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The Actuary The magazine of the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries

Institute fellows – your Council needs you!

Who should stand?

Any fellow of the Institute who wants to help and guide their profession towards greater public recognition and influence and is prepared to commit some effort to this end. As broad a church of Council members as possible is vital if the profession is to achieve its vision and Council is to represent its members. This includes attracting some ‘younger’ members on to Council.

Tell me then, what exactly does Council do?

Together with Faculty Council, it runs the profession in the UK for the benefit of current and future members. This involves defining its own strategy, agreeing strategy for joint affairs with Faculty Council, empowering the Faculty and Institute Management Committee (FIMC) to implement joint strategy, and to oversee the direction of the practice boards, education, and professionalism. It is also responsible for the Institute’s ‘own’ business (sessional meetings, discipline, awards, dinners, etc).

This all seems a bit remote from my day-to-day concerns

This is because most of the more practical matters, be they to do with education, professional standards, or business practice, are delegated by Councils to FIMC and the boards. However, the only way to get on to FIMC is to be a Council member and all Council members are expected to serve for at least one year on FIMC. Council members will serve on one or two boards depending on their interests, most likely chairing one of the committees, if not chairing a board. The real work of the profession is handled at board level and thus Council members are intimately involved in important day-to-day issues.

  • In the immediate future, Council members will be providing input to the Morris Review of the Actuarial Profession that was announced by the Treasury when the Penrose report was published.
  • The Pensions Board is fully involved with the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP), Inland Revenue, and others in the implementation of the ideas behind the government’s pensions reform proposals.
  • The Life Board is preparing new guidance to reflect the forthcoming changes to the roles of actuaries in the governance of life assurers and maintains dialogue with the Financial Services Authority (FSA) on this and other matters of common interest.
  • All the practice boards will be involved in the development of an Actuarial Standards Board, which, through more specific codification of standards of best practice, will have a fundamental impact on the way actuaries work.
  • The Education and CPD Board will be implementing the new business-orientated syllabus in 2005 and keeping it up to date. The board will also be providing CPD for experienced actuaries as new techniques develop.
  • The Professional Affairs Board (PAB) is the eyes and ears of the profession and its role is to ensure that the profession maintains the highest possible professional standards of integrity, expertise, and relevance in the giving of advice. It is important that the PAB is representative of all branches within the profession, particularly as standard-setting becomes more independent and as the profession responds to Lord Penrose’s call for more proactive monitoring of discipline.
  • All this involves politicians, the press, and our own members. If these sorts of things are important to your work and to you, then this is how to influence them – become a Council member!
OK. But this sounds like quite a bit of effort. How much of my time will it take up?

Council meets five times a year for about three hours on average. One or two day-long joint meetings are also held each year with Faculty Council. Boards and committees also tend to have about five meetings a year. So assuming a typical involvement, you should expect to attend a couple of meetings a month, usually at Staple Inn or, for the joint boards and committees, from time to time in Edinburgh. But you can vary your involvement according to your own workload.

That sounds reasonable enough. Are there any benefits for me though?

No glittering prizes, I’m afraid, but if you are concerned about your profession or feel strongly about issues then this is how to influence things. You do get the chance to progress to leadership positions as an honorary officer, board chairman or even, one day, president, quite apart from the networking and the feeling of being at the forefront of current issues confronting the business in which you work.

I’m interested! But what do I need to do to stand a chance of being elected?

There are five vacancies this year as a result of retirements by rotation. The main influence on whether you get elected is the number of your peers who are likely to know of you and either respect your judgement on professional matters or your efforts in organising professional activities. While on Council you will be acquiring CPD hours at a rate of knots, advancing your career development and/or market value, while repaying your debt to the profession into the bargain. You can get a feel for the names and number of committees by reading the news pages of The Actuary or by checking the profession’s website, www.actuaries.org.uk.

Who else will be standing?

The number of candidates standing in the annual elections to Council varies from year to year – 8 in 2001, 11 in 2002, and 12 last year. There is no dishonour in not being elected. Indeed, quite a few current Council members were only elected after more than one attempt, the first attempt making them more well known for the second. One thing to bear in mind is that retiring Council members cannot immediately stand for re-election; there has to be at least a one-year gap.

Right. I want to get involved. What are the next steps?

Talk to one or more past or present Council members who will certainly encourage you to stand if they think you are ready. Talk to your employer and get their support. Carefully choose and approach a proposer and seconder whose own reputations will advance your cause, and return the nomination form and biographical details by Friday 28 May 2004. Please contact me if you need any further information – and I hope to be welcoming you to your first Council meeting in July!

Marion Young, secretary to Institute Councilemail mariony@actuaries.org.uk, tel 020-7632 2117