The UK general election is under way and the air is thick with accusations of fake news. And while Brexit is a key topic, social care and pensions are featuring prominently in the campaign, too.
The IFoA has been engaging with policymakers on those and other topics for many years. We do so because our Royal Charter obliges us to act in the public interest, and informing public policy is central to that obligation. Our expertise allows us to provide evidence-based contributions to policy debates, helping policymakers reach better-informed decisions. Indeed, we know from stakeholder surveys that our commentary is highly valued because it is underpinned by independent, authoritative analysis. Some recent examples include:
- Jules Constantinou (immediate past president) giving evidence to the Health and Social Care Committee, and Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee on social care funding
- Andrew Lowe (chair of the IFoA Future Pensions Landscape Working Party) has been appointed to the Money and Pensions Service Pensions Dashboard Industry Delivery Group
- The report Saving for retirement, which is the fourth briefing on the IFoA's pensions adequacy campaign, was covered in the Financial Times and by numerous industry commentators
- My recent meeting with the chair of the Centre of Data Ethics and Innovation.
This type of work has several benefits for members. Firstly, it reinforces the reputation of the profession. Our public affairs activity demonstrates to policymakers and other stakeholders the value the actuarial profession can add. Indeed, you told us in the last member survey that being part of a highly esteemed profession was a principal benefit of membership.
Secondly, it provides opportunities for volunteers to get involved. Many of you have a passion for the work you do and therefore want policymakers to make better decisions. While not everyone will have the dubious honour of presenting to a select committee, there are many other ways to contribute to our public affairs work. For example, we often establish working groups that will develop the profession's response to specific issues. More generally, the practice boards are invaluable in enabling us to contribute to the many consultations from governments and regulators.
As we look forward, we are also considering how to extend the reach of our public affairs work internationally. Although our public affairs focus is predominantly UK-based, many of the topics have global relevance, whether we're looking at trends in demographics, climate change or data science. We're considering how best to do this, potentially in partnership with local actuarial associations. However we do it, our intention is to share our insights more widely and create more opportunities for our global membership.
As always, the IFoA's commitment is to remain a reliable and authoritative voice on actuarial topics - so that we can continue to benefit policymakers, members and the wider public.
John Taylor is the president of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries