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The Actuary The magazine of the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries

150th anniversary launch

At 5.30pm on 4 January, over 100
guests attended a celebration of the
150th anniversary of the Faculty
of Actuaries in Maclaurin House, Dublin Street, Edinburgh. We were in illustrious company with the presence of Harvie Brown, president of the Faculty, and seven past presidents.
After a cursory inspection it was apparent that none of the guests could possibly have been present at the 50th anniversary celebrations. No one looked old enough to have attended the 100th anniversary, but I was delighted to meet Ian Isles, a very sprightly past vice-president of the Faculty who qualified in 1947. He retired from Scottish Equitable 28 years ago and by claiming his pension for that period is proud to be one of the reasons for the current pensions crisis. Although Ian’s sons did not follow him into the profession, his grandson qualified as a Fellow of the Faculty in 1999.
In time-honoured fashion, young and old were united by a liking for the celebration champagne and canapés and an opportunity to catch up with some long-lost friends.
During his speech, the president expressed his delight at seeing so many familiar faces. In a short address he commented on the origins of the Faculty, touched on milestones, upcoming events, and the Faculty’s duties to the communities in which members live and work.
On 20 March 1856, 38 of our forefathers met at 45 George Street, Edinburgh to sign the bye-laws and rules. Despite the Faculty’s membership today standing at approximately 2,300, attendance at sessional meetings is still much the same as in 1856. Some things never change!
Each year the Faculty is represented in an annual procession of the great and the good to St Giles Cathedral during the Edinburgh festival. The Institute of Chartered Accountants in Scotland (ICAS) reached its 150th anniversary several years ago. At the following procession the Faculty’s representative heard some murmurings from behind. The ICAS representative suggested there must have been a mistake for the Faculty to be given precedence during the procession. The Faculty representative proudly advised that the places had been allocated correctly because the Faculty received its royal charter first.
In recognition of the anniversary, during the course of 2006 the profession’s conventions for life, pensions, healthcare, finance, investment and risk management (FIRM), and younger members will all be taking place in Scotland.
The anniversary is also being marked at several important international events starting off with a whisky-tasting at the 28th International Congress of Actuaries in Paris. Meetings of the Groupe Consultatif and the International Actuarial Association (IAA) will be held in Edinburgh during the year too. Indeed, the address of the incoming president of the Faculty will be delayed to coincide with the IAA meeting in November.
At this point, it is only right that we should recognise the selfless contribution of our president during his term of office. One of the most arduous tasks will undoubtedly be to represent the Faculty at celebration dinners with fellows in Sydney and Melbourne.
The evening continued with Kerry Jackson, fundraiser from our chosen charity, Children’s Hospice Association Scotland (CHAS), giving a short presentation to explain how important our support is to them. Our target of £50,000 will pay for two carers for terminally ill children and their families. The Faculty of Actuaries Students’ Society (FASS) has already entered 14 teams to run for CHAS in the Edinburgh marathon relay in June.
There was also a very encouraging start to tickets sales during the launch for the evening of music at Greyfriars Kirk on 19 March. Further details of the programme for this and other events can be found at www.faculty150.org.uk by following the ‘Calendar of Events’ link.
Leaving the launch celebration, I could not help but wonder how many of the guests will also be at the 200th anniversary and in what areas of work actuaries of the day might be involved.