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The Actuary The magazine of the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries

Actuary, not responsible

‘Not a job to be taken lightly’ was the first thought that struck me on being appointed to the role of editor of The Actuary magazine. After all, this is one of the only printed forms of communication to reach all members of the profession, wherever you are in the world. Editing this publication therefore carries some responsibility for the written material fellows, associates, and students receive in order to supplement and improve the toolkit of skills and knowledge we need to do the job. In light of the scrutiny the profession has faced by the Morris review, choosing this material is no mean task.On the other hand it is your responsibility to ensure that the material we receive and can choose from is interesting and informative. The magazine is published by SIAS and is therefore independent from the Faculty and Institute. This allows healthy professional debate to develop in a neutral environment, and for authors to publish features autonomously. As members of the profession, you have the opportunity to make the most of this platform by contributing to the letters page and by contributing features for publication. In this way, between us all we can put together a magazine that you want to read and take joint responsibility for the end product.Anyway, this editorial is not about my passing the buck in my first issue. What I am really interested in is what you think of the magazine. Past editorials and mutterings in the pub suggest that some of you feel it could be improved (yes, you know who you are). I believe that the magazine, as it stands, does a good job. However, given the importance of the publication I am keen to hear your views and, where possible, implement improvements. And, as I am a ‘doer’ as well as a ‘thinker’, I’ve bitten the bullet and put a couple of simple easy wins in place from the start, both focused on giving the average actuary in the street the opportunity to appear in print without first dying, being disciplined by the profession, moving job, or doing something embarrassing at a SIAS event. Easy win #1 is a ‘Hatches and matches’ column. Evidence from the past seems to suggest that some actuaries find other actuaries more attractive than non-actuaries. Many actually get married and have actuarial children. One theory is that this is something to do with social protection for others. Please write in with your theories and if we get enough we could do a full feature on it.As the past is a good guide to the future, it is my expectation that we will have many more actuarial hatches and matches and these should be celebrated. We have the obituaries, so why not feature the happy stuff as well? Our first list appears on p18 and I encourage you to look out for anyone you recognise and give them a call to congratulate them. If you are about to get married, enter into a civil partnership, or have a baby or two, please let us know. Non-actuarial couples are also very welcome.In March we shall introduce two more new columns, both taking the form of a quick interview. The ‘Trailblazer’ column will feature an actuary who has already made a contribution to the business community and the ‘Actuary of the future’ will feature one of our rising stars. We are interested to know whom you would like featured, so please send in your nominations. If none is received I shall be forced to resort to sticking pins in the list of members and be calling you sometime over the next two years.Finally, I should like to say thank you to the outgoing editor, Timothy Bramham, and student page editor, Tristan Walker-Buckton, for all their hard work in the past two years. Welcome to Jean Eu and Jennifer May who are taking over from Tristan and providing advice and predictions on life as an actuarial student.I am looking forward to a great two years and hope that the December 2008 edition is a better and more exciting magazine than this one.