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The Actuary The magazine of the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries

President’s comment: Last post

If it is true that time flies when you are enjoying yourself then I have been having a ball. This year as president has flown by. In my first article I set the Council of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries the challenge of engaging, delivering and inspiring. I promised to return to these themes in this, my end-of-term report. The real test of whether we are on the right track is what you think. What follows therefore is only my personal opinion.

I am, by nature, quite impatient. There have been times in the last year when I have been frustrated that things aren’t moving sufficiently quickly. However, we have sought to build for the longer term. This has often meant that considerable time needs to be spent on laying strong foundations. Overall, I am content that we have struck the right balance between quick wins — for example, much more media exposure — and longer-term projects — such as building our reputation in risk management.

We have also been going through a major restructuring of the Executive, which is now much leaner and better equipped to deliver the Profession’s strategy. I am grateful to all members of the Executive, past and present, for their consistent professionalism during a very difficult and unsettling time. I am particularly grateful to Derek Cribb who is leading the Executive most ably.

Everywhere I have met with members I have enjoyed great goodwill, a huge untapped potential and a real wish to contribute to building the Profession’s reputation, standing and influence. I have been contacted by several senior actuaries who, after a period of feeling their profession was no longer relevant to them, have offered their help and guidance to benefit the whole profession. This is very heartening. Our annual report this year will celebrate our volunteers. We are also recruiting staff to make sure that our volunteers — in all parts of the UK and beyond — are used wisely, productively and in a way that benefits them also.

While surveys and regional forum groups have helped to build an understanding of your needs, the face-to-face contact that Jane Curtis, Nigel Masters and I have enjoyed has been much the most productive medium. I apologise to all of you who prefer the new social media — it just proved beyond me!

The two key deliveries have been the strategy and the restructure of the Executive. Both are nearing completion. We really want your views on the strategy and you can find the strategy document and questionnaire at www.actuaries.org.uk/ap-members-only/pages/give-us-your-views-strategy-profession-and-services-you-need-us

In particular, we want your views on what the qualification should look like in 5-10 years’ time — an evolution of what we have now or a smaller ‘core’ qualification with higher level additional qualifications on top?

There have been many other notable deliverables: major multi-discipline research projects, rapid growth in the CERA qualification, real interest in CT1 (the new ‘entry exam’ giving more accessibility to our profession), our longevity bulletin, more tailored newsletters and a major step up in our support for members outside the UK, and so on.

I really do hope you are noticing a difference and there is much more to come.

This takes time but I do hope that the higher media profile, our consultation responses (on which we are receiving excellent government feedback), a generally more outward and inclusive tone and the increasing opportunities for our skill set, professionalism and ethical approach, are helping to make you proud to call yourselves actuaries.

I am certainly proud to have been able to serve as your president at this very exciting time. Every day has brought something new and rarely has a day gone by without something happening that has made me feel that we are on the right track. As a profession we have a rare opportunity to help make the financial world a safer place.

To my colleagues Jane Curtis and Nigel Masters, to Council, management board, the Executive and all the volunteers — thank you for your unstinting support. To my day-job colleagues — thank you for your patience. And to all of you who have been kind enough to take the trouble to chat with me or to contact me with feedback, I can assure you that your comments have all informed my thinking.

Jane Curtis’s presidency marks another significant milestone for our profession. As she takes over, my final wish is that you give Jane the same generous support as you have shown me.