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Professional bodies and qualifications in banking, insurance, pensions and actuarial science

You've secured a graduate job, but the learning doesn't stop there. Here's a rundown of the key professional bodies in financial services and the professional qualifications they offer.

Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (IFoA)

The Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (IFoA) is the only chartered professional body dedicated to educating, developing and regulating UK and international actuaries. Representing over 28,000 members worldwide, the IFoA oversees the training and practice of actuarial science to ensure competency and integrity are maintained.

Qualifications: Actuaries usually require a numerate degree to get their foot on the ladder as a trainee. However, if you don't have a relevant degree, there is the option to undertake online learning through a job or apprenticeship in order to sit the certified actuarial analyst (CAA) exams. This allows you to qualify as a certified actuarial analyst, at which point you can move on to study and sit the IFoA exams.

As an actuarial trainee, you'll work towards your associate membership qualification, which is the first level of qualification you'll achieve, allowing you to call yourself an actuary. You'll need to complete more modules and exams covering core technical skills, core application subjects, work-based skills and professional skills training. At this point you can use the designation AIA (Associate of the Institute of Actuaries) or AFA (Associate of the Faculty of Actuaries). After completing these you'll have a general level of expertise but, if you want to achieve fellowship, you'll have to undertake further training, including two more years of work-based skills.

Visit the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries for more.

Chartered Insurance Institute (CII)

The CII is the world's largest professional body for insurance, risk and financial services; it covers all disciplines within the insurance industry, such as claims, broking, underwriting and sales. With over 120,000 members, the CII promotes higher standards of integrity, technical competence and business capability. It offers qualifications ranging from award level up to bachelors and masters degrees. These are internationally recognised qualifications allowing the holder to use letters after their name, subject to membership and continued professional development requirements.

Qualifications: Up to diploma level, there are generally no educational requirements to undertake the tests needed to qualify for the various certificates and awards in insurance and financial services the CII offers. However, for some qualifications at diploma level, the CII recommends that you hold five GCSEs at grade C. Beyond that, you generally need to hold other CII qualifications to progress to advanced diplomas, bachelors and masters degrees.

The CII offers globally recognised qualifications in both insurance and financial services. Within insurance it provides a range of industry related specialist qualifications, from London market insurance to contract wording. Within financial services they provide an even wider range, covering life and pensions, advanced mortgage advice, regulated financial planning and more.

Visit the Chartered Insurance Institute for more.

Pensions Management Institute (PMI)

The PMI is the UK's largest professional body for those working in pensions and employee retirement benefits. It provides qualifications for professionals working in these areas and ensures that they are educated to the highest standard and up to date with the latest legislation. As well as qualifications, they provide: specialist events, an online TV channel, a monthly news magazine, online educational resources and discussion forums.

The PMI currently provides fifteen qualifications from level two awards to advanced diplomas and covers a range of pension and employee benefit areas such as: pensions essentials, pensions calculations, retirement provision and employee benefits (to name a few).

Qualifications: There are generally no prior qualifications needed to be eligible to undertake the PMI qualifications; some, however, do require industry experience or recommend prior completion of a PMI qualification.

Visit the Pensions Management Institute for more.

The London Institute of Banking & Finance

The London Institute of Banking & Finance offers training and qualifications to keep you up to date with today's fast-moving and competitive global banking arena. It provides qualifications in banking, mortgage advice, financial advice, trade finance, complaints handling and more, allowing you to demonstrate your professional competence in a vast range of areas.

Qualifications: The London Institute of Banking & Finance offers both academic and professional qualifications. Within banking you can train for certificates and diplomas, earning you letters to put after your name to demonstrate your knowledge of and compliance with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Or you can train for a certificate or diploma in finance advice to build towards becoming a financial advisor. It also offers a BSc in banking practice and management, a BSc in finance, investment and risk, and an MSc in banking practice and management, subject to meeting certain entry requirements.

Visit The London Institute of Banking & Finance for more.