Many of you will have seen the announcement that, after nearly a decade, I am stepping down from my role as CEO of the IFoA later this year a decision made with mixed emotions.
Many of you will have seen the announcement that, after nearly a decade, I am stepping down from my role as CEO of the IFoA later this year - a decision made with mixed emotions. I believe that the IFoA is well-positioned to face the challenges of the future, and I am hugely positive about the prospects for the profession as a whole. However, history shows that the future will not be all plain sailing.
The world operates in cycles, and in recent years we have seen the growth of nationalism across Europe, North America and Asia. The actuarial profession, however, requires us to think about what the future may hold beyond short-term cycles. Our members work in a wide range of organisations, and as they help their clients and communities to consider that future, it is increasingly unlikely that any actuary will only deal with challenges within their own geographic region. With the scale of the profession being relatively small - perhaps just 75,000 actuaries worldwide - one of the IFoA's greatest responsibilities is to continue to work with sister associations to equip our memberships so that they can thrive in an increasingly connected world.
This also requires us to work across borders to support both our members and users of their services. There is tremendous pride in the hard-won qualifications of the profession, such as FIA, AIA and CAA, and understandably so. A key question is how to translate that distinctive expertise into a value proposition for global employers of actuaries, many of whom will not always grasp the nuanced differences between an FFA, an FSA and an FIA. There is a risk that the more an institute seeks to have a discrete 'premium' brand identity, the more fragmented the market becomes - and the collective voice of the global profession grows quieter.
There is, of course, no shortage of competition among professional qualifications, and I believe that the actuarial profession must protect and advance its position, which is vital to employers in its own right. Within the IFoA, work has already begun to clearly define what the future skills and domains of an actuary will be - and this is crucial in defining the identity of the next phase of the profession itself. I am confident that, together, you will create a compelling vision for the actuary of the future.
There is a need for more collaborative working - not just within the actuarial profession, but also across and beyond different sectors. Actuaries must learn to excel at partnering with others. Actuarial qualifications are of a high standard, but they do not give a monopoly on talent in the workplace. Confidence in your skills and professional identity is the cornerstone to accepting that others can bring equal, and sometimes greater, value to professional discussions - even in the actuarial sphere.
Finally, thank you all for the past decade. Being part of the team that has led a transformation of the IFoA, enabling it to consolidate its place as a sustainable and leading global actuarial professional body, has been a joy and an honour. Building a highly capable and passionate team that can take the organisation forward with our volunteers has been a highlight, and I will remain a lifelong ambassador for the actuarial profession and the IFoA's great work in the public interest.
The IFoA, and wider global profession, goes forward with my full support and best wishes for the future.
Derek Cribb is the chief executive of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries