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Actuaries crunch the numbers on climate change, share trading and cricket

From the finance of climate change to high frequency trading and the value of Australian cricket players, the Australasian Actuarial Education and Research Symposium will bring together actuaries from across the Asia-Pacific to analyse the future of actuarial education and research.

The annual symposium is being held in Queensland for the first time at Bond University on December 7 & 8 and will discuss the direction of the actuarial science field and consider emerging applications of actuarial skills, with this year's theme to look at 'Finance and Big Data in Actuarial Science'.

Keynote speakers will be presenting their research into a wide variety of topics including environmental finance, big data analytics, the benefits of trading down to the millisecond in high frequency trading and the application of big data analysis in sport.

Professor Terry O’Neill, head of actuarial science at Bond University, said the conference was an annual get-together between universities engaged in actuarial education and research to catch up on trends and developments in the field.

"In recent years there has been an explosion of information and actuaries are one of the few disciplines trained to handle that sort of 'big data', in the gigabytes and petabytes," he said.

"The main objective of the symposium is to provide a platform for an engaging discussion on the future direction of actuarial education and research, in particular, the growth of non-traditional areas in actuarial employment and how that should be incorporated into our teaching.

"This year's keynote speakers will be presenting on a diverse range of topics; Professor Steven Stern will discuss his work ranking cricket players based on the analysis of cricket data, not just looking at how many runs or wickets a player gets but also adjusting for particular times in the game that are crucially important.

"Professor Tom Smith and Dr Martina Linnenlueke will be speaking on environmental finance, which is emerging as an increasingly important area for actuaries to be engaged in - applying finance theory to environmental issues to quantify the financial impact of, for example, a climate change solution.

"They will discuss the impact of the move toward renewable energy and how that is priced into the stock price for traditional electricity or coal fire generating plants, and the impact that has upon shares.

"In the field of environmental finance there are a lot of similarities to the investment market. People buy financial derivatives to protect from financial risk, so can you construct weather derivatives to protect against weather risk.

"These are the kinds of question the symposium will be looking at, particularly the transfer of actuarial skills to non-traditional areas as well as areas of research that are important for actuarial education providers to build into our teaching.

"Bond University this year became the first in Queensland, and only the seventh university nationally, to receive accreditation from the Actuaries Institute to deliver actuarial science degrees, so to be able to host the symposium in Queensland for this first time is a real coup for Bond."

The 7th Australasian Actuarial Education and Research Symposium is proudly hosted by the Bond Business School.

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