A Milestone for the Actuarial Profession in the Middle East – Bahrain Takes the Lead

Enas Asiri MBA, FCII  CEO, Bahrain National Life (BNL)  Board Member at Bahrain Institute of Banking and Finance (BIBF)

For the first time in the Middle East, a comprehensive initiative to develop actuarial capacity was launched and announced last June in Manama, the Capital of Bahrain, making it the starting ground for developing qualified actuaries across the GCC and the rest of the MENA region. 

The initiative started based on a visible shortage in qualified local actuaries in Bahrain and the rest of the region. The shortage was amplified by the upcoming implementation of IFRS17 making this breed of professionals both highly sought after and rare. 

The successful launch of the initiative can be attributed to identifying and engaging all relevant stakeholders. Firstly, alignment with the regulator was critical in ensuring that the initiative will produce qualified actuaries meeting regulatory requirements and market needs. The Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB), the regulator of the financial services including insurance in Bahrain, provided requirements, consulted with the insurance industry for feedback and then passed a first of its kind Directive mandating the establishment of an in-house actuarial function and the recruitment of Bahraini national actuarial analysts by June 2023 train and support them to become qualified actuaries within 7 years of passing the Directive. 

Tamkeen, a semi-governmental entity, is another critical stakeholder. Tamkeen approved unprecedented support for actuarial candidates by covering their IFoA membership, examinations as well as exams preparation classes towards attaining IFoA Fellowship. Additionally, Tamkeen will provide partial employment funding to newly appointed actuarial analysts.  

Lux Actuaries and Consultants, a prominent actuarial firm in the Middle East, provided support by sharing its subject matter expertise and input on recruiting and qualifying actuarial candidates based on its track record with a team of qualified actuaries from around the globe. 

University of Bahrain (UOB) was another stakeholder which introduced a bachelor’s degree in actuarial sciences in 2019 and was engaged to ensure alignment of its academic program with that of an actuarial professional designation. 

During the past period of relentless work to make the initiative a reality, Bahrain Institute of Banking and Finance (BIBF) acted as a platform connecting and liaising with all relevant stakeholders. Following the passing of the mandate, BIBF’s work will continue in recruiting and guiding young student actuarial candidates in their certification journey. If you would like to know more about IFoA training in the Middle East, please contact BIBF by emailing insurance@bibf.com or calling +973 17815585.

The most rewarding part so far was the positive reception of the initiative by young graduates with academic degrees in actuarial sciences from abroad as well as UOB who expressed that their hope is renewed, and they are ready to start their professional actuarial career.  


BIBF 

BIBF is a semi-governmental training institute affiliated with the Central Bank of Bahrain.  BIBF serves as a partner to numerous world-class institutions, delivering research and advisory, assessment and training in the areas of Accounting and Finance, Academic Studies, Executive Development, Banking, Leadership and Management, Insurance, Islamic Finance and Information Technology.

BIBF offers tailor-made training solutions based on organisational requirements; specialised programmes taught by leading market specialists; and professional qualifications and degree programmes in partnership with major international organisations.

Tamkeen 

The Labour Fund or Tamkeen (an Arabic term that means enablement or empowerment) is a Bahraini governmental authority established to support the private sector and national human capital development. 

Tamkeen will be supporting Bahraini nationals by providing a complete funding package which includes financing training programs, professional certification, and wage support. 


The people in the above photo, from left to right are Mrs Manal Mashkoor, Head of the Centre for Insurance, Bahrain Institute of Banking and Finance, Mr Rasheed Mohammed Al Maraj, the Governor of the Central Bank of Bahrain (Regulator of the insurance and actuary sectors), and Mr Husain Mohamed Rajab, Chief Executive of Tamkeen.

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