The Students Actuarial Society (SAS) at Heriot-Watt University welcomed several distinguished guests to its annual actuarial conference on 9 February.
The Students' Actuarial Society (SAS) at Heriot-Watt University welcomed several distinguished guests to its annual actuarial conference on 9 February. The conference is organised by the society to provide a platform for students to gain insight and knowledge into particular topics current to the world of actuaries. It is becoming one of the key events in the calendar, attracting students and professionals at all stages of their careers to find out more about the profession.
This year's event was a great success and extremely well attended by over 200 participants, including working actuaries from Edinburgh, lecturers and students from our university.
This year's conference, under the theme 'discovering potential in a changing world', addressed current issues that pose both challenges and opportunities to the actuarial industry with featured topics on Solvency II, the insurance of terrorism risk, risk management in climate change and the rising profile of pensions.
After I introduced the speakers, Emma Black, the vice-president, then opened with a speech on the role of SAS and reflected on the excellent work each member of the society did throughout the year.
The first speaker, Craig Turnbull, from Standard Life, presented on insurance investment strategy. He highlighted a few of the interesting episodes in the history of actuarial thought that have arisen over the past two hundred years or so, and elaborated on illiquidity, asset credit risk and the impact of Brexit on Solvency II.
This was followed by Dr Gordon Woo, from RMS, who introduced quantitative terrorism insurance risk modelling and analysed the largest historic terrorist attack event - 9/11. He also elaborated on security structure, such as cybersecurity and its links to terrorism risk.
In our third talk, we were joined by Sandy Trust, from Grant Thornton, who opened his talk in climate change with a video, Breathing Earth, which highlighted the principal climate change issues, then explored principles around why risk management fails, with examples in slavery, mass immigration and consumer choice.
The final talk, 'The rising profile of pensions', was presented by Melanie Stephenson and Louise Lau from Barnett Waddingham. Melanie and Louise opened their talk with the biggest concern within the pensions industry - "are people saving enough for retirement?". They then elaborated on current issues within the pensions industry: auto-enrolment, longevity improvements, state pension reform and the impact of Brexit and Trump on equity returns and gilt yields.
After the event, Alan Rankine, a senior manager at Deloitte and a member of the Scottish Board of the IFoA, thanked all those in attendance and spoke about the aims of the Board. Once again, the Board kindly sponsored prizes for the best questions asked.
The Society would like to reiterate its thanks to all those who helped to organise, spoke at, or attended the conference, in making it such a great success.