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The Actuary The magazine of the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries

December people and society news 

An update for December on what our society has been up to...

© iStock
© iStock

Dates for your diary

17 Dec 2019, 5.30pm

Come all ye faithful

The WCA Carol service this year will take place on 17 December, in St Bartholomew the Great Church in West Smithfield EC1A 7QJ. Carollers will be joining a number of other livery companies, and Christmas dinner will be available afterwards at the Butchers’ Hall (please pre-book for the dinner). The Butchers’ Hall has just re-opened after a refurbishment and is a short walk from the church. This is a great opportunity to meet in this historic church and celebrate Christmas. 

The service will start at 6pm, but we are all asked to be in our (reserved) seats by 5.40pm. After that, seats are offered to the public. The Christmas dinner is £75 per head; attendance at the service only is free.

10 Dec 2019, 6.30pm

A brush with bubbly

SIAS has arranged a night of painting and Prosecco at the Arty Club, 129 Shirland Rd, London, W9 2EP. You will have the opportunity to paint a piece of pottery of your choice, from a bowl to something Christmas-themed or even animal shaped! You will be sure to have fun and get the chance to meet new people. Your mission will be to finish painting in three hours and enjoy yourself. At the end of the night you will be able to take what you have painted home or collect it a week later after it has been fired and glazed. It could be ideal as a personal Christmas gift.

Bubbles will be in the form of limited Prosecco and fizzy juice on the night.  Refreshments will be provided. Tickets for members are £20 and non-members £22.


Sipping wine in Slovenia

By Keith Jones

In September, Worshipful Company of Actuaries Master Fiona Morrison organised an escorted wine tour of Slovenia for 40 actuaries and their partners, based in the capital city Ljubljana. We were expertly guided by Tim Syrad, who organises wine tours around the world – often with Fiona and friends in the group. 

Once part of Yugoslavia, Slovenia was the first country to secure independence. Ljubljana today is a vibrant cosmopolitan city, packed with bars and restaurants along the river running through it and overlooked by the historic castle atop the hill. Slovenia borders many countries, and during our trip we crossed into Austria and brushed against Italy; the background in the group photo is Croatia.

I’m sure that many of us recall ‘delicious’ Slovenian wine from our student days, but those days of communal production are long gone, replaced by today’s small independent model – 28,000 wineries producing 80m litres per year. Sadly, we ‘only’ managed to visit six during our stay. The wine proved so good that some of us have imported our favourites. The country’s so-called ‘orange’ wine – not made from oranges, but left on the lees and made using natural methods – proved more divisive, with opinions mixed.

In fact, the trip proved to be both a wine tour and a gastronomic delight. Some of the tastings provided lunch with additional wine options, while our dinners included a multitude of delicious dishes, accompanied by further wine exploration.

Many guests arrived the day before or stayed the day after the tour to explore Ljubljana more fully, as with markets and more restaurants to be sampled, three days was just not long enough.

Overall it was an interesting, informative, often hilarious and always enjoyable trip to somewhere that is unlikely to be top of the holiday list for many, but is definitely deserving of a visit.

Fancy a swanky SIAS water bottle and a £20 donation to your chosen charity?

All you have to do is:

1. Take a selfie before or after your parkrun*;

2. Post it on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook or LinkedIn with #IrunwithSIAS

3. Send an email with your Twitter or Instagram name, link to your parkrun results, postal address and your chosen charity to [email protected]

Note: You have to be a SIAS member.

For your first parkrun with SIAS, a SIAS water bottle will be sent out. For your second and third parkruns with SIAS, a £10 donation will be made each time to your chosen charity. You can fundraise a maximum of £20 with parkrun for your chosen charity.

*You can also run a marathon, half marathon or any other race; all you have to do is post about it with #IrunwithSIAS and send us an email with your details. 


Christmas competition... feeling CONFIDENT?

You may remember from our article last December that actuaries Ceri Price and Natalie Podd have launched an actuarially-inspired party game, CONFIDENT? Since then, 2019 has been a busy year for them. After giving the game a new look, it is now stocked in John Lewis stores nationwide, and they’ve also released two new expansion packs online. To minimise their environmental impact, they’ve partnered with non-profit Trees for the Future to plant a tree for every game or expansion pack bought, and the games are now made from recycled materials or wood from sustainable forests. 

The response Ceri and Natalie have received from the actuarial community has been incredible, and as a thank you, they’ve decided to launch an exclusive competition for The Actuary readers. 

All you have to do is answer the question below with a range and email it to: [email protected] by midnight on 22 December. The person with the smallest correct range will win  CONFIDENT? and the two expansion packs!

In US $, how much will the new Star Wars film, The Rise of Skywalker, gross globally on its opening weekend?


For more information on the game, visit confidentgame.com

Unlock ‘smart thinking’

The WCA’s annual Livery Lecture took place at Staple Inn Hall on Tuesday 24 September, delivered by Sarah Winckless MBE on the subject: ‘What does an inclusive City look like….. and what stops us getting there?’

Sarah Winckless was chef-de-mission of Team England at the Commonwealth Games in 2018 and is an Olympic medallist and a diversity and inclusion specialist. Her lecture looked at how we select diverse teams to build an inclusive environment, so that they can achieve high performance while fostering learning and innovation. She challenged the premise that diversity alone will drive innovation: we need to let go of being the ‘smartest person in the room’ and focus on unlocking the smartest thinking in ourselves and our teams. 

The lecture drew interesting questions from the audience, which included nearly 40 livery company Masters. After the lecture, we were served a two-course supper and fine wine. 


Mr Alan Bradley, based in the UK, gained fellowship in 1973, sadly passed away aged 76.

Mr John Robert Smart, based in Australia, gained fellowship in 1957, sadly passed away aged 95.

Ms Rebecca Cardew Martin, based in the UK, gained fellowship in 2003, sadly passed away aged 43. bit.ly/37NbS0f

John Maitland Macharg
John Maitland Macharg


A former president of the Faculty of Actuaries, John Maitland (‘Joe’) Macharg passed away after a short illness on 10 October, at the age of 91. Born in Glasgow in 1928, he graduated with a Masters in mathematics from Glasgow University; after national service in the Education Corps he joined Scottish Amicable as an actuarial student in 1951, qualifying in 1954. He moved to Scottish Provident in 1955, progressing quickly to become pensions secretary, actuary and finally general manager (CEO) in 1970, a position he held until his retirement in 1988.

At Scottish Provident, Joe was a modernising chief executive, leading its diversification into innovative savings and pensions products and overseeing the move into a new purpose-built head office. His ‘City’ appearance (including bowler hat) belied a modern management style and business outlook.

Joe was a member of Faculty Council from 1964 to 1967 and again from 1977 to 1992, serving as president from 1985 to 1987. He was also an active member of Groupe Consultatif and the International Actuarial Association. 

A man of strong principles, he used his presidential address to advocate high ethical standards for the profession. In particular, he highlighted the serious risk to the profession’s reputation caused by actuaries condoning the provision of unrealistic benefit projections for new business purposes, based on historic returns obtained during a period of high inflation.

He cared passionately about the actuarial profession and was generous in the support he gave to younger members. He was a loyal member of the Scottish Actuaries Club, attending his last dinner in his 90th year. He was equally at ease conversing with retired actuaries as with the recently-qualified.

Joe was a keen skier and met his wife Madeline – who sadly predeceased him in 2006 – while skiing in Champéry, Switzerland. They subsequently had many family holidays there, driving the 900-plus miles from Edinburgh. In retirement, he enjoyed travel, including visiting his grandchildren in Yorkshire and New Zealand. He also continued to enjoy Munro bagging, trout fishing and golf at Murrayfield and Luffness. He is sadly missed by family, friends and former colleagues.