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The Actuary The magazine of the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries

Working Overseas: A world of actuaries

For actuaries interested in working overseas, the International Actuarial Association (IAA) is an important part of the global scene and creates opportunities for expanding your horizons and getting involved with the bigger picture.

The IAA was formed in 1895, reconstituted in 1998 and restructured in 2010. It has 63 full member associations and 22 associate member associations, representing more than 50,000 actuaries in over 100 countries. In a nutshell, it exists to extend accessibility to high quality actuarial services worldwide.

To advance the work of the IAA, the Council and committees meet twice a year. The most recent meetings in Cape Town attracted nearly 250 representatives of actuarial associations from all over the world.

The UK Actuarial Profession is heavily involved in the IAA on your behalf and regards it as a vital organisation for the advancement of the profession internationally.

The IAA also has institutional members, which include such influential organisations as the International Association of Insurance Supervisors (IAIS), the International Social Security Association (ISSA), the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) and the International Organisation of Pension Supervisors (IOPS). We also have observer members, including the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

The vision of the IAA is to ensure that the actuarial profession is recognised worldwide as a major player in the decision-making process within the financial services industry, in the area of social protection and in the management of risk, thereby contributing to the wellbeing of society as a whole.

The mission of the IAA is to represent the actuarial profession and promote its role, reputation and recognition in the international domain and to promote professionalism, develop education standards and encourage research, with the active involvement of its member associations and sections, in order to address changing needs.

Our first strategic objective is around building relations and becoming engaged with the supranational organisations that matter to actuaries. The IAIS, ISSA, IASB and IOPS are particularly important, but others include the OECD, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the World Bank, to name but a few.

An example of our agenda can be seen from our actions following the global risk crisis of 2009. We believe that more widespread use of actuarial approaches throughout the financial sector could assist in the prevention of future financial crises, and we took this message to the Financial Forum and to the regulators in various countries. Most recently, we took our ideas on addressing systemic risk to the IAIS in Basel and the OECD in Paris and have been invited to share our ideas with the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision about introducing actuarial principles into the risk management of banks. O

ur second strategic objective is focused on extending the scientific knowledge and skills of the actuarial profession. We have produced major publications on insurer solvency assessment, measurement of liabilities and, just recently, stochastic modelling.

On our website, www.actuaries.org, you will find a wealth of information including details of forthcoming projects, a database of more than 400,000 items of research and further details on our strategic objectives and what we are doing to advance them.

Here I must mention the role of the sections in the IAA (see below):

ASTIN - Actuarial Studies in Non-life Insurance
IACA - International Association of Consulting Actuaries
AFIR - Actuarial Approach for Financial Risks
IAAHS - IAA Health Section
PBSS - Pensions, Benefits and Social Security
AWB - Actuaries Without Borders
LIFE - Life Section

It is the coming together of these sections that creates the Congresses we enjoy every four years. We hope that we will soon have a section for actuaries working in enterprise risk management.

The sections are for individual actuaries to join, and I would go further and say that individual actuaries should join if they want to achieve their full career potential. This is particularly true for any actuary thinking of working outside their home country.

A key part of the IAA’s mission is to provide a forum for discussion among actuaries and actuarial associations throughout the world. If you missed the Congress in Cape Town this year, you can start planning for the next ones in Washington in 2014 and in Berlin in 2018.

Our first Annual Report, for the year 2009, was published in March 2010. To read first-hand about all of the IAA’s accomplishments you can download it from the website. The IAA is making a real difference to the globalisation of the profession and I would encourage any actuary with international ambitions to get involved.

Paul Thornton is president of the International Actuarial Association