When I became president last June, I scarcely could have imagined that a year later the world would be facing the challenges we are today.
Among the devastation COVID-19 is wreaking, many are wondering whether it can act as a catalyst for transforming our society.
This question has been a focal point of recent discussions across the IFoA, and looking back on the past year, I see both reinvention and enduring values. Many of our strategic initiatives are driven by those values, and so will remain vitally important in any scenario.
Firstly, Council has revisited our strategy and emphatically prioritised serving you, our members, throughout your careers. We are committed to upholding the recently published Member Pledge. In turn, that means enhanced support for you in the face of unprecedented technological change. One way the IFoA will deliver this is by building on the success of the data science certificate. It is wonderful to see our learners exploring this field, which will inevitably intertwine with our own further in the future.
In addition, continuing our thought leadership on The Great Risk Transfer will reassert the relevance of the profession’s skills in helping society, particularly individuals, to better manage financial risks.
We have also seen reinvention. While the ‘virtualisation’ of exams and events was prompted by present-day restrictions, it gives us another way to serve a geographically diverse membership while lowering financial and environmental costs. The profession has stepped up by helping policymakers, healthcare providers, employers and clients to manage the varied implications of the pandemic – further evidence of the profession’s versatility.
We may not be able to predict the future, but the past few months have indicated how we may choose to meet its challenges. As we do, I look forward to serving the IFoA in new capacities as it reinvents itself – while remaining true to our enduring values.
John Taylor is the president of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries