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The Actuary The magazine of the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries

Scottish Board — the past, present and future

On 19 September, in my Leader’s address, I reviewed the Scottish Board’s first year, its direction and action plan. I welcome feedback on this direct or via the 
Scottish Community webpage.

We work in the context of the Profession’s Values and Objectives. Harvie Brown was concerned in 2004 whether the trust actuaries enjoyed individually could extend to more general acceptance of the Profession by the public, regulators and the government. We have since come far and 
I believe the standing of our Profession has improved over the last five years, not least 
in Scotland.

Arguments often arise around our professional requirements — that they make us too expensive or otherwise unacceptable to clients. The contrary argument is that we are chosen by our clients and employers just because of our high standards. They are our unique selling point.

Analysis of the causes of the recent riots in England include the view that they were partly due to the bad example set by 
people in high places — MPs’ expenses, phone hacking and, arguably, the actions of those running banks in precipitating the current economic crisis. We can never 
prove this conclusively, but telling the difference between right and wrong is fundamental. Professions sticking to their codes will not prevent riots, but they have a contribution in maintaining the morality of our civilisation.

Public affairs
The Scottish Board works with our Profession’s strong public affairs team and appointed an Edinburgh-based public affairs agency to assist our efforts in Scotland. Letters have been written to MSPs to re-introduce them to the Profession and explain how we can help them in their work. We have identified a number of areas on which to engage with them, such as health care, longevity and public sector pension schemes. Current Scottish topics include proposed separate income and corporation tax rates for Scotland. We also aim to broaden our contacts with other 
professions, academia, and employers of actuaries in Scotland.

Actuarial activity in Scotland
A programme of sessional events is planned by those responsible for professional activity. Our Changing Future (OCF) additionally runs early morning, breakfast-type events and FASS and GASS, the Edinburgh and Glasgow students’ societies, also hold events. Input from this important younger part of the Scottish actuarial community is vital.

We are a founder member of the excellent Scottish Financial Risk Academy (SFRA) which runs colloquia and other events. As part of our Profession’s merger, an endowment fund of £500,000 was set up. The Scottish Board has, with SFRA, considered an attractive proposal for using some of this endowment. The intention is to fund research — particularly in risk management — for the benefit of actuarial science both in Scotland and more widely. The proposal is being worked up and it is hoped the endowment fund contribution will be ‘seed money’ and further funds will be sought to make the proposed Actuarial Research Centre a real asset to the Profession, and a fitting legacy for the Faculty of Actuaries in Scotland. We are seeking suggestions for the use of the rest of the endowment fund, and will be making a call for ideas during the year. Let us know your views. We also need actuaries working in business, either individually or in groups of two or three, to assist by suggesting topics and/or mentoring PhD students, in conjunction with academics.

Risk management
I concluded my address by referring to our profession’s involvement in risk management and, in particular, the worldwide launch of the CERA 
qualification. We have been managing financial risks for decades, but the new techniques are capable of adoption 
more widely.

I would urge you to play your part in this exciting new development in our profession. The strong Scottish contribution to this area is indicative of the promising start the Scottish Board 
has made to support and promote the Profession in Scotland. Please tell us how you see it.