Saroja Gunatilleke – Managing Director – S G Actuarial Consultancy (Pvt) Ltd


1.You’ve achieved remarkable success in actuarial science and insurance, even becoming the youngest and only female Associate Actuary in Sri Lanka at one point. Could you share a moment or experience that you believe contributed significantly to your career path and achievements?

I have encountered various people during my career who tried to deter my progress. What they didn’t realize about me is that the more I feel challenged, the more determined I am to succeed. When I qualified as a Fellow of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries, UK, I was the only local with such a qualification working in the insurance industry in Sri Lanka.


2.Who is an Actuary?

“Actuaries are problem solvers and strategic thinkers who use their mathematical skills to help measure the probability and risk of future events. They use these skills to predict the financial impact of these events on a business and their clients.

Businesses and governments increasingly depend on the skills of actuaries and analysts to help them model and plan for the future. As the world changes at an increasingly rapid pace, risk management expertise can help businesses navigate this evolving landscape.” The Institute and Faculty of Actuaries, UK.


3.What have your educational background and work experience been like?

After completing local A/L at a government school, although I could have entered a local government university, I decided to continue my academic journey in the UK, which included three degrees: a B.Sc. (Hons) in Mathematics, a Graduate Diploma in Actuarial Science, and a M.Sc. in Actuarial Science. I achieved a first-class/distinction pass for all three qualifications.

My work experience has been in diverse areas of actuarial science, regulations, and insurance. Having both regulatory and industry experience helps me provide balanced solutions.


4.Tell us about your organisation.

Realizing that there was a gap between actuaries and other professions, I founded S G Actuarial Consultancy (Pvt) Ltd. Through the consultancy and training services I provide, my company bridges this gap by helping non-actuaries understand actuarial work and calculations. It also ensures that actuaries have better access to the information they need from organizations to carry forward their work more accurately. Overall, I believe this helps companies achieve their goals with more ease.

S G Actuarial has engaged with 8 organizations for actuarial & risk management consultancy services in Sri Lanka and overseas. The said work is conducted with the client’s staff to ensure the possibility of practical application.

The actuarial and risk management training programs we offer, we believe, are unique and tailored to specific requirements. The actuarial training programs are useful for anyone connected to the insurance industry or those who use the information published by insurers, such as persons in insurance & reinsurance companies, insurance brokers, regulators, stockbrokers, banks, wealth management institutions, audit firms, and software developers. There are several levels of these programs catering to entry-level, junior, mid, and top management. We also conduct risk management training suitable for any industry.

During the pandemic, I realized that we didn’t have to limit training to Sri Lanka, as participants can join the sessions online from overseas. Now, participants from 83 organizations in 19 countries have registered for the training programs conducted by the company. However, due to the present demand for face-to-face classes, we offer both online and in-person options.


5.Your lineage includes notable figures in Sri Lanka’s history, with family members who have made significant contributions to various fields. How has your family’s legacy influenced your approach to leadership? Are there any specific values or lessons you’ve drawn from your family’s achievements that guide your work today?

My grandfather walked away from a role at a well-known company and started his own construction company from scratch at the age of 29, going on to build the first 5-star hotel in Sri Lanka. This has taught me not to be afraid to walk away from a role that is not allowing me to grow or work within my high level of ethics and professionalism. Those are values I have learned from my family.

Even my closest friends didn’t know about my lineage growing up. We were always taught to be grounded, whatever our achievements may be. I believe this helps me continuously improve myself so that my clients get the support they require.


6.Actuarial science is a field that is relatively less recognized in Sri Lanka compared to most countries. What do you believe needs to be done to raise awareness about the importance of actuaries and their contributions to various sectors, particularly in the Sri Lankan context?

At present, due to the shortage of actuaries in Sri Lanka, they are primarily utilized in the insurance sector. In other countries, the role of an Actuary is much wider. Even for the insurance sector in Sri Lanka, local resources are not adequate. I believe it would be immensely beneficial for the country if actuaries were involved in the area of risk management in any sector in Sri Lanka.

I was rather shocked to note that even now, university students following a mathematical degree are not fully aware of this career path. I try to do my part by conducting career talks at universities. I would like the opportunity to extend it to schools as well. I also offer short courses that students can follow to see if they are interested in this field before embarking on the journey to qualify as an actuary. Furthermore, I contribute to the industry consultative committees of local universities.


7.What future plans do you have for your organization?

We plan to expand the risk management consultancy and training services to reach companies outside of the financial services sector. Furthermore, we are interested in taking on more overseas consultancy projects, which is an option we are currently exploring. Additionally, I have intentions to travel overseas to conduct face-to-face training programs for participants there.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *