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The Actuary The magazine of the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries

Worldwide water-cooler

I am sitting at my kitchen table in a little village in northern France, but I have spent most of my day dealing with office and professional emails and researching actuarial websites for my current main project. I might as well be in the office in Canary Wharf!Particularly within the past couple of years, the internet really has meant that we can work from anywhere that we can make a broadband or wireless connection. All day I have been exchanging emails with other actuaries without knowing where most of them are. All I do know is that most are working at client sites around the UK and Europe, but we all might as well be in the office.Sir Derek Morris may reasonably have criticised actuaries’ communication with clients, but most of us reckon that we are at least pretty good at communicating with one another! When I do appear in Canary Wharf, the air is thick with discussion of football (I was a Chelsea supporter before Roman Abramovic was born), of TV (especially when Big Brother is on), and occasionally of professional matters (is Sir Derek Morris good or bad news?).Research has shown that in the internet age the only reason many people (and I think that includes actuaries) feel the urge occasionally to visit a physical office is the opportunity to catch up on the social gossip and banter exchanged with colleagues (what our American cousins call ‘water-cooler conversations’). Ever alert to opportunities to better serve our readers, The Actuary has revamped its own website to add the opportunity for readers – wherever they may be – to exchange opinion and comment on issues of the day in a new discussion forum (see www.the-actuary.org.uk/forums /index.php). Better still, you can add your tuppence-worth on actuarial tuition and examinations, or on the pros and cons of career choices, or simply on the latest episode of Little Britain without giving away your real name (in case someone you know is watching).Many actuaries are already likely to be members of discussion groups, website forums, or simply chat rooms already, so why a new one mainly for actuaries? We think there is an appetite for exchange among actuaries on subjects large and small, some specifically actuarial and some just of interest to at least some actuaries. We hope that you will agree, but even if you don’t, why not say why at www.the-actuary.org.uk/forums/index.php?We hope that the new forum will particularly attract the many actuaries who work and/or study outside the UK, many of whom we know to be (relatively) avid readers of The Actuary. Do visit the website, join in discussion, and do please give us your ideas on how we can develop the forum as a truly ‘worldwide water-cooler’.Happy posting!