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The Actuary The magazine of the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries
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Profession publishes whistleblowing guides

As part of the Actuarial Profession’s commitment to helping its members maintain the high professional standards associated with actuaries, this month sees the Profession’s publication of two guides on the topical issue of whistleblowing.

The guides form one strand of a package of support materials — also including the development of case studies and the regular provision of seminars on the subject — produced by a working party established by the Professional Regulation Executive Committee (PREC) of the Profession.

The Profession recognises that, from time to time, its members may be faced with difficult decisions about reporting certain matters which come to their attention. It is important that members feel able to cope with those situations and report relevant information, when required. Ensuring that the Profession’s members, and those for whom they work, have the tools and support to deal with whistleblowing situations is not only of benefit to members and the Profession but, crucially, also helps to protect the public interest.

Whistleblowing: a guide for actuaries
The first of the two guides has been drafted, as its title suggests, as a resource for members of the Profession when considering their obligations, both professional and statutory, to ‘blow the whistle’, that is to speak up or report information in certain circumstances.

The guide sets out the relevant legal and professional expectations of actuaries. Acknowledging that such situations are difficult and challenging, it contains advice for any actuary faced with a whistleblowing dilemma. Actuaries who are faced with such a dilemma should find that working through the checklist of questions set out within the guide will help them in deciding whether they are under an obligation to take action. The guide also points to sources of confidential advice — both inside and outside the Profession — which can help members think their way through any difficulties they may encounter.

Although the information within the guide will be of use to any actuary who is faced with a whistleblowing dilemma, it is also intended to help raise members’ awareness of whistleblowing and remind them of the different reporting obligations which may apply to them. If an actuary considers that he or she is under an obligation to make a report — whether to their own employer, the Profession or an external regulator — they ought to find the advice in the guide on the steps to take particularly useful.

Whistleblowing: A guide for employers of actuaries
Alongside this guide for actuaries, the Profession has also produced a guide aimed at employers of actuaries, which provides an overview of the obligations owed by members of the Profession. The Profession believes this guide is likely to be of particular use to smaller actuarial firms, which may not have specific whistleblowing policies in place, or to organisations which employ a small number of actuaries and which are not familiar with the obligations all actuaries are under to report certain matters to the Profession or with the specific obligations falling on reserved role holders.

Application
Neither publication imposes any new obligations on actuaries. Rather it is hoped that these resources will help the Profession’s members to navigate their way through the complex and difficult situations which may arise from time to time in their professional lives where speaking up or reporting (blowing the whistle) may be necessary in the public interest.

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‘Whistleblowing: a guide for actuaries’ and ‘Whistleblowing: a guide for employers of actuaries’ are available to download from the Profession’s website www.actuaries.org.uk