Derek Cribb would like actuaries to use their unique skills to fully participate in the EU referendum and IFoA Council elections
Experience? Knowledge? Fear? Belief?
How do you make choices? Or, perhaps more important, how should you make choices?
In the Financial Times of 8 January, Martin Wolf commented on the forthcoming EU referendum, stating: "It is inevitable that the referendum will ultimately be decided by fear, hope and, not least, trust." As chief executive of a public-interest body, I found this horrific. In June, we are faced with a once-in-a-generation opportunity to influence the destiny not just of the UK but also of a fragile European Union, and, by extension, global trade and economics. It is perhaps no surprise that leaders throughout the world have weighed in on the debate.
Our response to Martin Wolf was a letter, published on 15 January, positioning the IFoA as having a responsibility to use its unique skills and position to help inform the electorate: a call to arms not just for the IFoA but for all professional bodies to step up to the plate. Now is the time to stimulate debate and fuel the discussions, and I am personally passionate about ensuring we do our part to ensure that each person understands what they are voting for.
Informing the debate
Actuaries can add a unique perspective and trusted analysis, based on experience and evidence. As such, the IFoA has been working to inform the debate to make sure that the electorate is able to act on the complex issues thrown up as part of the EU referendum. We have held sell-out debates in Edinburgh and London, alongside regional events throughout the UK.
In the run up to the 23 June election, not only can you exercise your right to vote on the future direction of the UK, you have the same opportunity regarding your profession, as we will be announcing the results of the IFoA Council elections at our Annual General Meeting on that date.
The world is changing, and both skills and demands are evolving. We can choose to become more informed on the slowdown or decline in demand for certain actuarial skills, and work on exposing the opportunities the next stages offer the actuarial skillset, or we can allow our profession to fade away as markets change and develop, and shrug our shoulders - "major changes in demand won't be in my time, I don't need to worry". Without the right people on Council, we may not adapt the actuarial skillset or influence markets sufficiently to sustain and develop the profession. We will run the risk of stagnation, whereby the profession that we are proud of would be unlikely to survive.
Within the IFoA, our Council is responsible for setting the overarching strategy of the profession. With the time to vote in the IFoA Council elections getting ever closer, I urge you to arm yourselves with the facts and vote not by name recognition, looks or employer, but for a candidate that will best grasp the opportunities for your profession.
Last year, we were oversubscribed with candidates in both the general and Scottish constituencies. As part of the IFoA's dedication to informing our members, we understand the importance of sharing in depth what each candidate stands for.
I encourage you to review each of their video clips and manifestos and make a decision based on who you feel can best represent your profession. We are always trying new and innovative ways to reach our members, and as part of the elections this year, each candidate will submit a 100-word manifesto that will feature on theactuary.com, providing them with even greater access to all our voting members.
Make a real difference
Last year, I was disappointed to hear, when discussing voting patterns with members, that many cast their votes without even reading the manifestos.
As ethical professionals, it is appalling to think that such an important vote could be cast without a thought or concern as to how this could affect the future.
Your vote is a personal and important chance to make a difference to the profession, which you have worked so hard to be a part of.
Derek Cribb is the chief executive of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries