[Skip to content]

Sign up for our daily newsletter
The Actuary The magazine of the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries

The actuary of today

On 6 October, in the midst of the market collapse, Faculty of Actuaries president Ronnie Bowie stood up and gave a presidential address that showed actuaries are well placed to assist and add value in the recovery needed following the current financial crisis.

The address, which talked about ‘Tomorrow’s Actuary’, provided guidance as to how actuaries could help provide financial stability following the credit crunch. Ronnie also commented that we must truly understand risk and not simply be “slaves to models”, continuing a theme that has been regularly debated in The Actuary. Ronnie stated that the world needs actuaries who are “curious, energetic and influential”. This requires us to look beyond our technical skills, and explore how we can use our expertise to deliver real solutions based on the theory we learn. Again, this is a message that should be familiar to us all.

One interesting point was Ronnie’s call to shift our actuarial focus from pension scheme liabilities to assets, taking into account the risk capital of a scheme sponsor and using an “economic” value of liabilities. Having seen a move from discounted asset values to market values in the late 1990s, I am intrigued to see how this debate will unfold. Pleasingly for me, there was relatively little attention paid to the possible merger of the Faculty and the Institute. Ronnie chose instead to reflect on what actuaries can bring to the pressing issues facing the financial community at the moment.

In summary, the address provided some much welcome optimism for me and, once again, I am encouraged that our features and letters illustrate that many actuaries are already doing the things that Ronnie refers to. This got me thinking — perhaps ‘Tomorrow’s Actuary’ should be re-branded as ‘The Actuary of Today’.

Margaret de Valois