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The Actuary The magazine of the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries
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Letters: Icki Iqbal

Monday 25 February was one of the darkest days in the history of the Institute of Actuaries. A group of small-minded men voted against the election of Andrew Smith to fellowship despite the strong steer given by the president and the Council.

I really don’t know whether I want to belong to the same profession as them. But for Andrew we would not still have an actuarial profession. When the death of inflation and the bear market combined to put life companies and pension funds in distress, the profession should have been indicted. Instead, with a neat piece of sidestepping, we supplied the Financial Services Authority with a new set of tools which we could use only because of the pioneering work by Andrew during the 1990s.

Andrew’s confrontational style has made many enemies, particularly among EB actuaries. I remember that at a recent Actuaries’ Club dinner I was sitting opposite a partner of an EB firm of actuaries. I was introduced to him by Fiona Morrison and, with barely concealed contempt, he said: “You’re the one who fiddled the Greatest British Actuary competition in favour of Andrew Smith.” Apart from the sheer scurrilousness of the remark, it showed how out of touch he was with the real world.

Nemesis may yet strike his kind. Surely it cannot be too long before a major EB firm is tested with a lawsuit for being asleep at the wheel of longevity. Life company actuaries might have got their mortality improvement forecasts wrong but at least they tried.

Icki Iqbal
3 March 2008


The editorial team welcomes readers’ letters but reserves the right to edit them for publication. Please e-mail letters@the-actuary.org.uk