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The Actuary The magazine of the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries
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104 weeks

I never produced an article for The Actuary at the start of my presidency. However, to introduce myself I did prepare a presidential address which included a significant amount of personal information. As I come to the end of an immensely enjoyable two years, I pause for some reflection. Despite any appearance to the contrary I remain an actuary and so I start with numerical data:
– Miles travelled: 219,918
– Countries visited: 23
– Most visited country: Canada 5 times
– Official dinners consumed: 181
– Weight gained: 20 pounds
– Cholesterol lost (yes, really):
3 millimoles per litre of blood
– Talks with ‘communication’ in the title:
more than 15

Progressing from numbers to emotions, but sticking with groups of seven, the highlights were:
– Realising how well regarded the profession is, particularly as a facilitator and catalyst for debate on issues of public importance.
– Meeting such a wide range of people here in the UK and overseas (including the lord mayor and the mayor of London and actuaries of all shapes and sizes).
– The eight new qualifiers ceremonies everyone is in celebratory mode on those occasions, especially the Irish!
– Being the first Institute president to attend a Faculty Council meeting.
– The biennial dinner hugely enjoyable after months of nightmare.
– Opportunities to make presentations outwith the profession (for instance to accountants, risk managers, and the Oxford Statistics Department).
– Discovering 80 actuarial students at the University of Nairobi.

Of course there were low lights:
– The closure of the Equitable to new business and all that follows from that.
– The recent FSA proposal to narrow significantly the role of the appointed actuary.
– The comparatively limited use of the aardvark email address.
– Still the very small number of younger members prepared to speak at sessional meetings.
– Meeting actuaries who don’t see the need to explain what they are doing.
– A comment from the cardiac technician supervising my recent ECG, ‘You’re the first actuary I’ve met with a sense of humour’. That was personally satisfying but professionally depressing.
– Realising that the promised actuarial input to a ‘Motivate schools’ project linking South Africa and the UK will not happen during this presidency.

So what do I consider are my achievements (and this is, of course, self-assessment others will make their own judgements and may well write to The Actuary):
– Highlighting the importance of communication with our members delivery is still to come.
– Cutting down the length of contributions at sessional meetings and thus increasing the number of contributors.
– Raising the profile of the regions again much more work is needed.
– Gaining acceptance from the Faculty Council that Institute presidents can be welcomed to their gatherings.
– Getting Joint Councils to agree (at least in principle) that we can use the term ‘actuary’ at less than fellowship level.
– Encouraging greater openness in our affairs.
– Putting Africa more firmly on the actuarial map.

I am extremely grateful to the profession for giving me such a fantastic opportunity, to AXA for enabling me to take it up, and to all those who have provided such tremendous support to carry it through. This just leaves me to send a short message to my successor:
– Don’t forget the regions.
– Continue to develop communication with our members.
– Engage in constructive debate with government and regulators.
– Go, Go, Goford!

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