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The Actuary The magazine of the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries

Argonauts: actuaries journeying through uncharted waters

Of our secretaries we ask little beyond a few miracles and the ability to read the minds of members who fail to return slips, notify changes of address, etc.
Argonauts Officers’ Handbook

It has been my privilege to serve as secretary to the Argonauts Dining Club for the past two years. The club is for actuaries working outside of traditional fields and is entering its 56th year, which is a true testimony both to the quality of the evenings and of the length of time that actuaries have been venturing forth. The drive to bring in new members over recent years has paid off, providing vibrant club and engaging dinners.

The Argonauts has a rich heritage going back to the time of Frank Redington and George Ross-Goobey. The first dinner was charged at £1 per head and showed a surplus of £1.10s. There has been an extremely impressive list of speakers and officers. The club has had its own grace written by a former Queen’s Chaplin and, alongside the actuarial illuminati, it has heard from MPs and company chairman to artists and poets.

The club meets three times a year, starting with drinks at 6:30pm, dinner at 7pm and then two speakers starting at approximately 9pm — one actuarial and one non-actuarial for approximately 
20 minutes each. While prices have changed, three core principles have not:

• Informal and convivial atmosphere — as the opening excerpt shows, this radiates from the handbook and remains true today. 
This is a relaxed and engaging dinner representing all ages of actuaries 
(from two to 45 years’ post-qualification) with a real buzz before, during and after the dinners.

• High-quality dinners — shortly after its 10th anniversary, the club journeyed to the Livery Halls where it has stayed, with an annual excursion to the Ivy.

• Engaging and interesting speakers — in the past two years, we have had talks on Lloyd’s, esure/Direct Line, Solvency II and PPF, balanced with speeches on 
rhino-costumed ultra-marathons and social media.

Finally, I feel the club has also served a strong institutional role connecting actuaries, often the only ones in their firms, with each other as well as sharing the developments of the Institute. Particularly pertinent at the moment are 
the current CPD costs and bureaucracy that is forcing experienced wider-field actuaries out of the Profession. For our dinner in February 2012, we will focus on this and alert members to current requirements, identify the issues as well as allow for feedback from a group typically not well represented on council boards or meetings.

If you work outside of a traditional life office or pensions consultancy and are interested in the Argonauts, please contact the new secretary at 
heath.mottram@royalmail.com or request to join the Linkedin group.

By Nick Spencer