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The Actuary The magazine of the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries

Obituary - Dick Squires

Dick Squires, who died on 14 January, will be remembered by many actuaries not just for the considerable contribution that he made to the profession, but also for his sense of humour and enthusiasm for life.

Dick was brought up in Peckham in South London during World War II and would occasionally reminisce about the joys of roaming the streets following a previous night’s air raid, returning home with an impressive haul of shrapnel. As a child, he contracted polio and thereafter walked with a slight limp but he did not allow this to stand in the way of his becoming captain of athletics at Alleyns School.

From his earliest schooldays, Dick was passionately interested in all numerical matters and it was no surprise when, on leaving school, he chose to start work as an actuarial student at the then North British and Mercantile. From there he moved to the UK branch of Imperial Life of Canada, where he met Val, to whom he was married for nearly 50 years. In 1962, the year in which he qualified, Dick and Val moved to Toronto with Imperial Life.

On returning to the UK in 1965, Dick moved for a short while to Canada Life and then to Clifford Hymans and co, where one of his duties was to light the office coal fire if he should by chance be the first member of the junior actuarial staff to arrive in the morning. No doubt tiring of this manual labour, in 1967 Dick moved to Save & Prosper and remained there for the next 25 years. After leaving Save & Prosper, he joined Watson Wyatt’s insurance practice before finally retiring in 1999.

Unit-linked assurance was quite a new phenomenon in the UK during the ‘60s and ‘70s, with very little of any practical use in contemporary actuarial literature, so it fell to Dick and his peers in other linked offices to identify the key issues and develop appropriate methodology. Dick then went on to write a textbook on linked assurance as well as several Institute papers as either sole or joint author. In this, he was undoubtedly motivated by the desire to share his expertise with other actuaries and by an awareness that several important issues were widely misunderstood.

Dick played a full part in the affairs of the Worshipful Company of Actuaries, serving as a trustee of its Charitable Trust for many years and as the Trust’s chairman for five of those years.

Dick was a gifted raconteur with a fund of anecdotes and jokes, the latter almost always corny and rarely in the best of taste. This made him an ideal neighbour during the ennuis of lengthy actuarial meetings and dinners. Whether he was discussing the trip that he and Val made to Lapland with their grandchildren one Christmas, or the latest actuarial developments and gossip, his enthusiasm for the topic under discussion always shone through.

Dick had an active mind and was always able to offer an original view but was equally ready to listen to others and take account of their views. There are many within the Profession with reason to be grateful for his advice and encouragement.

To his wife Val, children Fiona and Paul, and four grandchildren, we offer our deepest sympathies.