels about ”our efforts to conserve the environment
and biodiversity while we develop our palm oil industry.” [Source: The Star]

Well, given Malaysia politicians' track record of being bad at negotiations (crooked bridge), I'm not expecting to see this go too well. Take a look at Mahathir's video on youtube here to get what I mean.

Watch the stock market, as this is a make or break situation for Malaysia.


p.s. sorry for the pictureless post, I'm in the IT center(library) so I don't have the luxury of cutting n pasting pics :D

References:
  1. Delegation heads for Europe to counter anti-palm oil lobby, The Star, 19 May 2007.

2 comments:

freethinker said...

Not boring arr? .. Hmm...erm... HHAHAHAA

Boss Lepton said...

Boring ar? Hmmm..... That's wat i thought so too but ppl keep saying interesting

Well to be honest, if you're working in the Personal products line in the General Insurance, it's quite interesting.

Another role I've yet to consider is a role in investment. More and more actuaries are moving into investment now, obviously because our skill fits them well