In her inaugural column, the new president of the IFoA, Fiona Morrison, sets out her goals and priorities for the year ahead
I have read this column avidly over the years, never thinking that I would find myself penning it as president of the IFoA. I am delighted that my fellow Council members have given me this great honour and privilege. To be president of the IFoA is, for me, the pinnacle of my actuarial career. So I would like to thank Council for putting their trust in me, and thank my fellow partners at Lane Clark & Peacock for supporting me in taking up this opportunity of a lifetime.
While I am filled with huge excitement about the year ahead, the enormity of what I am taking on is slowly starting to sink in, conscious that I am following in the footsteps of some great names in actuarial science. I have some big shoes to fill in taking over from Nick Salter, and I would like to thank him personally for championing diversity during his presidency.
In promoting this issue, he took a bold and important step, grasping the key points, showing how and why it is vitally important for our profession to embrace diversity if we are to remain relevant and sustainable in the long term. As the second female president, this is also close to my heart; but gender diversity is just one element. I will continue to encourage and foster all forms of diversity within our profession, building on the excellent work that our past-president kicked off.
It is important that there is continuity between the presidential themes, so that the seeds sown in previous years are encouraged to flourish and grow rather than wither on the vine. That is why I have decided to focus on 'promote' during my presidential year. I naturally gravitated to this, as it is a key element of our Royal Charter, which states: "The objects of the Institute and Faculty shall be, in the public interest, to advance all matters relevant to actuarial science and its application and to regulate and promote the actuarial profession."
As actuaries, we have skills, knowledge and insight relevant to businesses, governments and policymakers in both developed and emerging economies. Serving the public interest, as we do, gives us a great opportunity to do good things. Highlighting and promoting what we are good at supports the foundations laid by the most recent past presidents, David Hare and Nick Salter, who focused on 'relevance' and 'diversity' respectively. Promotion of who we are and what we can do as actuaries is critical, not just for our futures, but more fundamentally, for the long-term sustainability of the profession for the future generations of actuaries and the businesses and societies they will serve.
During my presidency, I will be looking to undertake a series of activities, and identify opportunities, that promote the actuarial skill set and the benefit it can bring to the business world, particularly in new and fast-growing industries that have not traditionally attracted large numbers of actuaries. I will also support members in acquiring new skills to aid their personal development and help them reach their true potential at whatever stage of their careers.
But it's not just our technical skill set that I want to promote. As someone who has volunteered for the profession for a number of years, I am passionate about regulation. What sets us apart is the rigour and quality regulation brings. This is something we should not only be proud of but should also promote. It is clear to me that the benefits of good regulation will open doors, rather than close them, by making our members sought-after because of our ethical standards and the professionalism that underpins everything we do.
In a highly competitive environment, we need to promote the benefits to business of our quality standards, ethical code, professionalism and regulatory oversight. It differentiates actuaries from others working in aligned spaces. It's better for business, customers and clients, and that makes it better for actuaries.
I am really looking forward to this year as your president and to meeting as many of you as possible. It's going to be such a rewarding experience to do all I can to promote the actuarial skill set and build on the excellent work of my predecessors. This is something I'll continue to do even after my year as president and I hope you will do so too. If we all work together, we can ensure that actuaries and actuarial skills remain valuable and desirable for solving the challenges that business, government and society face today, and in the future.
See our interview with Fiona Morrison here.