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The Actuary The magazine of the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries

Building on strong foundations

My first column as your new president comes at an exciting time as we unveil a new strategy for the Institute and Faculty. It has been developed following a great deal of work behind the scenes by Council members and an extensive consultation exercise.

As my new year begins, I need to say a few words about my immediate predecessor, Ronnie Bowie, who will certainly be a hard act to follow. His contributions to the strategic review, the promotion of the CERA qualification and the raising of our game in the public affairs arena are just a few examples of where he has made a real mark. His energy, commitment and enthusiasm to create a profession of which we can all be proud has never wavered, and we owe him a tremendous vote of thanks for all that he has done. In his role as past president he will be continue to work tirelessly to promote the Profession in the field of risk and to continue his work in public affairs.

We also owe our thanks to Nigel Masters, our outgoing immediate past president. Ronnie and Nigel’s commitment to the Actuarial Profession, their dedication to the merger project and to building a new, modern profession that is better attuned to the needs of our growing and diverse membership has been nothing short of remarkable. Nigel will continue to represent the Profession overseas.

The challenge for this year is to build on the strong foundations that have been laid. Of course, the new strategy that we are setting out for the Institute and Faculty is central to this. We have had a tremendous response to our consultation exercise and I would like to thank everyone who participated, either through the focus groups we held in Bristol, Edinburgh, Hong Kong, London and Manchester, or by being one of the 1,211 people who took the time to take part in our survey. This level of participation is important for two reasons. First, it gives me confidence that by incorporating such a broad base of feedback, we can be confident that our strategy is on the right track. Second, it demonstrates an encouraging level of genuine interest and commitment to supporting the way forward for the Institute and Faculty among our membership — something I want us to harness more effectively in the future.

The new strategy reflects Council’s belief that it is now the right time for the Institute and Faculty to adopt a broad, external-facing and confident role. Everyone can read the full strategy document on the Institute and Faculty’s website at www.actuaries.org.uk, but the major new elements are:
>> A new qualification structure that is integrated with regulatory oversight to create an holistic approach for members and their employers that will be effective on a global basis
>> A step change in our member support to meet the evolving needs of a membership body that is increasingly diverse by geography and area of work
>> An international strategy of ‘proactive engagement’ where we provide a more comprehensive overseas offering to members while continuing to play a prominent role in international organisations
>> A greater presence in public affairs, speaking out on issues where the Institute and Faculty can contribute, raising public awareness of the work of actuaries and the value we add to society while working with government and others who shape policy

>> A reinvigoration of learned society and thought leadership activities which are the life blood of our long-term sustainability.

As we say in the document, these elements are designed to shift our strategy from positioning the Institute and Faculty as a UK body, in which non-UK members participate on UK terms, to one where our outlook is global with activities that are fit for purpose for our members wherever they live and work. We believe that this will maximise the success of the Institute and Faculty, will benefit all our members and the actuarial profession globally.

There is still much to be done but the new vision for the Institute and Faculty that we have settled on is:

“We will serve the public interest by ensuring that where there is uncertainty of future financial outcomes, actuaries are trusted and sought after for their valued analysis and authority.”

I like this because it’s outward looking, it gives a sense of what success would look like and it also sets out a long-term ambition of where we want to get to that is both very challenging but also, with a lot of collective effort, achievable.

Now that the strategy is in place, we need to get on with implementing it. There are still a number of questions we need to answer in some areas — and we will be consulting the membership again on various aspects — but we now have a robust sense of direction that will inform all our activities.

I am confident that, through the efforts of Council, volunteers and the executive staff, we can make real strides towards making our new ambitious vision a reality. If we harness all our talents and work effectively together we have a real opportunity to make a difference. This is a theme I will be returning to in my column over the coming months.