Would you have read this article, if the title had been the importance of corporate governance? Potentially not. It is probably fair to say that most people have little interest in corporate governance. Dull, tick-box, a necessary evil, bureaucratic, burdensome, a topic to be left to lawyers and accountants.
What if we thought of corporate governance as good management? Let's think of the standards by which good management is often measured - decency, accountability, responsibility, effectiveness, transparency, communication, ethics, integrity and honesty. As a member of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries, would you care if the IFoA was not being managed in accordance with these standards? In all likelihood, yes. Unethical practices, dishonesty and a lack of accountability or effectiveness would, at the very least, affect the IFoA's ability to meet its aims and objectives. At worst, it could result in significant reputational and financial loss.
Whether you refer to it as corporate governance or good management makes little difference. Both are about the establishment and implementation of a framework that adds value to the IFoA, supports our volunteers and helps build our reputation. They also ensure long-term sustainability and success.
Both descriptions are ultimately a means to an end - for the IFoA, in the public interest, to advance all matters relevant to actuarial science and its application, and to regulate and promote the profession. The effectiveness of the IFoA's corporate governance is vital for this.
So, following careful reflection, the IFoA council approved a new, mandatory governance manual, which will come into effect fully from 1 July. You can access the governance manual on the IFoA's website. To complement the governance manual operationally, the IFoA has also recently approved a new financial regulations and procedures manual, and overhauled its risk, project management and procurement frameworks.
Together, these shape how the IFoA can ensure that it is doing the right thing in a way that upholds its core values of community, integrity and progress. It is important that we know who does what and why, and how that 'what' fits into the bigger picture. Recognising the value of our community, our governance processes have been designed to be open and participatory, so that decisions are reached through consensus and consultation. It is also important that we value knowledge and expertise to allow particular responsibility and authority to be entrusted to those with recognised capability and experience. Most importantly, our processes are designed to facilitate effective decision-making but with the right checks and balances in place.
We would urge you to take the time to read the governance manual and address any questions to [email protected]