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The Actuary The magazine of the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries

Obituary – Peter Clark

Peter Clark, past president of the Institute ofActuaries, died suddenly and unexpectedly on11 June 2006 at the age of only 59. His deathwill leave a large void in the UK and internationalactuarial profession.

Peter ClarkHe was educated at King’s College School, Wimbledon and read mathematics at University College, Oxford, graduating with a double first in 1968. He joined the Prudential in 1968 and qualified as a fellow of the Institute of Actuaries in April 1971. He occupied a number of positions at the Prudential and its subsidiaries, with a particular focus on overseas business, culminating as group deputy actuary.

In 1991, after 23 years at the Prudential, he joined Sun Life as director and chief actuary. Immediately before being elected president of the Institute in 2000 he was chief actuary of AXA Sun Life. After retiring from AXA Sun Life, he worked as an adviser to the Financial Services Authority (a ‘grey panther’) and had part-time positions teaching in the Department of Statistics at Oxford University and carrying out some research at the Institute of Ageing in Oxford. He also had non-executive director positions with Ecclesiastical Insurance Office, Nationwide Life, and Western Provident Association.

He served on the Council of the Institute of Actuaries for three terms. He was honorary secretary in 1989–1991 and vice-president in 1994–1996, before becoming president in 2000–2002. His latest senior role in the UK actuarial profession was as chairman of the International Committee.

Peter Clark was always a strong advocate of the global nature of the profession, and was an Institute delegate to the European Actuarial Consultative Group (the Groupe Consultatif) for 25 years, having been introduced to the Groupe in its formative stages by Brian Corby, his boss at the Prudential. He served as chairman of the Groupe from 2000 to 2001. He was actively involved in the International Actuarial Association (IAA) and had been on its executive committee for several years. At the time of his death he was president- elect of the IAA and was due to have taken up the post of president in 2007.

He had a great love for Africa, initially stimulated by a visit to Prudential’s offices in east Africa in 1983, and a keen desire to assist in the continent’s development. He supported the growth of the African actuarial associations and was made an honorary fellow of the Actuarial Society of South Africa in recognition of his work. He was actively involved as a trustee of the IAA Fund in seeking to develop the actuarial profession globally in actuarially developing countries.

During his term of office as president of the Institute, Peter Clark took as his three key themes communication, culture, and companionship, which he emphasised in his presidential address: ‘To communicate we need a broader culture – not simply one rooted in abstruse mathematical skills. We cannot communicate unless we have something worth saying and for that we need active companionship and this involves working together, sharing together, and challenging one another.’ He was a strong advocate of the need for speakers who have English as their mother tongue to take special care with their communication in order not to unwittingly exclude non-native English speakers. He demonstrated his engaging personal communication skills not only in his speeches as president and when carrying the actuarial message around the world but also locally as a lay preacher.

Consistent with his emphasis on the importance of companionship in the profession, Peter took an active part in the profession’s dining clubs and had chaired the two most senior London clubs, the Gallio Club in 1999– 2000 and the Actuaries’ Club in 2004–06.

Another facet of Peter Clark’s compassion and desire to highlight key global issues – and the contribution the actuarial profession could make to help solve them – lay in his concern for the victims of the AIDS crisis, especially in Africa. He was instrumental in the profession funding a research project at the University of Cape Town, and called on his fellow professionals not only to help fund various relief projects but to become volunteers themselves through the IAA section ‘Actuaries without Frontiers’. Peter and his wife Lynda were actively involved in the Dagoretti project in Nairobi, working with indigenous people giving hope and a future to street children. During his last visit to South Africa he was involved practically in helping to build houses in a community project in a Johannesburg township.

He was a committed Christian and a strong advocate for the Christian faith, having spent his formative years as a member of Wimbledon Baptist Church and in the Wimbledon Crusader Class. The leader of that class from 1956, Harold Smith Boyes, had a major influence on Peter’s life in more than one sense, as Peter was later (in 1969) to marry Harold’s daughter Lynda. Peter continued to play an active role as a leader in Crusaders, as a deacon of Worcester Park Baptist Church, as a lay preacher and later as church warden of the local parish church in Nympsfield, the village in Gloucestershire to which the family moved in 1996. The family’s latest move was to Ampfield in Hampshire in 2004, where they were also able to accommodate Peter’s father-in-law Harold until his death earlier this year.

Peter is survived by Lynda, his daughter Rachel, and two sons, Daniel and Ben. He inspired many by his deep faith and commitment, the high standards he set himself and others, and the energy and enthusiasm with which he sought to fulfil his dreams and ambitions. Many were touched by his selfless life and dedication and enriched by their contact and friendship with Peter, as evidenced by the vast crowd who attended the service of thanksgiving at Romsey Abbey on 22 June. He will be greatly missed by many around the world.

A memorial service is being arranged for Wednesday 15 November, venue and time to be advised.