Matt Saker explains why Chartered status is the way forward for the profession
In a few weeks’ time, members will be invited to vote on the introduction of two new designations for IFoA qualified actuaries – Chartered Actuary (Fellow) and Chartered Actuary (Associate). This change to our bye-laws has been discussed over many years, with contributions from viewpoints across the actuarial spectrum, and culminated in Council’s approval in June to move to a member vote.
As IFoA president, along with Council, I am fully supportive of this proposal, and believe the new designations will have a significant positive impact on the status and future success of actuaries and our profession. Given this, we encourage members to vote in favour of the proposal this November. Here, I outline why we believe this is an important step forward.
Reflecting our status
The Chartered designation will make a crucial distinction between IFoA actuaries and others who practise actuarial work, and truly reflect your status across the world. Use of the word ‘actuary’ is not currently protected; this change will create a fundamental distinction between IFoA actuaries and those who call themselves actuaries but have either lapsed their IFoA membership, are not qualified, or in some cases have had no formal actuarial training. It will protect your reputation as an IFoA member and continue to give the public confidence in our actuarial professionals.
It is important to appreciate that this change will not have any impact on where the bar is set for IFoA Associate and Fellowship member statuses. In particular, the rigour and quality of our qualifications will not change, so there are only upsides – in terms of enhanced nomenclature – with no downsides for any of our members.
With the introduction of the Chartered designation, members will also be able to fully benefit from the opportunities presented by our Royal Charter, and the recognition and respect that this brings worldwide. Employers and global colleagues have told us that rebranding as ‘Chartered Actuary’ will give our qualifications more global appeal, as the term ‘Chartered’ is widely recognised as a quality mark within markets where there is an opportunity for actuarial specialists to compete with other professionals. It will therefore strengthen your position within the international market, where an increasingly large proportion of our members operate.
“This change will create a distinction between IFoA actuaries and others who call themselves actuaries but are not qualified”
A step into the future
The new designations will also protect and support the profession for the future; this, in turn, reflects the IFoA’s strategic aim of repositioning the profession and ensuring we remain ahead of the curve.
As actuaries diversify into new sectors and spheres, these designations bring recognition for the profession outside of the tight actuarial sphere. Our Associate members are already recognised as qualified actuaries in established actuarial sectors, but there is a lack of brand awareness around the qualification and it is less recognised in potential new employment sectors for actuaries, such as data analytics, cyber risk, health and care, and sustainability. By introducing Chartered designations, we want to establish the title ‘actuary’ more strongly for members in these sectors and highlight the relevance of their skills for the ever-changing needs of employers.
In terms of enhancing the profession, these designations will broaden the relevance of IFoA actuaries and encourage non-traditional actuarial employers to use actuarial qualifications more flexibly in their businesses. If potential students believe that these qualifications can take them not only into traditional sectors, but also into new and exciting areas of expertise, this can only be beneficial for the profession.
Recognition of our status
With the two new Chartered Actuary designations, everyone will benefit and nobody will lose out. Our high standards will be maintained. The proposal demonstrates the IFoA’s commitment to producing globally recognised, relevant, high-quality qualifications. These designations will enhance our prestige and visibility, to the benefit of our members and our profession around the world.
I firmly believe that with the two new Chartered Actuary designations, everyone will gain – from actuaries and employers to graduates and society itself. I therefore encourage all members to support this move by voting in favour of the proposal this November.
Matt Saker is president of the IFoA