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The Actuary The magazine of the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries

Surviving change


Francesco Sebastian

Professor Stephen Hawking, one of the greatest thinkers of our time, sadly passed away in March. His research on gravitational singularity changed the orbit of theoretical physics and cosmology. And his non-conformist personality earned him a place in our hearts. 

This note is a humble tribute to Hawking’s positive view of change. He affirmed that “intelligence is the ability to adapt to change”, and change is constant in life. The actuarial profession is certainly not exempt. Therefore we need to take an intelligent approach to successfully adapt. 

In the current issue, The Actuary raises several topics that are changing the dynamics of the actuarial profession. Jennifer Strickland and Kyle Audley provide a great example of how to anticipate change in the political environment: they assess how several Brexit scenarios could affect insurance firms on Solvency II and other relevant regulations. Quintin Rayer discusses challenges and opportunities from adding ethical and sustainability factors into investments.

This rapidly developing trend has important implications for actuaries and investment professionals, as it affects pension funds, insurers and other investors. 

Continuing with the change theme from a more human angle, Rachael Docking explains how adverse factors make it hard for certain groups to adjust to the later stages of life. And in our interview this issue, Anthony Painter, director of the Action & Research Centre at the RSA, discusses universal basic income, a concept that defies the current welfare system. Leaving aside the economic controversy Painter’s ideas may trigger, he prompts two issues actuaries are familiar with: the cost and sustainability that defined benefit schemes entail and the threat to the actuarial profession (as we know it) that the fast-evolving technology landscape may pose. 

Hopefully the topics discussed in this issue will help readers smoothly and intelligently navigate through change. 

Enjoy the read!

Francisco Sebastian


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