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The Actuary The magazine of the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries

Institute of Actuaries tribunal panel report

Mr Ian Conlon, FIA 1998, resident in Bangor, Northern Ireland (‘the Respondent’). The Respondent elected not to appeal this decision.

The charge was that the respondent had committed misconduct as defined in rule 1.6 of the Disciplinary Scheme of the Institute of Actuaries: ‘Misconduct’ means:

a) Any breach of the bye-laws of the Institute; and/or
b) Any conduct, by a Member, whether committed in the United Kingdom or elsewhere, in the course of carrying out professional duties or otherwise constituting failure by that Member to comply with the standards of behaviour, integrity, competence, or professional judgment which other Members or the public might reasonably expect of a Member having regard to any advice, guidance, memorandum or statement on professional conduct, practice, or duties which may be given and published by the Institute and/or, for so long as there is a relevant Memorandum of Understanding in force, by the Board for Actuarial Standards and to all other relevant circumstances.

The Respondent was present and represented at the heaaring.

The particulars of the charge
In reaching its determination on fact and misconduct, the panel noted that the burden of proof rests with the Institute’s investigating actuary, and applied the standard of proof set out in rule 1.4 of the Institute’s Disciplinary Scheme.

The Panel found that between June 2005 and November 2008 the Respondent had retained a number of Scheme Actuary appointments without holding a current Scheme Actuary Certificate, such conduct:

1 Constituting a breach of Bye-Law 76 of the Institute of Actuaries and therefore misconduct in terms of Rule 1.6(a) of the Disciplinary Scheme of the Institute of Actuaries.
2 Constituting a material breach of a requirement of a Practice Standard Guidance Note, namely Paragraph 2.1 of version 6.0 of Guidance Note 29; and paragraph 2.2 of version 7.0 and 7.1 of Guidance Note 29.
3 Additionally, and in any event, constituting Misconduct in terms of Rule 1.6(b) of the Disciplinary Scheme of the Institute of Actuaries, namely conduct falling below the standards of behaviour, integrity, competence or professional judgement which other members or the public might reasonably expect of a Member.

The Respondent admitted the charges against him and issued a joint minute with the Investigating Actuary admitting to the facts of the case. The Tribunal found the facts proved on the Respondent’s own admission. The Joint Minute can be found annexed to the determination on the Profession’s website. The Panel therefore considered whether the facts of the case amounted to Misconduct within the definition in rule 1.6 of the disciplinary scheme.

The Panel found that the Respondent’s behaviour did amount to Misconduct and therefore that the Respondent was guilty of Misconduct.

The Panel determined, under rule 6.23, that the following sanctions were appropriate to impose upon the Respondent:

>> A fine of £1000
>> Suspension from membership of the Institute for a period of six months
>> A requirement to attend a professionalism course within 12 months.

The Panel’s reasons were as follows:

1 The Respondent has practised as a pension Scheme Actuary without the appropriate professional certificates in place. He did that for a continuous period of three years for a large number of clients. The Institute has put in place guidance for its Members who wish to practise in this field. This is currently embodied in Guidance Note 29. It has done so to ensure that its Members adhere to the letter as well as the spirit of Section 47 of the Pensions Act 1995, which prescribes various duties on a pension Scheme Actuary.
2 The obtaining of a practising certificate is thus not merely an administrative requirement for the benefit of the Institute; it is there to protect the public in general, and pension schemes and their members in particular. It does this by ensuring that the Institute’s Members who work in this highly responsible field are objectively recognised as being professionally competent to do so.
3 The Respondent had led colleagues and clients to believe that he held such a certificate and was therefore able to hold Scheme Actuary appointments.
4 The Tribunal has considered detailed submissions in mitigation put forward by the Respondent. In a previous case, the Panel imposed a two-year suspension and a £5,000 fine. The reduced sanctions in this case reflect the Respondent’s early admissions and co-operation with the investigation and recognise the Respondent’s remorse for his actions and genuine attempt to put right his mistakes at personal expense.

Costs award
An application for costs was made on behalf of the Investigating Actuary.

The Panel recognised that the Respondent’s admissions, particularly in his statement of 20 March 2009, should have significantly reduced the workload of the investigating team.

Nevertheless, there were some difficulties in contacting the Respondent and the Panel has therefore imposed a contribution to costs of £500 on the Respondent.