From pensions to fizz/ All joking aside/ Nice Tri Calvin / Joint charity campaign reminder/ Students take the taste test/ Announcements: Obituaries & Births
From pensions to fizz: actuaries living the dream
Owning and running a vineyard in a beautiful part of the world is the stuff of dreams, the kind of thing that the likes of Cliff Richard or Madonna might do. However, for Ian Edwards and Rebecca Hansford, formerly actuaries and partners of Bacon & Woodrow, this is now their life.
Ian and Rebecca spent over 40 years working in pensions consulting at Bacon & Woodrow. The merger with Hewitt Associates in 2002 gave them the chance to change their lives dramatically.
As you might expect from a couple of actuaries, the move was not made on a whim. Considerable research and many Excel spreadsheets later, the decision was made to plant a vineyard at Furleigh Estate in West Dorset.
This took place in 2004. At that time, Furleigh consisted of 80 acres of beautiful green and rolling Dorset land and a few dilapidated buildings, but there was not a grapevine in sight.
During the next two years, 22,000 carefully chosen vines were planted with laser-guided precision and the winery followed in 2007.
Their research had convinced Ian and Rebecca that the best wine to produce was the up-and-coming English sparkling wine. They chose the classic Champagne grape varieties of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier for Furleigh Estate. Total production is around 70,000 bottles of sparkling wine.
But the proof is in the tasting. Is the wine going to be any good? Can actuaries really make great wine makers?
Well, strange as it may seem, actuary and winemaker are not so far apart. The all-important flavour components of wine make up just 3 parts per million. Attention to detail is paramount in making good wine and so the training of the actuary comes in useful. It's either that or all the bottles of wine an actuarial student tries while studying!
Whichever it is, the Furleigh Estate is now producing some of the best sparkling wine in the country. The Classic Cuvée and later releases of Blanc de Blanc and Blanc de Noirs from the Furleigh Estate have won numerous gold medals and trophies, in both national and international competitions.
This year has been the best yet for the estate with the Classic Cuvée judged the 'most outstanding UK sparkling wine' and Ian being made UK winemaker of the year. Not bad for an actuary.
For more details, please visit www.furleighestate.co.uk
All joking aside
On top of his day job as head of actuarial at Scottish Friendly, Donald MacLeod has written and published a charity joke book.
"I have pulled together 300 or so original jokes into a book that I'm selling to raise money for charity," said Donald. "To get an idea of how bad they really are, here are a few to keep you going."
Q How did the painter keep himself warm?
A He put on another coat.
Q Best place in South Africa to get a Batman outfit?
A Cape Town.
Q Which Muppet keeps himself to himself?
A Hermit the Frog.
Q I spent a whole year trying to get into classical music.
A It took the four seasons.
Q What does Aladdin have with a cup of tea?
A Jafar Cakes.
The book costs £10 and proceeds are split between four hospices and respite centres in the Western Isles of Scotland.
To buy a copy, please email Donald at [email protected]
Nice Tri Calvin
On 12 August Calvin Wickham completed a half Ironman triathlon at Grafham Water, Cambridgeshire in aid of the British Heart Foundation in a time of 7 hours 50 minutes. It was a routine health assessment five years ago that first kicked Calvin into starting a fitness programme.
Weather conditions on 12 August were ideal for sunbathing but poor for a triathlon featuring a 1.2 mile open water swim, 56 mile cycle ride and a half marathon (13.1 miles). This was Calvin's first triathlon at this distance but months of hard training paid off. Calvin has raised over £500 (which will be matched by his employer) for the British Heart Foundation and further donations can still be made to Calvin's justgiving site.
To donate, please visit www.justgiving.com/Calvin-Wickham-2012
Joint charity campaign reminder: tell us about your fundraising
The Actuary, in conjunction with the Worshipful Company of Actuaries, has been running a campaign to reach a charity fundraising target of £1m through the activities of actuaries. More than £350,000 has been raised since the launch of the campaign. Please continue to let us know if you are taking part in any charity events so that we can keep track of your fundraising activities.
Students take the taste test: SIAS welcomes new joiners
The annual welcome drinks proved as popular as ever, with over 100 new joiners from as far afield as Greece attending the event at Staple Inn on 10 October.
The evening began with some short talks about SIAS and the route to becoming an actuary. Special thanks go to Trevor Watkins, director of education at the Profession, who came along and shared his views.
Changing gear slightly, we then moved onto a wine and cheese pairing challenge, giving our new joiners chance to mingle.
Overall, it was a very successful evening, and we look forward to seeing more new joiners at our future events.
David Barford Died 2 April 2012, aged 63.
David Barford died on 2 April 2012, aged 63, after a year-long struggle with oesophageal cancer.
He was a well-known and highly respected business leader in the pensions and benefits sector and a dearly loved husband, father, grandfather and friend.
David was born and brought up in London's East End. He attended Raine's Foundation Grammar School, and went on to study mathematics at Imperial College, where he graduated in 1970 with a first-class honours degree. He then joined R Watson & Sons as an actuarial student, qualifying within two years. He was well on course to become one of the sector's high flyers.
In 1972, David joined Marsh & McLennan Benefits International, later to become Mercer. He stayed with the company for the rest of his full-time working career. When he retired in 2004, he was CEO and chairman of the UK arm of Mercer, responsible for over 4,000 employees and a turnover of over £250m. He helped to transform what was primarily an actuarial firm into a much broader HR and benefits business.
David was a visionary CEO, who understood that leadership required more than technical excellence. He was a great people person, able to communicate easily with people at all levels, and enjoyed travelling round the country meeting staff and clients.
David also adored his family and loved spending time with them after his retirement. He recognised the importance of work-life balance and tried hard to embed the concept in the Mercer culture. After his family, rugby was David's great love.
He was a lifelong player and supporter, playing for Saracens seconds, Imperial College and Cranleigh rugby clubs in the 1980s. He also had an interest in many other sports and was a keen Arsenal supporter. He was always passionate and committed whether as a player, spectator or coach, such was his tremendous zest for life.
Right up to his death in April, he was still deputy chairman of the BT Pension Scheme, chairman of the P&O Pension Scheme Trustees and a non-executive director of Hermes Pensions Managers Ltd. He was also an adjunct professor of the Imperial College Business School and a trustee of the Worshipful Company of Actuaries Charitable Trust.
He will be warmly remembered by friends and colleagues and greatly missed by his family - second wife Ginny Olds, his three children, three granddaughters and his sister.
Congratulations to Robin Ackroyd (Legal & General) and Lisa Holmes, who were married on 4 August at St John's Church in Sutton, Surrey.
Shelley Crosby died recently, aged 48. She became a Fellow of the Institute in 1994.
Clare Dancer died recently, aged 37. She became a Fellow of the Institute in 2006.
Maeve McCumiskey died recently, aged 45. She became a Fellow of the Institute in 1991.
Alexander Shedden died recently, aged 85. He became a Fellow of the Faculty in 1952.
Stanley Smaller died recently, aged 81. He became a Fellow of the Institute in 1962.