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The Actuary The magazine of the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries

Memo from Turner

What a masterly encapsulation of the profession’s record and characteristics, especially in the pensions field, was provided by Adair Turner, in his final answer in the interview with Seamus Creedon (March issue). As an investment actuary, more lately turned pension trustee, I could not have put it as well, never mind better, myself. Perhaps it may justify printing two months running, preparatory to being put up in lights in all the consultants’ offices.

‘The actuarial profession’s core and distinctive expertise lies in its understanding of risks, whether relating to investment returns or to mortality rate assumptions. But too often in the past, actuaries have been seen by their clients as authorities with single point answers, providing a false sense of certainty. It is vital that actuarial advice continually illustrates the range of different results that are possible, helping public policy and corporate decision-makers to devise appropriate strategies in an inherently uncertain world.’Hopefully many in the field have already taken this message on board, but I should not be surprised if there was a significant population of backsliders, who still may require encouragement to enter the 21st century.