Owen Kelly-Smiths letter, Cost of Regulation (The Actuary, December 2015, bit.ly/1nbgkh9), calls for a review of the merits, or otherwise, of continuing to be a regulated profession.
Owen Kelly-Smith's letter, Cost of Regulation (The Actuary, December 2015, bit.ly/1nbgkh9), calls for a review of the merits, or otherwise, of continuing to be a regulated profession. "As the downsides of remaining regulated rise," he argues, "the choice of whether to remain so will come more sharply into focus."
The pressures on professional people may never have been greater, but equally important, we would argue, is trustworthy advice from regulated professionals. Without regulation, and the ethical values which it embodies, we risk sacrificing the public esteem in which this profession is still, rightly, held.
The challenge, of course, for the IFoA, as with other professional bodies and regulators, is to ensure the balance and proportionality, as well as effectiveness, of its regulatory regime. Hence, for example, our commitment to outcome-focused regulation, an approach which emphasises individual professional judgment over 'tick-box' compliance. The Quality Assurance Scheme (QAS) recently launched is a pertinent example of the potential power of 'regulation by assent': a voluntary scheme that has already attracted substantial participation from actuarial employers committed to the importance of quality and professionalism.
Where necessary, we must be robust in defending our professional standards. In the disciplinary cases to which Mr Kelly-Smith refers, the tribunal found the two actuaries concerned "had breached the technical actuarial standards and the [Actuaries'] Code in a number of regards" and it was "concerned by the pattern of conduct and, in particular, the poor professional judgment revealed by these matters". It found one of the actuaries involved guilty of professional misconduct, imposed a fine and awarded the IFoA its full costs in bringing the case to the tribunal on behalf of the profession.
It is important, we would argue, that we maintain quality and professionalism and that we act decisively where we identify conduct that has fallen significantly short of those standards. Only thus will we serve not only the public interest but also the brand and reputation of our profession.
Comments on the IFoA's regulatory work are always welcome, to [email protected]
Desmond Hudson, chair (lay), IFoA Regulation Board
Keith Oliver, chair (lay), IFoA Disciplinary Board
6 January 2016