As you may have noticed in our 2020-2024 strategy, the digitalisation of our work factors heavily in our vision.
This is a recognition of reality, and also a strategic statement of where we need to be going. While written before COVID-19 reached the UK in any scale, the strategy anticipates the fault lines that the pandemic has exposed in customer behaviours and business models.
We have begun by taking events online, and later this month all student exams will be run online, too. Student members will also now view The Actuary magazine online instead of receiving a printed copy. As well as being more environmentally friendly and improving accessibility, especially for non-UK members, this will help create a more sustainable future for the magazine. Changes such as these aren’t small and during the next year or so we will be looking to improve our member experience substantially – and this will be underpinned by a ‘digital by default’ philosophy.
Sometimes we need to think about the consequences of the unthinkable. My family home is in York, a beautiful walled city in the north of England. Over the years, York has transformed from a sleepy industrial city to a bustling tourist hub. This was a deliberate strategy, but I am confident that the risk of visitors not being able to come was not considered. It is a real problem for a city that is largely dependent on tourism. Sustaining this tourist-based economy and trade in a recession will be a challenge; I am hopeful that the city will once again find a way to innovate. It may need to think differently, as I know many of you are doing.
Thinking small and making incremental change is unlikely to be enough as we adjust to a post-COVID world. I am motivated by the boldness of the strategy Council has set, and the fact that members and the actuarial profession are its common currency.
I look forward to growing and adapting together as we face what lies ahead. And I am grateful for all you have done to support and sustain the IFoA in these extraordinary times.
Stephen Mann is the chief executive of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries