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The Actuary The magazine of the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries

President's comment: International recognition

This month I want to applaud the sterling and often unacknowledged work done by many volunteer members in the international arena. I want to let you know the work that has been happening with the Profession around the globe. This year we have been actively engaging with our international partners to develop initiatives, create joined-up research and address any divergences of opinion.

My recent visit to the International Actuarial Association (IAA) meeting at Zagreb in Croatia was just one of an illuminating series of meetings that I and other members of the presidential team and members of the International Committee have attended in the last few months.

Such meetings have taken Ronnie Bowie to visit Chicago to represent the Institute and Faculty at the Society of Actuaries’ (SOA) annual meeting and President-elect Philip Scott to participate in the East Asian Actuarial Conference, which took place in Kuala Lumpur in October.

The IAA is the worldwide association of professional actuarial associations and exists to encourage the development of a global profession, acknowledged as technically competent and professionally reliable, 
which will ensure that the public interest is served.

The IAA currently has 63 full and 
26 associate member associations and is helping to develop the actuarial profession in 30 more countries. Together, the IAA represents over 60,000 qualified actuaries distributed in about 100 countries: a powerful force indeed. The Groupe Consultatif plays a similar role in bringing together actuarial associations in the European Union.

As a profession we need to be relevant internationally. The world is developing quickly and we need to be at the very heart of what is happening and influencing global regulation and standards. We need to maintain and build on our working relationships with actuarial associations in other countries — including those in America, Australia, South Africa, Asia and Ireland to name just a few.

Many members of our Profession work or have links in countries outside the United Kingdom. Part of the role of the Profession is to support these members in their work wherever it is located, to enable them to move easily between countries with a portable qualification and to be acknowledged for their technical knowledge and business skills.

Take, for example, Solvency II — 
this European initiative affects not only companies located wholly in the EU but also those with parent companies based outside the EU and EU-based companies with subsidiaries which operate elsewhere in the world. The Solvency II framework requires an assessment of whether other countries have supervisory regimes of equivalent standards.

At the recent GIRO conference I attended I talked of how the profession values its close relationship with the Casualty Actuarial Society and how members of GIRO are involved with them, for example, on reciprocal working parties in research, joint webinars, interest groups and mutually recognised qualifications. These are great ways of collaborating across the global actuarial community — sharing information and supporting our partners.

The Profession regularly holds bi- and tri-lateral meetings with other actuarial associations. Recent ones included a 
tri-lateral meeting with the Actuarial Society of South Africa and the Institute of Actuaries in Australia, and bi-lateral meetings with the Casualty Actuarial Society and the Society of Actuaries.

Topics under discussion included the extent to which we mutually recognise the qualifications of actuaries from other global actuarial associations, the opportunities to work together, a comparison of our disciplinary schemes, how best to tie in research together, and to what extent internationally recognised standards for professional work should be introduced.

We are currently actively engaged with the Groupe Consultatif and the IAA on proposals for additional global regulation that might have an impact on our work in the UK and overseas. From our point of view, the key here will be to get the balance right to ensure that regulation is not overwhelming nor imposed unwillingly on any country and, where such regulation is appropriate, the Profession is seen as influencing the debate in how international standards are drafted.

In the area of education, over half of the Profession’s 10,000 students are based overseas, which makes our qualification a global aspiration. Members of the Profession’s executive team recently visited Asia to promote the benefits of the Institute and Faculty qualification. They also aimed to identify and work with the best local universities through accreditation of their courses, offering exemptions from some of the UK professional examinations, developing distance learning and providing lecturers to deliver courses.

By being proactive and supportive of universities brings us benefits of closer ties. Online communities already exist that allow members in Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Beijing to share information and provide networking opportunities.

In an increasingly global economy it is clear that the Institute and Faculty cannot and must not operate on its own. For that, our eyes must be raised beyond the horizons of UK shores.