The following is an interview with Zainal Kassim, the country head of Mercer in Malaysia, discussing changes happening on February 1st 2011.
Mercer has been in the actuarial consulting business in Malaysia since 1977, what is happening now?
Mercer Zainal Sdn. Bhd. is a rather unique business among the global offices of Mercer. It is the only office of Mercer in the world that has as its core business, insurance and takaful consulting. Some years ago Mercer effectively divested itself of its (small) actuarial insurance consulting business but the actuarial insurance business of Mercer in Malaysia remained within the Group. What is happening now is a natural extension of that divestment, it just that it took much longer than expected! In this instance Mercer has agreed to sell its actuarial consulting business to the management of Mercer Zainal.
Has Mercer divested all of its actuarial consulting business? What about its investment consulting business?
Yes, all of the actuarial consulting business including the retirement consulting business has been divested by Mercer. Actuarial Partners will however be an affiliate of Mercer for any retirement consulting opportunities in Malaysia. The investment consulting business will remain within Mercer and has been transferred from Mercer Zainal to Mercer Malaysia. We however expect Actuarial Partners to work closely with Mercer Malaysia in the latter’s investment consulting business where ever actuarial input is involved; Mercer Malaysia will not have any actuaries based in Kuala Lumpur.
You reached a milestone last year, the retirement age 55. Will you be retiring any time soon?
This year will be the 32nd year of my working career, 28 years of which has been in Malaysia. I am still having too much fun to retire anytime soon. Actuarial Partners is a new challenge. We want to be GloCal, a Global Local company.
Are there any changes in staff?
No, all the actuarial staffs of Mercer Zainal have agreed to remain under the new banner of Actuarial Partners. We have 35 employees and six partners. Five of the partners are fully qualified actuaries. Together the partners have over 100 years of working experience in the actuarial field.
Will there be any changes in work process and procedures?
Being part of a big multinational like Mercer we have had to adhere to strict work processes and procedures, all these best practices will be carried into Actuarial Partners.
Please visit our website, www.actuarialpartners.com.