Colin Wilson encourages members to collaborate with other thought leaders and looks at the work of the Actuarial Research Centre
The announcement of the joint venture with the US Society of Actuaries has led to the creation of CAA Global, the new accrediting body for the Certified Actuarial Analyst examination, which will help the qualification reach its true global potential. We are now in dialogue with other actuarial associations around the world in the hope that they too will embrace this initiative and become destination homes for qualified Certified Actuarial Analysts. This and other recent events have crystallised in my mind the importance of working together as a profession, for the benefit of the whole profession.
As our refreshed strategy document published earlier this summer states, as a profession we are small, but through working together we are stronger. That has to be right, but it doesn’t just relate to how we interact with our sister organisations and other professions around the world. It is also true for the IFoA and its members. As an organisation we will be stronger if we work together, and by working together we will remain relevant too – relevant not just to you, but to those who use your services now, or will do so in the future.
Of course, Council has a critical role to play here in setting the strategic direction for our profession and ensuring we fulfil our Royal Charter objective. So we need to be confident that this body operates as effectively as possible and is constituted appropriately to meet our objectives. This is not to say that Council is not working well already – I believe it is. And it is certainly a committed and passionate group of volunteers. But there are questions over whether Council is fully representative of the diversity of our profession, and succession planning is a recurring issue.
This is why I have instigated a review of the composition of Council. I believe that it is critical that it reflects the diversity of the membership, both now and in the future. Allied to this, it is important that the governing body attracts the right people with the right skills and experience to fulfil its responsibilities.
As a Council we have already started to think about these important issues – looking to the future and what this should mean for a modern, forward-thinking, progressive governing Council.
But Council does not have a monopoly on great ideas. This is, after all, your profession. That is why I want to hear from you about what you want from your governing body, and how it should lead the profession into the future to ensure our relevance and our long-term sustainability.
All too often in life, it is easy to stand on the sidelines and criticise decisions and actions that have been taken that you don’t necessarily agree with. Now I’m not saying it’s wrong to hold an opposing view. On the contrary, I welcome constructive challenge and aim to promote environments that encourage this, as I firmly believe that it leads to better decisions and outcomes.
So please don’t stand on the sidelines; this is your opportunity to have a say in what is important to you and in what you believe Council can do for your profession. Ask yourself, should we continue to elect the whole of Council from a vote of the membership? Should the method of election be modified to help ensure that Council is truly representative of our members and where they work? Should Council look to appoint members to some seats around the Council table, or should these be given to lay people who could add a different perspective?
I do not underestimate the challenge that I have set myself and Council. I am also sure that there is no perfect answer; no silver bullet. But it is a challenge I believe we must rise to if we are to have a Council that is best placed to deal with whatever the future holds.
Many of you belong to regional societies. I encourage you to discuss these issues and feed back your thoughts to me. If you don’t belong to a regional society, then please email me directly with your thoughts.
Colin Wilson is the president of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries