The end of one year and the start of another is a time when many of us reflect on what we have achieved and what weve still not checked off the list of the previous years aspirations. It is only when we look back that we truly appreciate how much we have accomplished and experienced in the year.
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.
We talk a lot about professionalism in the financial services industry, but it can be hard to define exactly what that means. According to the Oxford English Dictionary it is the competence or skill expected of a professional.
Disruptive technology has become something of a catchphrase in contemporary conversation. Most believe that Harvard Business School professor Clayton M Christensen coined the term in 1997, and it refers to groundbreaking technology that displaces established methods, shaking up and sometimes creating completely new industries.
It is a time of change. This brings about challenges, opportunities and risks, and I am honoured to be taking on the leadership of the IFoA at such a time. I believe that the skills and value actuaries can bring are more relevant and needed than ever before.
A year ago, I closed my presidential address with these words from Thomas Edison: If we do what we are capable of, we will astound ourselves, and subsequently I have focused on what the IFoA can do to enhance our collective thought leadership.