As an IFoA member based outside the UK, I believe I have a different perspective from that of my predecessors. Im currently based in Johannesburg, but spent most of my career in the UK. I have also been fortunate to have visited members in many other countries. I am therefore invested in fostering relationships with our UK-based members as well as responding to the ever-growing demand for IFoA membership and interaction overseas.
As an IFoA member based outside the UK, I believe I have a different perspective from that of my predecessors. I'm currently based in Johannesburg, but spent most of my career in the UK. I have also been fortunate to have visited members in many other countries. I am therefore invested in fostering relationships with our UK-based members as well as responding to the ever-growing demand for IFoA membership and interaction overseas.
The IFoA seeks to provide excellent service to its members regardless of where they are located in the world. As an institution with limited resources, we need to be considered about where we focus. We are concentrating particularly on areas where we have a high density of members and where we have evidenced high or increased levels of interest in actuarial science and, specifically, the IFoA and its membership.
During November, I enjoyed spending time in some targeted market areas, including Ghana, Nigeria and Kenya, engaging with our members, local regulators and key employers. Each country has a particular set of circumstances; however, by and large, the average time taken to qualify as an actuary is significantly longer than that observed in countries such as the UK, Ireland, South Africa and the US. The absence of face-to-face tuition, senior mentors who provide on-the-job supervision and employer sponsorship are among the many challenges they face. With regulatory and solvency frameworks becoming more complex, the growing demand for actuarial skills is evident.
The education of actuaries and capacity building in developing markets are matters close to my heart. There is certainly a role for the IFoA to play in these markets in ensuring that the needs of our members are met. There is an even more pivotal role to be played, not least by employers with regards to providing support structures and career opportunities, by senior members of the profession in providing leadership, and by educational institutions, which do the important work of equipping students at the start of their actuarial journey.
I am grateful to the local actuarial societies who hosted me in each country and to the members and other stakeholders who so graciously offered their time. The member receptions held in Ghana and Nigeria were highlights of my visit - the excitement of our student members at the prospect of attaining their qualifications was palpable and energising. I was more than once reminded of my younger self.
I was honoured to be invited to give the keynote address at The Actuarial Society of Kenya's (TASK) annual convention, a rich and varied source of continuing professional development, and an event which continues to attract colleagues from across the continent.
The Life Conference, held in Birmingham, was a great opportunity to reconnect with former colleagues and our UK-based members.
I am always impressed by the calibre of speakers it attracts and, of course, the support of all our members in attendance.
I look forward to connecting with many more of you, and, as ever, I invite you to get in touch via [email protected] with your thoughts and questions. Wishing you a delightful festive period.
Marjorie Ngwenya is the president of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries