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The Actuary The magazine of the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries

Strategy review

Take 30 seconds to ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do I feel a close affinity with the profession?
  • Do I get full value for money from my membership subscriptions each year?
  • Am I happy with the public perception of the profession?
  • Does the profession help me to serve my customers better?
  • Does the profession help me to increase my marketability?

If you have answered all the above questions with a firm yes, then you probably feel reviewing the strategy for the profession is a complete waste of time. If you have answered any of the questions with a no, then read on!

The Morris Review creates both the need and the opportunity to reconsider the future of the actuarial profession in the UK and the role of the professional body.

Sir Derek Morris described the UK actuarial profession as being ‘somewhat at a crossroads’. He outlined two alternative scenarios:

  • The first, retrenchment into our core, regulated roles in insurance and pensions.
  • The second, applying our skills in financial analysis and risk management over a wider remit, which would bring us into competition with other professions and disciplines.

It was in this context that the two presidents asked us to support them and a strategy and policy working group set up by the Joint Councils of the Faculty and Institute in undertaking a fundamental review of the profession.

The two questions we are trying to answer are:

  • Where do we want the profession to be in five to ten years’ time?
  • What do we need to do to get there?

It was clear to us that if this was to be worthwhile, it must be based upon the views not only of the membership, but particularly of actuaries’ customers right along the supply chain – in other words, employers of actuaries, and also insurance executives and directors and pension scheme trustees who depend upon their advice, and ideally the ultimate consumers. If a strategy works for the employer but conflicts with the interests of the employer’s customers, it will be short-lived!

We will, of course, look at the work from earlier initiatives and use information supplied by members previously, such as in the recent survey organised by the Internal Relations Committee. However to ensure we get input from all actuaries we are particularly keen to hear from the silent majority. We will be presenting to Joint Councils and getting their views, but we will be applying equal weighting to the views of those actuaries not currently involved in the profession’s affairs, whether they have yet to qualify or have 25 years’ experience, and whether they spend all their time on actuarial work or very little.

So what are we doing and why are we asking you to read on?

Well, over the summer we have been carrying out interviews, workshops and market research with actuaries and customers of actuaries. These are focusing particularly upon four key issues:

  • the demand for services provided by actuaries;
  • customers’ confidence in actuaries and the profession;
  • the influence of actuaries;
  • the value added by actuaries.

We are also analysing the potential supply of actuaries and competition for talent by analysing input from new students and from universities. The questions at the start of this article were derived from a workshop of younger members who answered them with a resounding no.

All of this will lead to an understanding of where we as a profession stand and the current and future demand for our services. It will also help up understand the options for the professional body, whose fundamental purpose is after all to serve the interests of the membership.

We expect to publish this work in a short paper by mid-September. The analyses may not be complete by then and the options will be in draft form as we want input from members to help form final recommendations. There will be a period to allow discussion at various forums and allow individual members to input their views. We will then assist the two presidents to prepare final proposals to be agreed by Joint Councils before presentation to the membership.

So how can you take part? Discussion meetings will be held in London (Monday 26 September) and Edinburgh (Thursday 22 September) – for more details, see the notice on the facing page. We expect to publish early findings in The Actuary and we will aim to create opportunities for actuaries to input and discuss the analyses throughout the autumn. The findings will of course be available on the website. The presidents are fully committed to this review and to following through any recommendations.

You have read this far because you answered at least one of our opening questions in the negative! Now we need you to be positive and suggest how the professional body can do better – for you and for all its members. We do very much want to hear from as many members as possible.