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The Actuary The magazine of the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries

New strategy/new structure

In 2006 the Councils of the Faculty and the
Institute of Actuaries agreed that the new
strategic focus for the UK actuarial professional
bodies the Actuarial Profession
should be (and I paraphrase) ‘to support actuaries
throughout their professional lives’. While
the catalysts for the new strategy were the
Morris Review and the subsequent passing
of responsibility for developing actuarial technical
standards to the Board for Actuarial Standards
(BAS), the profession was ripe for a new
With the transition of technical standards to
the BAS now complete, the leadership of the
profession can give its undivided attention
to delivering that strategy. How it should be
delivered has been considered by a programme
board group, chaired by the two presidents, out
of which were spun seven work streams. It has
been my pleasure to chair the work stream
charged with devising a new structure for the
profession that will best enable the delivery of
the various strands of the strategy.
After several months of work our work stream
made recommendations to the Strategy Implementation
Programme Board and, in turn, to
the Joint Councils in June.
The essence of our proposals was as follows:
? To divide the functions of the profession into
? those that deal with the formal governance
matters such as finance, professional regulation,
qualifications, examinations, etc
Professional Administration;
? those that specifically support the members
in their daily working lives Professional
? While it is important to consider the impact
on members of decisions such as setting budgets
it was felt, nonetheless, that the first group
would continue to be best dealt with by a topdown
? On the other hand, without the burden of
setting technical standards the Professional
Community might thrive better under more of
a grass-roots or bottom-up approach. There are
already good examples of this in how the FIRM
Board and the Social Policy Board have operated.
There are also other successful groupings
of actuaries (eg the London Markets Group),
where actuaries have voluntarily come together
for their mutual benefit (which we identified as
Member Interest Groups).
? Our proposal therefore was that much
greater autonomy and empowerment should be
given to the relevant committees and groups in
the Professional Community area. They will
only need to refer decisions to the functional
executive committees or Management Board if
they affect more than one practice area or ‘bind’
members of the profession in some way.
? We hope that this will enable the profession
to develop a better engagement, over a period
of time, with its membership.
? Within the Professional Community those
practice areas on which the profession examines
(life, pensions, general, heath and care,
finance, investment, and risk) will be represented
by executive committees (replacing the
boards). Their principal function will be to provide
a focal point for the development and dissemination
of knowledge in their area of
actuarial practice. This should lead to increased
dynamic, modern, and relevant continuous
professional development activity for members.
? In addition, support will be given to Member
Interest Groups. These could have a range of
focuses, eg geographic, a narrow aspect of practice
or a wider interest topic. They may be sponsored
by the practice executive committees or
initiated independently by a group of members.
? Members will be invited to join any of the
practice areas or Member Interest Groups in
which they are interested.
? The job of co-ordinating the various committees
and groups within the Professional
Community area and ensuring that they
remain focused on supporting their area of the
membership will fall to a new Member Support
? The Professional Regulation Executive Committee
will be responsible for the regulation of
individual members and any other regulatory
activity the profession undertakes.
? The Qualifications Executive Committee will
develop and market world-class qualifications
and foster the profession’s links to the academic
Figure 1 shows a simple diagrammatic representation
of the new structures. In addition,
communication and co-ordination will take
place at all levels.
Going forward, each part of the structure will
be in place by March 2008, with clear terms of
reference within which it has authority to act.
Much less, therefore, will be referred to the
Management Board, whose main job will
become an outward-looking one ensuring
sufficient time is spent on issues that are important in terms of protecting the profession’s
reputation and in which we should be
involved from a public interest perspective. On
that basis, Joint Councils have agreed that the
size of the Management Board should be
reduced and that many of the volunteers who
previously served on the Faculty and the Institute
Management Committee (and, on occasion,
sat through long discussions on technical
matters related to another practice area) will be
free to spend their time working directly on
behalf of their fellow members.
The profession’s success will not be determined
solely by its structure. If we are to be successful
it will require us all to be outward
looking, enterprising, and energetic. However,
a structure that clearly supports our strategy,
allows volunteer members to make the most
rewarding contribution, and brings the committees
of the profession much closer to the
grass-roots should maximise the chance of
delivering the strategy.