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The Actuary The magazine of the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries

Global profession at a crossroads?

Just as Sir Derek Morris described the actuarial profession in the UK as being at a crossroads (see pviii at www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/media/CA0/9C/morris_final.pdf) it appears that at least a potential fork in the road has appeared for the profession globally.

Although actuaries agree that the domain of enterprise risk management is growing in importance and is one in which more actuaries ought to be involved, there appears to be increasing polarisation of views as to how this may best be achieved. Part of the disagreement may be about whether the focus should be on (financial or quantitative) risk management across the corporate sector generally or on management of all risks within financial sector firms. However, the more polarised disagreement is between actuaries who believe risk management should be regarded as an ‘area of practice’ within existing actuarial organisations and those who envisage a brand-new risk management profession embracing those actuarial organisations and others.

These different views are well set out by Charles Gilbert and James McGinnitie at library.soa.org/library-pdf/RM0503.pdf. Both approaches are being pursued by their adherents, and it is not necessarily the case that they are mutually exclusive. This does however beg a question as to what should be the attitude of the UK actuarial profession. London is probably the entrepot with the highest density of risk management professionals in the world – are we missing a leadership opportunity?

The Actuary would welcome hearing from readers – are you an actuary or a risk manager? How do you perceive the difference?