January marked two years since I joined the IFoA.
This, coupled with the passing of another calendar year, presents a good opportunity to reflect on what I’ve learnt during this period – and what has changed.
Working remotely for much of the time was not in the original plan, and has made some things easier, others more difficult. We have responded well to the pandemic – and the sense of urgency it brought has accelerated trends and action in areas that might otherwise have taken longer to get around to.
I joined to help implement the bold strategy developed by Council in the preceding two years. The strategy has been robust enough to withstand the impact of the pandemic, and at the November 2021 Council strategy session it was good to sense-check progress against what we had expected to see at this stage.
During the past 18 months we have seen the launch of our ‘New World, New Thinking’ campaigns, which aim to reset how the IFoA comes across and showcase what we and our members do for society. We have also launched a revised events strategy, with all IFoA online events now free for you to access; a shift to fully online exams; a sustainability pathway; a simplified CPD scheme; and two series of thought leadership events. There is more to come, but the test will be if our members really feel a change in their experience.
There is a lot in train for 2022. We have just launched our new five-year diversity, equity and inclusion strategy, which recognises that diverse and inclusive thinking is important for our profession’s sustainability, and for attracting and retaining actuaries who want a career that is rewarding and valued in a wide sense. We are investing in a new member-friendly website, and upgrading our IT so we can offer you a better service. There are also big investments in our learning offer, which will maintain high standards while supporting career-long learning.
There is a lot to get done, but our ability to progress despite the pandemic gives me confidence that we can do so further in 2022.
Stephen Mann is the chief executive of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries