Stephen Mann, CEO of the IFoA, explains what work is being done to make sure everyone in the profession feels that they count
In January 2022, we were proud to launch our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) strategy. The strategy reflects our deep and abiding belief in DEI and our purpose of championing and embodying the benefits of a globally diverse and inclusive profession. As a small profession, we need to be a warm and welcoming community, where the high standards we set ourselves prepare us to meet evolving regulatory and public expectations and succeed in a rapidly changing world.
We have spent the past 12 months embedding our DEI strategy across all aspects of the IFoA. Here, we reflect on our progress in delivering our aspirational and far-reaching plans.
Leadership and culture
We began to build the consistent and comprehensive baseline data set needed to monitor and address demographic representation in our profession. We published demographic data for Council, Management Board, Regulatory Board and the Executive Leadership Team (ELT) for the first time in our 2021/22 Annual Report. Data gathering across our Boards, Committees, volunteer groups and the ELT is currently underway, and findings will be shared with these groups in March.
We built relationships with key external stakeholders to progress our DEI work, signing up to the Neurodiversity in Business Charter and the Financial Services Skills Commission’s (FSSC) Access, Diversity and Inclusion Commitment. We also became an official supporter of Progress Together and are collaborating with the Diversity Project.
DEI stakeholders have commended our work, with FSSC CEO Claire Tunley highlighting our work on menopause and diversity-monitoring data-gathering for a case study in the City of London Socio-Economic Diversity Taskforce report
At the institute itself
We put DEI at the heart of the way we work, delivering refresher DEI training to IFoA colleagues and employing our first DEI Business Partner to support implementation of our strategy. We also completed our second annual DEI colleague survey, achieving a 70% response rate; results will be shared with colleagues imminently.
Entry to the profession
We have been acting to ensure access to our profession is fair and equitable. Our careers acquisition strategy has been developed with a strong DEI focus, and our Early Careers Team has worked with the IFoA Foundation on further initiatives to widen access. We were proud to host our first online-only Count Me In event (see page 42), which links bright young maths students from historically underrepresented backgrounds with employers, helping them take their first steps towards the actuarial profession.
We are working to ensure our standards support a more equitable profession. The Regulatory Board is reviewing the Actuaries’ Code from a DEI perspective and consulting on how we can incorporate DEI into our regulatory framework. We also responded to the Financial Reporting Council’s DEI Thematic Review, providing an overview of our DEI governance set-up, data collection activity, plans for target setting, and DEI training and development.
We have continued to support the Actuarial Mentoring Programme and established a group of previous Practice Board chairs to provide mentoring opportunities.
The IFoA Regulatory Appointments Committee (RAC) and Disciplinary Committee have received training from a DEI external expert, which will inform the RAC Governance Review and the development of the new Disciplinary Scheme guidance through a DEI lens.
Improving our community
In June 2022, we launched a thought-leadership series on DEI during a plenary session at the IFoA Conference. We also launched a refreshed Quality Assurance Scheme in April 2022, which included the introduction of DEI into our Organisational Culture accreditation requirements and an Annual Specialist Review, which focused on DEI during 2022/23. DEI expectations have also been embedded into our current Mutual Recognition Agreements.
We have an ambitious DEI strategic implementation plan for 2023.This includes monitoring and reporting on DEI success measures, expanding DEI data gathering to all members and developing an action plan that aligns with the FSSC’s Access, Diversity and Inclusion Commitment. This will help the IFoA become a more diverse and inclusive workforce.
We will be implementing a DEI employer plan to support members’ employers around the world with DEI initiatives such as data collection and the sharing of best practice. We will also be reviewing our university accreditation process to reflect DEI principles, and continue to work with key DEI stakeholders such as the FSSC’s Diversity Workstreams. We look forward to hosting further DEI thought-leadership sessions.