The IFoA's annual Spring Thought Leadership lecture was delivered by one of the leading thinkers on sustainable business, Dr Andrew Sentance CBE, senior economic adviser to PwC. For the first time, the lecture was also streamed live to almost 200 participants, from 14 countries across Africa, Asia, Europe and North America, who were able to take part in the Q&A session via Twitter.
Taking as his theme the topic of sustainability in the 21st century, Sentance stated that the UK and a number of leading Western economies could be on the cusp of a new growth wave. He believes one of the drivers for growth will be investment in new sources of energy and environmentally friendly technologies. In addition, Sentance identified four other major economic forces that may support growth.
? The continued expansion of the world economy as the economies of Asia and Africa continue to develop to Western standards.
? Demographic changes surrounding the ageing population, and the opportunities for growth as society lives longer.
? Changes in consumer behaviour, the internet and new business models could spark a services sector revolution.
? The prospect of changes in the energy sector and the way businesses and consumers respond to major environmental challenges, especially climate change.
"The challenge for the new UK government is to build on Britain's historic strengths as a major trading economy, and to consolidate the improvements we have made in our economy over the past thirty years," said Sentance. "Three key pillars of growth should be: investment in an efficient transport system; making sure we have a well educated and skilled workforce; and ensuring we have good access to markets around the world. That should include being a full and committed participant in the EU market on our doorstep and supporting further global trade liberalisation, particularly focused on unlocking potential for increased trade in services."
Nick Salter, immediate past president of the IFoA, who chaired the event and Q&A, commented: "It is heartening to hear that new environmentally friendly energy technologies may be one of the drivers contributing to economic growth, as recent IFoA research shows that factors such as climate change and resource constraints need to be addressed if we are to move to a more sustainable financial system. Indeed, the IFoA created a new Resource and Environment Board in 2014 to look at these very issues, to better understand the long-term nature of environmental risks and to encourage the profession to be forward looking in reflecting these risks in its work."
The IFoA delivers two thought leadership lectures: the Spring Lecture in London and the Autumn Lecture in Edinburgh. The lectures are open to members of the public and are delivered by eminent individuals on a topic of relevance to actuarial science and a wider stakeholder audience of academics, business professionals, government departments, third-sector organisations and members of the public.
l Dr Andrew Sentance CBE is senior economic adviser to PwC and a former external member of the Monetary Policy Committee of the Bank of England. He is also a part time professor at Warwick Business School, visiting professor at Royal Holloway, University of London, and vice-president of the Society of Business Economists.
View the Spring Thought Leadership Lecture online here