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The Actuary The magazine of the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries

President’s address: Ringing the changes

I know many of you are wondering whether, judging by the number of invitations and reminders to give us input on the merger, volunteers and staff are doing little else and that other important matters are being neglected. I can assure you that this is far from the case. Your councils and management board are very conscious that our purpose is to support you throughout your working lives. So, it is timely to update you on the initiatives we are working on, and how (and when) you will start to see their benefit.

World-class member support
For the vast majority of our members, most contact is electronic (either by email or through the website). While the website has millions of interesting pieces of information, we are aware that finding them is a frustrating experience. Plans are well advanced to significantly improve the site’s ease of navigation.

We know that you want much better targeted information from the Profession and that the current approach appears somewhat scattergun. A new targeted approach will be rolled out over the next few months. However, we need your help. Please take a minute to go on to the members’ area of the website and tick the practice areas and member interest activities which matter to you. In that way you can be assured that you will receive what you want and need. You can find more information on this at www.actuaries.org.uk/practice_areas/migs

Longer term, we are looking at new ways of delivering CPD and new ways to allow you to access learning material (for example, through webinars and podcasts). This should particularly help those who do not work near London or Edinburgh or whose work and life patterns do not fit the conventional formats.

Building public confidence
Volunteers and staff have been working hard to build a quality framework and build relationships with regulators and other opinion formers. We are determined to raise the standing of the Profession still higher, at a time when the public needs to know who, in the financial world, it can trust. By demonstrating our commitment to the highest standards of professional behaviour and to the public interest, we can enhance our reputation and gain that trust. We will shortly be re-exposing the new Actuaries’ Code and will also be announcing a couple of major regulatory appointments.

Marketing the profession
The Board has recently approved a campaign to market the Associate qualification more effectively. Initially, we will market this to undergraduates as the best qualification for those who wish to follow a career in risk management (breaking new ground for the Profession in having Facebook pages and other ‘non-traditional’ approaches). Thereafter, we will market it to employers. This represents an exciting broadening of the horizons for the Profession.

Your feedback
It would, however, be wrong to suppose that the merger project had no wider benefits. More than 4500 of our 20 000 members took part in a recent exercise to gauge attitudes and views on the merger. You told us a lot about how you want to see the Profession developing (irrespective of any merger decisions).

You told us that you were proud to be actuaries but that we need to do more to raise our profile and update our image. You told us that we are doing a lot of things correctly to support your ‘actuarial journey’ but there are things that we can do better. Many of you said that you didn’t really feel engaged with the Profession. A number said that, while more than three quarters of our members are under 40 and half of new qualifiers are women, too many of our activities are still run as if we are all 55-year-old men — though, as a 55-year-old man I would make a plea that we are not all bad people.

You told us that you want us to speak out on matters of public importance and to do so with authority and with confidence. I am grateful for your help and guidance on these matters. Many of the items described in this article directly meet your wishes and needs but there is more that we can do. Irrespective of the outcome of the merger discussion, I am determined that the Actuarial Profession will continue to evolve in a way that makes our members proud.