This season has once again seen a large number of our members participate in the IFoAs residential conferences, with many of you preparing to depart for the Life Conference as this edition of The Actuary arrives through your letterbox.
This season has once again seen a large number of our members participate in the IFoA's residential conferences, with many of you preparing to depart for the Life Conference as this edition of The Actuary arrives through your letterbox. Even in the age of webinars and YouTube, our residential conferences still provide an invaluable platform for people - not just actuaries - to come together to share knowledge and ideas.
This two-way exchange is at the heart of my theme of thought leadership, where the actuarial profession is not only shaping its role as a thought leader itself but drawing on the expertise of others.
A demonstration of the effectiveness of combining IFoA members' ideas with those of others can be found in this year's winner of the Brian Hey Prize for the best research paper at the GIRO Conference. "Analyzing the disconnect between the reinsurance submission and global underwriter's needs" was the culmination of the efforts of a working party comprising members from both the IFoA and the Casualty Actuarial Society. As well as the benefit of diversity of thought from both sides of the Atlantic, the working party has been able to advance the subject matter not just for the actuarial profession within the UK, or the IFoA membership, but for the benefit of the actuarial user community as a whole. Practitioner input has been key to ensuring relevance to the work of those who will use the research findings.
The uptake of IFoA research by practitioners and other stakeholders, such as policymakers, is also central to the work of our Actuarial Research Centre (ARC). The three large research programmes sponsored by the IFoA are now underway. The IFoA is in the process of forming steering groups to oversee the programmes to ensure that the outputs from the research have practical application. I am pleased that the relevance of the ARC has also been endorsed by the fact that the US Society of Actuaries and the Canadian Institute of Actuaries have decided to partner with us on one of the programmes. This brings together the vision we have for the ARC as a network of researchers and partners with a common goal of advancing actuarial science.
As I mentioned in my presidential article in the September edition of The Actuary, we are also keen to embed corporate partners in the ARC. This could be through the existing programmes. Or it could be working in partnership with the IFoA to specify the challenges or key questions that you think need to be addressed in actuarial science and related disciplines, and then working together to sponsor programmes to research the issues. Again, this is about an exchange of knowledge, where actuarial thought leaders can work alongside thought leaders from other disciplines. Please do get in touch if you see an opportunity for your organisation, the IFoA and research teams to work together.
As well as looking outward for the ARC, another area where we have the benefit of thought leaders external to the IFoA is through our family of Honorary Fellows. The nomination process for 2017 Honorary Fellows is now open and I would encourage members to nominate eminent individuals who you think could contribute to our strategic objectives - whether that is about supporting some of our policy and public affairs activities, contributing to our research or bringing a different perspective for our members to learn from.
Many of you watched the Spring Lecture delivered by one of our recently elected Honorary Fellows, professor Sir David Spiegelhalter. This is an example of where we are keen to include our Honorary Fellows in the activities of the IFoA. If you have a thought leader in mind who you think would be able to contribute to the future of your profession, please nominate them through our website.
Whether partnering with other thought leaders in our working parties, bringing together academia and practitioners in the ARC, engaging with our diverse range of Honorary Fellows or another aspect of the profession's activities, our doors are open.
Colin Wilson is the president of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries