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The Actuary The magazine of the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries

Climate of change

Returning from summer vacation has, for me, always been the real start of the working year, providing the chance to look forward to the developments in the coming months. Of course, the follow-up to the vote on the unification of the profession must be addressed, but there are also other important developments in education and professional standards to be planned for.

On 23 July, Faculty president Ronnie Bowie and I sent e-mails to our respective members to inform them of the outcome of the merger votes. Some of you have shared your views about the outcome with me directly or through the discussion board. I would like to thank all those who have contributed to the merger debate. At the time of writing, the Institute Council has discussed the outcome, and the Faculty Council is due to discuss it on 26 August. I hope Ronnie and I will be able to e-mail you after the Faculty Council has met with an update on Council’s views for the best way forward for the Profession.

The most important thing we can do right now is consult with you, our members, to find out how to best move forward. Both Ronnie and I appreciate that the merger process has taken a long time and has been a major feature of our separate and joint council meetings for the past three years. It is clear that the status quo, with its inherent weaknesses, cannot continue. We will talk with you and find out more about your aspirations for the future of our profession. In doing this, I believe we can build a new consensus and move forward together as a strong, united profession.

Access to the Profession
Earlier this year, the Profession opened its doors to non-actuaries and developed a certificate in financial mathematics. The certificate is designed to allow people considering a career as an actuary, and who may already be working in the financial services industry, to test the water before committing themselves to the training and examination process. As a result, 53 people sat CT1 financial mathematics to gain the certificate. The pass rate was 41.5% and some of the successful students have now decided to join the Faculty and the Institute and to study to become an actuary.

Developing the certificate is part of the profession’s response to the government’s recent investigation into social mobility and access to the professions. Offering this course demonstrates our commitment to increasing accessibility to the profession. You can find out more about the certificate at www.actuaries.org.uk/students/exam_subjects/certificate

Actuaries’ Code and CPD changes
The Actuaries’ Code will be launched in October. The Code, which will replace the professional conduct standards (PCS), embodies the principles and standards that actuaries can be expected to observe in their professional life. Our observation of, and adherence to, the Code will ensure continued public confi dence in our profession. I am sure you will join me in acknowledging the many people who have worked to develop the Code, with special thanks going to Andrew Chamberlain, who led the professional regulation executive committee through most of this period.

In next month’s issue of The Actuary, Sir Philip Mawer, the new chairman of the professional regulation executive committee, and Roger Dix, chairman of the professionalism awareness committee, will set out how the Profession will be helping members think through the implications of the new Code.

The new CPD scheme will herald change for many of us over the next 12 months. The introduction of the new scheme follows a comprehensive review of the existing scheme and feedback from members and regulators. Practising certificate holders (category 1) will be the first to be affected, from 1 October 2009. Actuaries in other categories will also be affected, but only from July 2010.

The new CPD regime has raised questions with some members about its scope and extent. It is CPD which sets the Profession apart from academic bodies that grant qualifications but do not follow up to ensure the ongoing relevance of the qualification. CPD is a genuine competitive advantage for the Profession, and we should ensure it is of the highest standard.