Actuaries in London or Edinburgh have a wide range of dining clubs catering for all tastes, but similar clubs also exist elsewhere. Bristol Actuaries Dining Society (BADS) dates from the late 1970s when several life offices moved to the city, and it is still going strong almost 40 years later.
The society meets five or six times a year in restaurants - ranging from fine dining to country pubs - voted for by the members. Most of the 60 members are based around Bristol, but some come from further afield (including Manchester and Seattle!) and visitors working in Bristol on temporary contracts are always welcome. There is a mix of working and retired actuaries - including two of the original founders - representing a range of employers, areas of work and fields of interest.
February's dinner, fortuitously coinciding with 'Pie & Pint' evening aboard Bristol's popular Grain Barge, saw a lively debate including the Friends Life/Aviva takeover, the presentation of stochastic models to non-actuaries, a comparison of European railways, and fair terms for exchanging free pints of beer for orphaned pies with a neighbouring table.
Dining clubs like BADS serve both a social and a professional purpose. It is good for local actuaries to get to know each other and to share ideas and experiences. We can learn a lot from both the older and younger generations of actuaries, and from those in different fields. Dining clubs might not be as popular as they once were, but they are still relevant, providing useful contacts within the actuarial community and the chance to bounce ideas around, not to mention being a great excuse for a night out enjoying good food and drink with a group of interesting people. www.bristolactuaries.org/BADS.aspx