Bill Smith highlights the work of the Worshipful Company of Actuaries and summarises some of its key initiatives
The Worshipful Company of Actuaries (WCA) is one of over 100 livery companies of the City of London.
It was established in 1979 and currently has over 240 members. Any actuary is welcome to apply for membership.
The principal activities of the WCA are raising money for its charitable trust and, in having strong ties with the Corporation of London, contributing to the City of London. This is all underpinned by its support for the actuarial profession and for mathematics education in general.
The latest WCA initiative recently announced is a three-year sponsorship of the Mathematics Masterclass Programme run by the Royal Institution in the UK.
This programme consists of hands-on and interactive extracurricular sessions led by top experts from academia and industry, aimed at keen and talented young people all around the UK. The WCA's sponsorship will double the number of students in London who have access to this programme. It is just one initiative among many others.
Over the past five years, the WCA has sponsored a major study by The Royal Society on the benefits of mathematics education for non-mathematical students. The results of the study will be published shortly and are expected to help increase the priority of mathematics in the school curriculum.
The WCA also supports the mathematics education project at Reed's School in Surrey, and has been involved in finding volunteer actuaries to help on the Business, Enterprise and Employability Programme in schools, which is led by the Tower Hamlets Education Business Partnership. We are delighted to have Trevor Watkins, director of education at the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (IFoA), on the WCA's education committee.
Developing actuaries in Ghana
In 2013, the WCA provided financial support for the IFoA's fact-finding trip in supporting the education of actuaries in Ghana. Subsequently, a number of actuaries have visited the country to deliver lectures to actuarial students in university there.
This is an annual award, now in its third year, for an actuary who has made an outstanding contribution to charity. This year's winner was Andrew O'Brien (left), who in May completed 12 marathons over 12 months, raising over £10,000 for the ISIS Foundation, a charity dedicated to improving health and education in Nepal and Uganda.
The City of London
Each year, a lunch is arranged for the incoming Lord Mayor and the president of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries. Over time, this has assisted the IFoA in its overseas activities, especially in the Far East.
Actuaries are allowed to have fun, and we have a number of meetings throughout the year to which we invite all members of the profession. The ten-pin bowling tournament in March and the Master's Golf Day in June are two good examples. Receptions and dinners in the City take place in many of the finest livery halls. This includes our annual dinner with the Lord Mayor at Mansion House.
The WCA's charitable trust sponsors bursaries and prizes in actuarial exams - 24 bursaries and seven prizes were awarded last year. The charitable trust raises close to £200,000 each year and benefits from the efforts of many actuaries in its fundraising activities.
In September 2010, in conjunction with The Actuary, we set a target for the actuarial profession to raise £1m over five years and this was achieved earlier this year, ahead of plan. Since this initiative was launched, there has been a substantial increase in the number of the charity and fundraising efforts by actuaries, highlighting the significant work being done across the profession.
For details on the Company, or if you are considering applying for membership, please visit our website www.actuariescompany.co.uk