Initiative in Ghana / Minute-long masterpiece / Lucky strike / Marathon man / Go end to end with Deloitte / Could you boost your local area/ Obituary
Actuarial initiative in Ghana
As part of a programme to boost development of actuaries in Ghana, the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (IFoA) and the Worshipful Company of Actuaries are supporting Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) in launching a master's degree course in actuarial science. The aim is to provide a qualification comparable to at least the UK core technical (CT) exams.
A number of employers have signed up to release actuaries for up to two weeks to assist in the teaching programme. Six actuaries from Barnett Waddingham, Aon Hewitt, Canopius, Pacific Life Re and Punter Southall Transaction Services will be travelling to Ghana to run lectures.
Barnett Waddingham volunteers Tracey McManus and Mark Norquay (pictured left) were the first to fly out on 14 February and taught classes in Accra and Kumasi covering financial mathematics (CT1) and business economics (CT7).
The intensive weekend classes, which attracted between 25 and 35 students, started at 7am and finished at 4pm on Saturdays and Sundays.
Speaking about the experience, Mark said: "Many of our students worked during the week and travelled from far afield to attend. There are not many qualified actuaries in Ghana, so they were particularly keen to hear more about our experiences as actuaries in the UK."
Tracey and Mark also met the vice-chancellor of the university, the dean of the distance learning centre and the head of mathematics, who are all keen to develop the programme. In particular, they will continue to support lecturer Derrick Owusu, who is co-ordinating the initiative, to develop the course and structure exams.
The volunteers recorded tutorials for students to view in their own time and will set exam papers and mark them using the UK CT standards as a benchmark.
The next volunteers will be teaching financial reporting (CT2), statistical methods (CT6) and contingencies (CT5). Another six volunteers will travel to KNUST in the second half of 2013.
Michael Hall, an actuarial analyst at Broadstone Corporate Benefits, reached the top five UK entries for the Done in 60 Seconds category of the Jameson Empire Awards 2013, a short film competition run by Empire magazine and Jameson Irish Whiskey.
Michael created a spoof version of the memorable 1987 sci-fi action film RoboCop that lasted just a minute. He directed filming over two weekends in early January at friends' houses and local businesses, and took two weeks to edit the video down to its current length and complete the visual effects. Michael's version of the film has all the action of the original crammed into just a minute of running time, with jokes, car chases, shoot-outs and killer robots.
In the past three years, Michael has created minute-long spoofs of The Ladykillers, The Towering Inferno and Where Eagles Dare for the competition. His three previous entries all made the UK top 20, but didn't attract enough votes from the public to make it through to the final five - until this year.
This year's winner was Blade Runner.
The Worshipful Company of Actuaries (WCA) held its fifth annual ten-pin bowling event at the All Star Lanes in Holborn, London, on 12 March with eight teams competing for the trophy, including, for the first time, Charles Taylor & Co.
The average score of the 24 players was 101, with half of them achieving over 100. Top individual scorers were Mike Lawson (194), Oliver McCulloch (186) and Mark Paxton (158), all from Barnett Waddingham's 'Snakes Alive'. Mike and Oliver beat the previous record of 169.
But 'Snakes on a Lane' from Amersham was the winning team, with Mike, Jo Loder and Oliver producing a new record total of 449 to lift the WCA ten-pin trophy for the first time. Barnett Waddingham's London team came second with 330 and last time's winners, SwissRe's 'Size 16 Balls - Bigger and Rounder' were third with 310.
Go End to End with Deloitte
The annual Deloitte Ride Across Britain event sees over 700 cyclists take on the legendary 'End to End' route from John O'Groats to Land's End. The cyclists set off on 8 June 2013 and cover over 960 miles in nine days. This year the contingent will include Deloitte actuaries Rachel Malpass-Brown and Ken Starr, who are raising money for the British Paralympic Association. This money will help disability sport in the UK build on the fantastic momentum created by last summer's Olympic and Paralympic Games and inspire the next generation to take part. To find out more or make a donation, please visit
Could you boost your local area?
By Bryan Judson
In 2009, the Malvern Small Business Forum (MSBF) was established to provide a meeting place for people starting their own businesses who would welcome the opportunity to share ideas with like-minded people. If you are a retired actuary, would you consider starting a Forum to provide a small boost to your own local economy?
If so, your local council's economic development department may be able to offer a venue and publicity for your first few meetings.
For information about the Malvern Forum, please explore our website www.msbf.biz, particularly the download section.
No stopping marathon man
You may remember that Andrew O'Brien had set out to run 12 marathons in 12 months to raise money for The ISIS Foundation after visiting Kiwoko Hospital in rural Uganda, home to many of the projects that the charity supports. Sadly, after months of relentless training he succumbed to injury and was unable to begin his once-in-a-lifetime challenge as planned.
After weeks of physiotherapy, he has overcome his injuries. The challenge will now kick off in June with the Midnight Sun Marathon in the Arctic Circle and continue with a further 11 marathons over the following 12 months.
The ISIS Foundation works side by side with communities and children in remote areas in Nepal and Uganda to improve their lives through health, education and other development projects. They help communities to help themselves, working towards enabling them to become self-sufficient.
Andrew would like to say a special thanks to his friends and colleagues at Star Actuarial for their kind words and generous donation.
For more details of Andrew's gruelling challenge and to show your support, visit www.12in12forISIS.com. You can also enter his running vest competition there by liking his Facebook page.
Died 2 March 2013, aged 67
David Wilson (FIA, 1967), who has died after a short struggle with cancer, was an actuary who lent lustre to our profession in Canada, Ireland and the US, while always basing himself in England.
David trained at the Prudential, entering the profession straight from school. Qualifying rapidly, he was soon assigned to the Prudential in Canada and reached a senior position. When he returned to the London head office, he rose first in the conventional actuarial departments and later in marketing, with an intermediate assignment as chief of staff to the group chief executive, Sir Brian Corby. The Pru's greatest debt to him may have been his promotion of the model office, which had been earlier nurtured by Ernest Cooper and would be later perfected by Simon Margutti as an essential tool for all meaningful management decisions - a groundbreaking departure at that time.
What David regarded as his second career started when he took early retirement from the Pru. He was engaged by NatWest as CEO of its Irish reinsurance subsidiary, and achieved a very effective turnaround of a business that had had an uncertain start; he also learnt that in his Irish colleagues he had met worthy competition in oral debate. He followed this with chairmanship of Old Mutual Re, also in Ireland but focused on the US, where his role continued until his untimely death. David showed mastery in chairing an Irish reinsurer in the context of British ownership and an American primary client; helped by an earlier period of secondment with the DTI, then the UK's primary insurance regulator, which gave him a good feel for offshore reinsurance.
Well connected within the profession and the financial services industry, David was a pleasure and inspiration to all those who met him. The team compiling this magazine was fortunate to benefit for some years from his professional overview of submitted articles.
David realised his good fortune throughout his career to have the support of his wife, Virginia, and their two daughters, Henrietta and Sarah.
Written by Guy Barker