Kelvin Chamunorwa considers the perception of actuaries and the importance of demonstrating the value of our unique skill set to society
In a sitcom I came across recently, "I want to be an actuary" was a 12-year-old boy's response to his uncle's question of what he dreams of becoming when he grows up. The boy's response was met with a blank stare.
I have encountered a similar expression after saying that I'm an actuary, except once, when I received an unusually enthusiastic reception. I felt flattered - until I was then asked which type of movies I act in.
Among the better informed, I have found that actuaries' analytical strengths are well-recognised, and this is to be celebrated. Sadly, technical prowess and the ability to interact with others are often perceived to be mutually exclusive. Increasingly, however, our work is in areas that are not traditionally actuarial and involves collaboration with other professionals. This provides a good platform for our actions to contradict any false perceptions.
It is important to hear others' views of us and Nick Hewer of The Apprentice fame shares his thoughts on actuaries during his fascinating interview. Hewer believes actuaries have the credibility for far greater input and influence in financial issues that affect society (pg 18).
It is equally important for us as a profession to be self-reflective. Simon Carne, an actuary who works in the fi eld of regulatory policy, considers the current regulatory approach of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries as well as the Financial Reporting Council and asks whether it goes too far.
Carne uses as examples the proposals for peer review and a Technical Actuarial Standard to apply to all actuarial work. I would be interested in your take on Carne's argument (pg 28).
We can be misconstrued by some and misunderstood by others, but in our daily interactions we have the chance to demonstrate who we are and what we can do. Each of us has a part to play to enhance the profile of the actuarial profession.
Kelvin Chamunorwa Editor