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The Actuary The magazine of the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries
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President's comment: Jane Curtis

I like to think the Profession's membership is still small enough for individual views to count and for each one of you to make a difference to how the Profession operates.

Take, for example, the recent consultation exercise on the strategic review. As I mentioned in last month's article, I was hugely encouraged that over 1,200 of you responded to our survey. To all who contributed I want to thank you and recommend you continue with this positive participation. I think everyone can gain from increased involvement and voluntary work within our organisation. This sentiment is not new. One of my predecessors, Charles Wood, expressed a similar view over 50 years ago when he said: "Pride in the profession grows in proportion to the service which is rendered." We have much to be proud of but I am sure there is more that each of us could be doing.

One of the core strands in the new strategy is education - a personal passion of mine - and our objective here is to provide high-quality qualifications for our students and a lifelong education for our members. Pleasingly, nearly 84% of those responding to our consultation survey were satisfied or very satisfied with this objective. There was also positive support for the core qualification model described below.

Level 1: Technician
• Passed technical exams not required to do higher level, practical exams or ‘softer skills'. Professionalism required
• Meet demand for lower cost, technical skills for more ‘number-crunching' type roles
• Attractive to those interested in technical actuarial skills, less time and cost to get to recognised level.

Level 2: Qualification level - actuary/fellow
• Generic qualification - no UK-specific material
• The qualification should be in line with IAA and Groupe Consultatif requirements for being fully qualified
• Obtain annual update on professionalism matters and anything else of relevance
• Work-based experience requirements to continue to apply broadly as present.

Level 3: Practicing/specialist fellow
• Entry through exams or transitional experience applications or through senior actuary endorsement under an approved ‘regulation through firms process'
• In order to act as advisor on one of the five specific areas, the individual has to be qualified in the relevant speciality.
Advisor can mean in-house within employer and external consultant
• Five specialisms and one ‘general advisor' specialism
• Any reserved role would be treated as an extra specialism for the purposes of CPD
• Meet minimum CPD requirements, which should be no more onerous than as present.

You have told us that we need to elaborate the details on these roles before giving us your wholehearted support prior to moving forward on this basis. We are committed to further consultation and listening to what you have to say. In the meantime, we would appreciate feedback on areas such as:
• How do these roles fit in to the general career paths of actuaries and students?
• How do these roles meet the needs of our members globally?
• What is the appropriate mix of examinations, work-based experience and CPD for each level?
• Which specialisms should be included?
• What is the best name for each level and how should they be described?
• What should be the transitional arrangements for existing members?

At the next stage of the consultation, we are asking for volunteers from the Council to join a Strategy Implementation Group, which will develop the three-tier model as a working premise. They will ask for and respond to the views of members, employers and other stakeholders. We hope to have this stage of the process completed by the end of 2011 so that the Council can press ahead with making a full decision on changes by the middle of 2012.

This time of year always sees a batch of newly qualified actuaries, many of whom I hope could donate a voluntary hour or two a week from their freed-up time to the Profession. Many volunteers tell us how much they have got back from their work helping with committees, projects, examinations and offering career support. This has proved to be of tangible benefit to their employers, also. By way of a small thank you to many of those who have already contributed back to the profession, we are organising a number of garden parties, the first of which I will be looking forward to hosting this month.

In future columns I hope to tell you about more opportunities to get involved and the exciting plans we have for conferences, events and research.

More details of the strategy and how to volunteer can be found at
www.actuaries.org.uk. If you want to find out more about getting involved please email volunteering@actuaries.org.uk