In this final edition of the year, Kelvin Chamunorwa provides food for thought on the future of the actuary
A recent highlight at The Actuary has been hosting webinars on emerging themes in the actuarial world. This is exciting as it introduces a different mode of interaction with the magazine's readers. Our webinar in September was about big data and analytics and the three speakers revealed practical insights into their work in this area (bit.ly/1BQ4nQf).
The panellists dispelled the analogy coined by Dan Ariely, a professor at Duke University, that big data is like teenage romance - "everyone talks about it, nobody really knows how to do it, everyone thinks everyone else is doing it, so everyone claims they are doing it".
Enterprise risk management is another area where the actuarial profession is expanding the reach of its skill set. However, some in the profession feel that our focus should be just on pension schemes and insurance companies - actuaries' widely renowned forte - and preserve the levels of our remuneration. I view actuaries' strengths to be analytical rigour, the ability to communicate uncertainty with a commercial outlook, and high professionalism. This applies to valuing the liabilities of a defined benefit pension scheme as much as it does to assessing emerging risks within the enterprise risk management framework of an online retailer.
Michael Tripp shares his opinions on the future of the actuary in this month's soapbox and considers key questions about exams and regulation, topics which have been debated this year in The Actuary.
I am optimistic about the success of the profession's diversity agenda. Some actuaries have been successful in developing novel business models to help the public manage its risks. A case in point is our interviewee this month, Steven Mendel. He is chief executive and co-founder of Bought By Many, an intermediary which connects individuals with similar insurance needs to negotiate better terms as a group.
There is power in numbers, and when coupled with diversity of background, skills and experience the possibilities for success are boundless.