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The Actuary The magazine of the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries

Disciplinary processes matter

Most members probably believe they will never be the subject of a complaint so have not looked closely at how the profession’s disciplinary arrangements work. Recent correspondence has demonstrated a lack of understanding. Complete information can be found on the ‘Professional Conduct’ section of the website: this is only an overview.

The Faculty and Institute have separate schemes sharing the same infrastructure, managed within their rules by the Disciplinary Board. The Councils have no influence over how the schemes operate or any detail of the individual cases. On the Disciplinary Board are three lay members, including the chairman, who have considerable experience of professional regulation. There is separation between the investigation and judicial stages. Fellows can volunteer to be investigating actuaries or members of the disciplinary pool from which the judicial panels are drawn. Also serving on the pool are experienced lay people. Every case has a non-actuary involved in the decision-making process.

The misconduct definition is wide, extending to conduct outside professional duties which other members or the public might consider inappropriate. All complaints are investigated confidentially and then presented for adjudication. There is no filter. When an adjudication panel, looking at the paper-based evidence in private, does not find a prima facie case of misconduct then no disciplinary action is taken and there is no publicity about the matter. The adjudication panel may invite the member to accept there has been misconduct and offer a sanction. This accepted determination is published. If the the panel recommends referral or the member does not accept the misconduct finding, the case will be heard in public by a tribunal panel. Their findings, of guilt or otherwise, will be published. The published report of a case does not name the complainant or the associated clients although these are known to the parties involved.

The schemes do not prohibit a member telling others of their ‘not guilty’ verdict. Recently, when asked by the member concerned to make such a finding public, The Actuary agreed with my recommendation that this should be in the form given by the panel rather than by a letter from the member.

The Disciplinary Board is currently conducting a review of the schemes. Any recommended changes will be put to the membership for agreement in due course. Suggestions for improvement can be sent to the board’s secretary: wendy.cogger@actuaries.org.uk.