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The Actuary The magazine of the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries

Life: Conference preview: Changing times

Chairman’s Preview

The 2009 Life Conference will be held in Edinburgh on the 25-27 November. The conference returns to the UK after a successful event in Amsterdam last year. The committee has been working hard to ensure the panel of speakers is as varied and interesting as ever. In many ways, the most difficult role of the organising committee is to select speakers and topics from the many offers received. The conference has a high quality line-up that will ensure everyone takes home some food for thought!

The concurrent sessions cover topics such as capital management, raising finance, Solvency II, hedging of risks on with-profit funds and managing longevity risk. Add some lessons from Lehmans, developments in Indian markets and the Retail Distribution Review to get a fl avour for the wide selection on offer. This year’s speakers demonstrate the variety of work in which life actuaries are involved. On the main stage, the conference provides an opportunity to take stock of the current economic climate and consider what is next.

With this in mind, I am pleased that Stephanie Flanders, the BBC’s economic editor, is our keynote speaker on Wednesday evening. I am sure many of you know of her ‘Stephanomics’ blog. In our plenary sessions we focus on two very important subjects in light of the market turbulence and subsequent economic downturn.

Our first session challenges whether market-consistent methods have been effective to value life companies, and our second considers the future of the life industry. These are topics that deserve thorough consideration, and I am sure you will enjoy a lively debate from our panel of industry speakers that includes individuals from outside the actuarial profession, to ensure we hear as many views as possible.

Our commercial skills sessions remain popular and Jim Steele’s theme of ‘Tough Minds for Tough Times’ strikes a chord in the current environment. The pace of change seems to be accelerating, and Jim has a number of support strategies for the workplace.

The organising committee is finalising the line-up for the key topics session. In keeping with previous years, these will be announced closer to the conference and you will have an opportunity to choose in the coming months. The format has received great feedback in recent years.

Finally, one of the most important and enjoyable parts of the conference is catching up with friends and colleagues. It provides the opportunity to discuss the goings on in the business world and debate what possibilities exist. There are social events planned to provide the chance to share a ‘wee dram’ and to enjoy a meal at the home of Scottish Rugby. With a packed agenda to look forward to, I hope to see you in Edinburgh in November.

Graeme Bold,
Life Organising Committee