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The Actuary The magazine of the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries

Editorial: Lost in translation

Are we seeing the bigger picture when it comes to interpreting information? asks Deepak Jobanputra

Deepak Jobanputra Pru Protect editor The Actuary
Most people will be familiar with the saying “information is everything”. It is amazing then that we see such a wide range of outcomes arising from the ‘same’ information worldwide. Much lies in the interpretation and methods used to derive results and conclusions from information.

At a personal level, when my children found out that I had taken the role of editor of The Actuary, they were excited and asked whether I’d be working with Peter Parker or Clark Kent. I had clearly built up a picture that actuaries are superheroes, which may be true of some readers, although others will have a different view.

In the context of information and interpretation, this month’s edition brings the opportunity for some exciting debate. Enterprise risk management (ERM) is a relatively new but near ubiquitous acronym; we discuss the issues facing insurers and the requirement to engage with accountants to formulate an optimal view. Whether it is optimal is likely in itself to spark an intellectual debate among readers.

All too often, decisions are taken using averages and point estimates; yet the dangers of doing so aren’t always understood or, worse still, are not considered. Such practices have evolved and so we take the opportunity to look at reserving using unified models that, as the author describes, are built on sound and simple, yet robust, principles – much like a spider’s web.

We also look at the dynamics of pension trade-off options that individuals are offered by their pension plans and how the role of the actuary is fundamental in supporting such key decisions. The incorporation of the public interest in the requirements of the Actuaries’ Code is a key component likely to prompt heated debate.

I have been pleasantly overwhelmed by your response to many of the letters, features and, in particular, the puzzles page in the previous edition. I urge you to continue to engage with your profession and I would reiterate something that I strongly believe in and which appears in our features interview – “We are debtors to our profession” and it is our duty to maintain and enhance our standing.

Deepak Jobanputra
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