The Joint Forum on Actuarial Regulation provides the IFoA with a platform to engage with key societal challenges and influence possible solutions, says Matt Saker
One of the IFoA’s key responsibilities is to uphold standards. We do this because of our Royal Charter commitment to regulate the profession in the public interest, but also because you, our members, have told us that protecting the hard-earned reputation of our profession is one of the most important things we do. In keeping with this, the IFoA is proud to be a member of the Joint Forum on Actuarial Regulation (JFAR), an innovative collaboration with other UK regulators.
A valuable collaboration
JFAR comprises the IFoA, the Prudential Regulation Authority, the Financial Conduct Authority, The Pensions Regulator and the Financial Reporting Council, and enables these bodies to co-ordinate, within the context of their own responsibilities and objectives, the identification and analysis of public interest risks to which actuarial work is relevant. The value of this unique collaboration is threefold:
- It provides a detailed horizon scan of key challenges for the actuarial profession in the context of the wider economic and political environment
- It allows us to work hand-in-glove with other regulators to develop a clear line of sight to address and shape, rather than simply react to, these issues
- In keeping with our new purpose (www.actuaries.org.uk/about-us) the collaboration ensures the IFoA can be the ‘voice of the profession’ in articulating the public interest in these important debates.
JFAR has recently published its latest Risk Perspective (bit.ly/JFAR_RiskPersp21), reflecting the combined views of its members on the most important risks to the public interest regarding the work of actuaries. It is a stimulating read. The headline risks may not be a surprise – some of the eight issues identified include climate risk, the challenges of an ageing population, unfair consumer outcomes, technological change, and effective communication in an ever more complicated world – but the issues are complex, with multi-layered inter-dependencies.
The IFoA has initiated a series of professional skills webinars to explore some of these issues in depth, engaging industry-leading experts and thought leaders to address your questions and share insight. The first webinar, which focused on climate-related risk, was chaired by Louise Pryor. Viewed by more than 550 participants on the day, it is now available to view on the IFoA’s website. Next, on 14 September, I will have the privilege of chairing an expert panel on the impact of technological change (bit.ly/IFoA_TechChange).
Further webinars are planned for the coming months, and will cover topics including unfair consumer outcomes and the impact of undue commercial pressure. To find out more, and to sign up, please go to actuaries.org.uk/learn-develop/attend-event
Justifying our position
Despite the rich heritage of the actuarial profession, I don’t believe we have a divine right to a seat at the table; instead, we constantly need to justify our place through the expertise and insights that we provide. The JFAR collaboration provides the IFoA with the opportunity to engage with our ambitious strategic objectives – both in areas of traditional actuarial policy strength, and in new areas and domains such as climate change and big data. Through this engagement we can identify solutions to societal challenges such as social care and intergenerational fairness. Most noticeably, JFAR helped the profession to play an agile role during COVID-19, using the skillsets of the profession to articulate and influence solutions to one of the past century’s key public policy challenges.
JFAR has also provided a platform for the IFoA to respond to these critical issues, supporting the profession’s purpose with extensive member-led policy work and research. Examples of this include the innovative work that led to the Great Risk Transfer campaign, influencing the development of the recent Pensions Act and other legislation, and creating impact in parliamentary reports, including a UK Select Committee report on biodiversity that quoted the IFoA 13 times.
Crucially, this work dovetails with the innovative Thought Leadership Programme launched at the beginning of 2021, building on the inspirational work done by immediate past president Tan Suee Chieh and a host of others. This programme is building the profession’s credibility and capacity to challenge orthodoxy, address the big public interest issues of the day, and articulate itself robustly and to increasing effect beyond our traditional comfort zones.
Image Credit | iStock
If we are to maintain this momentum, and ensure our voice continues to be heard on many of these key debates, it is essential that members engage, with pride and determination, to help us on this journey. I care about the profession and am proud to be an actuary, and I believe many of you feel the same. So this is a rallying call to get involved, whether that’s by debating, providing expertise or giving back to the profession by volunteering in a capacity that fits your own professional journey (bit.ly/IFoA_Volunteering). Please get involved to help us improve the actuarial profession’s impact, influence and reputation.