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The Actuary The magazine of the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries

Letters: Mark Rowlinson (Andrew Smith vote)

I am appalled and disappointed by the letters in The Actuary this month (April 2008). PCS section 8 states that where members criticise other members’ work publicly it must be properly reasoned and care must be taken to acknowledge that other members may quite properly hold different professional opinions. In my view this is equally true for the vote on Andrew Smith. As someone who voted against Andrew being elected a fellow, I strongly object to being called a small-minded individual. Surely the truly small-minded people are those that have no respect for the opinion of others. Mr Iqbal might also like to note that I know at least one woman who voted against Andrew being elected a fellow so it wasn’t just ‘small-minded men’!

I have had no dealings with Andrew Smith and so have nothing against him personally. However those who have have mentioned to me in the past that through his confrontational style, as Mr Iqbal puts it, he has stifled many a debate by shouting others down. I cannot comment on this directly but it is unfortunately the attitude I have come across by many actuaries who preach Financial Economics and is nothing to celebrate. Financial Economics has a lot to offer but we shouldn’t forget how things work in the real world where we’re not all rational and events don’t occur in line with mathematical distributions.

Personally I voted against him being elected a fellow as I don’t believe it is right. Comments in the FAQs about it being an anomaly that he wasn’t qualified would carry more weight if he’d actually attempted all the exams. Indeed in an article in The Actuary he commented himself that he wasn’t that special to be given an exemption from the exams. I agree he has contributed to the actuarial profession and I would therefore be likely to support making him an honorary member. If I hadn’t spent the time studying for the exams I could have instead created some great models and valuable research myself. He has chosen not to study for the exams and has benefited from the extra time available, why should he be made a fellow as well?

Mark Rowlinson
3 April 2008