Readers may not be aware that the reduced subscription policy being operated by IFoA management, particularly its most recent version, is focused almost solely on helping indigent actuaries and appears to ignore any concerns about value for money.
As it now operates, entitlement to the reduced rate requires a Fellow to have total annual income less than £20,700, a little less than 80% of the average UK wage. Total income is earnings from all employment, investment income and pensions of any kind, including social security. For a start, this would seem likely to exclude most actuaries in or approaching retirement, regardless of any employment income they may have, other than the fiscally imprudent and those who have arranged their affairs to avoid tax.
True, those not earning anything at all from activities remotely actuarial in nature, and not expecting to do so ever again, will be eligible. And attainment of age 80 gets free life membership. But returning to value for money, something for which most of us have high regard in our professional lives, consider the following factors:
? the actuarial 'brand' confers high incomes on those in full-time work, but, for those getting significantly less from part-time employment, is it equitable that they pay a full subscription?
? overseas members miss out on domestic continuing professional development (CPD) opportunities, and face greater costs to meet their professional obligations in any meaningful fashion - should they not get some discount?
? older members who have paid the full subscription for many years have financed the development and standing of the 'brand' - should there be a point at which they can be said to have done enough?
Our Australian colleagues recognise these points by providing discounts of:
? 40% for overseas members;
? 50% for members aged 60-69 (100% from age 70); and
? 70% for members whose annual employment income is less than 95% of the average wage.
I am frankly baffled. Aussies are a generous lot, but not that generous without cause. It may be that actuarial principles have a greater sway in their policy development than in the UK, and/or that they are concerned not to be perceived to be taking advantage of a monopoly position. I'd be interested to know what others think.
Geoff Rashbrooke 21 July 2014
The editor welcomes readers' letters but reserves the right to edit them for publication. Please email [email protected]. The deadline for receiving letters for the September issue is 18 August 2014.