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The Actuary The magazine of the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries

Actuarial Society of South Africa (ASSA) convention

The 2002 ASSA Convention saw 460 delegates (a new ASSA record) gather at the Grandwest Casino. International guests included Faculty president Tom Ross and his wife Margaret, Dr David Wilkie, and Elliot Varnell.

At the AGM, a revised disciplinary procedure was approved. ASSA Council remains largely unchanged, mainly owing to the presidential term of office having been increased to two years. Council members for 2002–2003 are: Joubert Ferreira (president), Janina Slawski (president-elect), Judy Faure (honorary secretary), Marius du Toit (honorary treasurer), Jeremy Andrew, Gustav Jenkins, Shaun Matisonn, Geoffrey Nzau, Gary Palser, André Pienaar, Colin Southey, and Giles Waugh. Nimol Rajkumar was re-elected as student observer member.

The convention papers will in due course be available in full from www.assa.co.za.

Murray Medal

The Murray Medal is the most prestigious award that ASSA can bestow on any of its members. It is the highest form of recognition of excellence by the profession. Council’s decision to award the medal to Professor Anthony Asher met with unanimous approval. The award is made periodically for outstanding service to the profession. Professor Asher’s numerous achievements and contributions include serving on the ASSA Council and various committees, the presentation of a wide variety of excellent papers over more than a decade, interacting with the government on behalf of the profession on various occasions, and his guidance to and influence on younger members of the profession. Some years ago, in a survey conducted by The Actuary, Professor Asher was nominated as an actuary who has had a decisive influence on younger members.

Best first-time paper

The RGA Prize for the best first-time paper at the 2002 Convention was awarded to Kamran Foroughi, Ian Jones, and Tony Dardis for ‘Investment guarantees in the South African life insurance industry’. Desmond Smith, ASSA past-president and MD of RGA (South Africa), presented the prize under the watchful eye of ASSA president Joubert Ferreira.

Best risk paper

‘Modern Valuation Techniques’ by Elliot Varnell, Stuart Jarvis, and Frances Southall, presented to Staple Inn earlier this year, won the Swiss Re Prize for the best paper on risk management at the ASSA Convention. Elliot Varnell, who presented the paper at the Convention, received the award from Gustav Jenkins of Swiss Re Life and Health (South Africa). He subsequently donated the cash award to the African Childrens’ Fund.

Best refereed paper

The RGA Prize for the best paper published in a refereed journal was awarded to Tony Dardis for ‘Risk-position reporting in the South African life insurance industry’ (South African Actuarial Journal, Vol 2). Desmond Smith presented the prize on behalf of the sponsors.

Best paper

The RGA Prize for best paper at the 2002 Convention was awarded to Leigh Johnson and Rob Dorrington for ‘The demographic and epidemiological impact of HIV/Aids treatment and prevention programmes: an evaluation based on the ASSA 2000 model’.

Celebrating 50 years as an actuary

‘To make research and mathematics really worthwhile’, a mathematics professor at the University of Cape Town told a student in the late 1940s, ‘one has to be among the top 20 in the world. Why don’t you take something easier, like actuarial science?’

The academic world’s loss became the actuarial world’s gain when Peter Bieber accepted his professor’s advice and qualified as a fellow of the Faculty in 1952.

Peter Bieber is at present director at Franklin Templeton NIB Investments and Asset Management.

His service to ASSA includes two terms on Council, with two consecutive years as president, as well as committee work. He currently serves on the ASSA Tribunal.In 1989, Peter Bieber received a Murray Medal for his role in developing the Johannesburg Stock Exchange-Actuaries Indices.

On a personal level, he has always found time to assist, encourage, and advise younger members of the profession. In the words of ASSA president Joubert Ferreira, he is one of the grand old men of ASSA.

On 31 October 2002, at the ASSA Convention dinner, Joubert Ferreira presented Peter Bieber with the Celebrating Fifty Years As An Actuary Award to celebrate Peter’s (first!) 50 years of service as an actuary.

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