John Probert, England
John Probert has been working for Mercer, the international consulting pension and investments company, for the past 16 years and last year made the move from London with his fiancé to join the company’s office in Edinburgh.
He talks to TalentScotland about their new life in Scotland; enjoying all the city has to offer while living in the countryside.
Tell us about your background
I was brought up in the Newcastle area in the north east of England and studied mathematics in Durham. I was interested pursuing a career as an actuary as I had learnt a lot about it from a friend’s father who was the Chief Actuary at Prudential insurance company.
I graduated in 1996 and started applying to the main actuary firms based in London.
What attracted you to Mercer?
Mercer was one of the major players in the market and had a good graduate programme. I joined in September 1996 as a Trainee Actuary working in its city office in London.
It has a very supportive environment, particularly for studying for you professional exams. That’s why I have enjoyed working at Mercer as there are a lot of us that have come up through the ranks and there is a strong bond between us.
What made you consider moving to Scotland?
My fiancé Catriona, who also works as an actuary for Mercer, is Scottish and we had been thinking of moving to Scotland one day. We knew Edinburgh well and it also meant we could also be closer to our parents.
The good thing about Mercer is that they like to promote from within so when a post came up in Edinburgh at my career level we decided to go for it.
In Scotland, I’m working in the Retirement, Risk & Finance team as an Actuary Consultant providing corporate advice to clients, both in Scotland and London.
How are you enjoying living in Scotland?
Edinburgh’s great because we’ve got everything we want from a city, such as restaurants, pubs, and theatre, as well as lots of green spaces, without the hassle of travel problems and congestion. And, of course, there’s the international festival, and great rugby to enjoy at Murrayfield – so much easier to get to compared to struggling across London to get to Twickenham rugby stadium!
Another benefit is that you can live out in the countryside but still enjoy all the city has to offer, as it’s only a 20-minute bus ride or taxi away.
We decided to buy a house in a village south of the city so we have the countryside on our doorstep, but I can still cycle into work in just 25 minutes – Catriona likes to run in to work as she’s a keen marathon runner!