Colin Wilson focuses on the strategic issues that will shape the profession with an eye to the future
Are you proud to be an actuary? Do you care about what the profession will look like in 5, 10 or even 20 years' time? Do you want a thriving profession that is respected and sought after, where your skills, knowledge and experience add real value to business and society? Do you want your professional qualification to open doors for you; doors to a varied, enriching and rewarding career?
If you answer yes to all those questions, then it is not going to just happen by itself. You can't just stand in the wings and hope that someone makes the right long-term decisions. Or worse, stand in the wings and bemoan the state of the profession without taking any responsibility yourself. No, your profession needs you.
If we want to ensure that our profession remains relevant, not just for ourselves but for those that will follow us in the years and decades to come, it is crucial that our governing body, Council, focuses on the strategic issues that will shape our profession. Just as important though, as our global membership grows and becomes increasingly more diverse, it is crucial that this diversity, and the richness that it brings our profession, is properly reflected in the strategic decision-making body. We have had much success in recent years in increasing the number of nominations for Council and attracting talent onto Council, but I know that there is more to do.
In my December article I explained that Council was undertaking a review of its composition to ensure we continue to operate as effectively as possible. Many thanks to those of you who responded to my request to hear your views, although I would like to have heard from a few more of you! As you can read elsewhere, Council has decided it is too soon to put forward any firm proposals or initiate a formal consultation of members.
Nevertheless, I believe it is right that we continue to ask ourselves on a regular basis whether there is more we could and should be doing to future-proof the profession.
It has always disappointed me that only around 20% of the voting membership ever exercise their right to vote in Council elections. I guess you could put a positive spin on that and say that those that don't vote are obviously happy with the way that Council and the IFoA is being run. But I am not sure that I really believe that. So one of the other things we are looking at is how to increase member engagement with Council. This year, we have started to provide updates in The Actuary following each Council meeting so that members are aware of the issues being discussed. And we also want to provide more information on Council members and candidates to help you choose the Council you want.
But ultimately it's down to you. Any changes to Council composition will not be in place for the upcoming elections, but that should not act as a barrier or excuse to stop you engaging, either by putting yourself forward for Council or simply participating fully in the election process. As we have demonstrated over the last few years, geography is no barrier to standing for Council; a fact reinforced by my successor, Marjorie, who is based in South Africa.
So if you have views on how best to ensure the future of the profession, please consider standing for Council, particularly if you think your geography or practice area or other specialism is currently under-represented. And even if you don't stand, it really would be nice to see more than 20% of you engaging in the process and voting for who should help decide the future of the profession.
If you are interested in standing for Council, this time around or in the future, and would like to learn more about what the role involves, then please do not hesitate to contact me at [email protected]
Colin Wilson is the president of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries