Bond University is set to become the first in Queensland to offer undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in Actuarial Science following the appointment of one of Australia’s leading academic authorities in the field.
Dr Terry O’Neill has joined Bond’s Bond Business School as head of the newly established Actuarial Science Department which will offer the Bachelor of Actuarial Science from January 2015, and the Master of Actuarial Practice and Actuarial Science from September 2015.
Transferring from the Australian National University in Canberra where he served as Director of the Research School of Finance, Actuarial Studies and Applied Statistics, Dr O’Neill has earned a reputation as one of Australia’s most respected and in-demand statistical consultants to government, industry bodies, corporations and the tertiary education sector.
In a career spanning more than 35 years, his research work has contributed to risk management in a broad cross-section of industries, ranging from health care, ageing and the housing market through to road safety, conservation and finance.
He has been honoured as a Fellow of both the Institute of Mathematical Statistics and the American Statistical Association for his outstanding contributions to the field and has been an elected member of the International Statistical Institute since 1994.
“The launch of Bond’s degree programs in Actuarial Science will go a long way towards addressing the geographically limited availability of education in a field that is emerging as a key growth sector in the Asia-Pacific region,” said Dr O’Neill.
“No other university in Queensland is offering Actuarial degree programs and we will be one of only seven universities Australia wide.
“As a comparatively small institution, Bond presents the opportunity to do things differently, pushing the educational boundaries to create a world-class, fully immersive academic program, combined with the individualised teaching and personal mentoring only available in Bond’s trademark small classes.
“Facilities like the Macquarie Trading Room will play an integral role in the learning experience, where a record 24 licensed Bloomberg Terminals will give students unparalleled access to recognised industry standard data sourcing used every day in the global financial markets.
“Our programs will also immerse them in the high-end practical aspects and big data from very early on in the course, as well as providing opportunities for top quality internships, so that they graduate with the essential combination of academic qualifications and professional experience.”
With very low unemployment rates and high graduate starting salaries, the demand for places in Bond’s new Actuarial Science program is expected to be high from both Australian and international students.
“The widespread collection of big data calls for in-depth analysis across a broad range of industries,” said Dr O’Neill.
“Actuaries have been identified as some of the few professionals with the deep analytical skills necessary to analyse big data. Predictions are that there will be a massive shortfall in skilled big data talent in the coming years.
“In the finance sector, for instance, the huge volume of electronic transactions has triggered strong demand for experts such as actuaries who can identify the transactions most at risk of financial fraud.
“There are also a lot of potential opportunities in marketing where vast amounts of personal data are mined to develop targeted advertising platforms and personalised messaging.”
The diverse application of actuarial qualifications is borne out by Dr O’Neill’s own research and consulting resume which includes working with the Commission for the Conservation of Blue Fin Tuna to analyse fishing quotas, investigations into the impacts of breast cancer screening, and studies looking at the relationship between life expectancy and socio-economic factors for indigenous Australians.
In addition to launching the Actuarial Science degree programs at Bond, Dr O’Neill will establish the new Centre for Actuarial Research with two current Australian Research Council (ARC) projects; one of which is examining how prepared people are for retirement and the other analysing Treasury bonds.