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The Actuary The magazine of the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries

Wise heads, helping hands

After a successful pilot early last year, the IFoA’s Buddy System launched in November 2018. Dawn McIntosh describes how the scheme, which is based on members volunteering to provide support free of charge, has progressed so far



The Buddy System originated from our members themselves. It provides them with access to experienced, qualified IFoA members who are willing to share their thoughts, experience and skills. 

We’ve been delighted with the success of the scheme so far. Here’s what two of our members had to say about it:

“I have found the Buddy System to be useful for junior members who would like guidance but might not be based in a role or even a country where they have many people that they can ask. Speaking to my buddy has been very fulfilling, especially as, since the beginning of our conversations, she has managed to secure a role in both the country and field she was hoping to move into – which is fantastic news!” – Natalie Jackson

“The Buddy System is an excellent way to have an impartial, informed chat with an experienced actuary about any issues you may face as you make your way through your career. I look forward to helping many actuaries and future actuaries as they move through this great profession of ours.” – Tim Jordan

How does it work?

If you’re interested in finding a buddy, you’ll need to be a member of the IFoA to access a list of qualified members who are happy to hear from you. This list contains the following information for each buddy:

  • Name
  • Geographic location
  • Email address
  • Practice area (general insurance, life, pensions, investment, etc).

To become a buddy, you will need to be a qualified member of the IFoA, and:

  • You will provide an avenue for another member to contact you and to arrange to meet or talk on a one-to-one basis (discussions may include long-term development goals, short-term career issues, sharing insights from experience)
  • By volunteering to get involved, you will be happy for your details to be shared with all IFoA members via the members area of the website, and you will respond to any requests that you receive.
  • You will allow the IFoA to ask for feedback from time to time, to see how the scheme is working in practice and to allow us to support you. The IFoA will adapt this request to suit you as much as we can, and it will be as non-onerous as possible.

Location is not a barrier; in fact, we are keen to hear from qualified members wherever you are in the world. The Buddy System will complement existing IFoA initiatives, such as the Professional Support Service, the Female Actuary Mentoring Scheme, the Diversity Advisory Group Back To Work Mentoring Scheme, and Careers Advice. We hope more members will participate and find it useful. If you are interested in becoming an IFoA buddy, contact: [email protected]

The IFoA does not monitor the Buddy System. Any views expressed or advice, recommendations or guidance given by members via this service are not reviewed or endorsed by the IFoA.

Dawn McIntosh is communities manager at the IFoA