IFoA Presidency Campaign Statement

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My candidacy is about the transformation of our profession to ensure we thrive in a digital future.

Transformation

My case for transformation was outlined in my presentation to the Council on Strategy Day in October 2018. Our profession is currently protected in a “safe and secure” box. Many of us, when we qualified, was assured of a secure future. The same cannot be same of actuaries who qualify today. This “safe and secure box” has become increasingly porous with data scientists entering into our midst. The borders which protect our “safe and secure box” are subject to increasing stress, as new platforms and business models, riding on the digital revolution, emerge. The way we collect and process data are looking increasingly dated. To compound this further, the tasks and work we do are increasingly taken over by machines and AI.

Therefore, the “safe and secure box” will no longer secure our future as a profession. We owe it to our younger members and ourselves, a re-definition of our profession and a new narrative, so that we can navigate the emerging paradigms of the future with confidence. We have to transform our “safe and secure box” to a “springboard for the future”. This is as much about mindsets as skillsets. This is the first iteration of my thinking and a fuller version is available on Youtube – Navigating across Paradigms.

We have to bring the whole transformation process to the foreground. What I propose to do, with the Presidential Team and Council, are

  • Create a sense of urgency to formulate a compelling vision; communicate, consult, co- create and enroll members to the idea of a “21st century digital actuary” (“chartered actuary” as a possible contender). We will aim for the first version in September 2019.
  • Build a wide coalition and shared context with Council members, Life Learning and other boards, the Executive and new Chair of Management Board through a number of iterations. To proactively engage and enroll future Council members and Presidents.
  • Weave transformation themes into IFoA Conferences immediately. Use road shows and webinars to engage UK and international members in a consistent manner. Use of digital communities identified in MDB.
  • Join the dots with external players – professional bodies, national actuarial bodies, universities, experts, regulatory bodies, fintech organisations, employers. Presidents and Council members to take the lead.
  • Address obstacles to change – bureaucracy and “executive capture” unmasked by recent governance reviews. Council members and actuaries to be the face of change supported by executive team. Special project team led by President to report to Council.
  • Bottom out two key variables – the X-axis (curriculum) and the Y-axis (adjacent domains) – need working and agreement. Intelligent re-design of curriculum. Identify and enlist role models in other domains. Have an eye on Z-axis (future ecosystems)
  • Achieve quick wins on-X axis – data science and machine learning and on the Y axis – health & long-term care, retirement security, banking and consulting (more conversations required)
  • Agree convincing and inspiring vision of “21st century digital actuary” and 3-year road map by November 2019. Align Communication, Initial Brand Ideas, Incentives and KPI, and Council Strategy.

We need to start the process now, as change will take time. We can capitalize on this transformation process and become the profession which energizes our members and attracts younger people in droves. We need to transform to succeed and endure as a profession.

I am passionate about this and willing to spend time and energy on this in the next three years.

Other issues

Globalisation – I am committed to IFoA being an international organisation with strong roots in the UK. We have many strengths and must continue to build on this, and when combined with a transformational story, we can make IFoA really compelling in Africa, Asia and globally. I lived in the UK for 10 years and spent 24 years working with British companies, so I understand the context in which many of our members operate. I am also an Asian living in Asia, and I am prepared to travel regularly and extensively to Africa, Asia and the UK. This means I can rebalance the load of promoting IFoA with the Presidential Team and the CEO in a significant way and which lends credence that IFoA is international in outlook.

Members Engagement – Our UK members are core to us. We must continue to pay attention to their needs and concerns (Regulation, Pensions and Social Security, subscriptions and job security) and engage them meaningfully. It is our duty to ensure our members understand and support our strategy – on why we globalize, why we need new certifications and how we allocate resources; and strengthen our membership value proposition. I am prepared to invest substantial time and effort here.

Internal Reform – The Kieran Moynihan report is an important lesson to both Management and Council. We must address its root causes. It is important our Council and Presidents have a “voice” and are able to lead IFoA with authority. Ultimately, we are responsible for ensuring Council and Presidents can discharge our stewardship responsibilities effectively, now and in the future. After speaking to many of you, I appreciate there is no simple panacea. There is a diversity of views on what needs to change and how, and clearly, we cannot achieve them overnight. I believe we need a mix of changes; in process and practices; culture and leadership style; and possibly some of our governance arrangements. We need to spend our time wisely on this, and not be overwhelmed by it.

Time horizon and time commitment

The above program will take longer than a year to put into effect. I will devote myself for the entire three years to the affairs of the IFoA, working with the Council and the Presidential Team, and also campaigning for this platform beyond my Presidency to ensure continuity. I am retired and I have many interests but am willing to divert as much energy as it takes, to ensure that the transformation of the profession can take hold. I am committed to ensuring all Council members stay fully engaged.

My background and experience

Most of you have gotten to know me better in the last twenty months I have been on Council. I know I can come across direct and sometimes impatient – I like to think I am authentic. I am a good listener, I am passionate about the things I do, and believe in mutual accountability. I am proud of my career as an actuary and my time with the insurance industry. I am sad to see the decline in our influence and leaderships roles in business, and I believe we can do something about it. I feel strongly Council has to evolve the way we work to stay effective. I am willing to be, and will enjoy being, your next President-elect. I know I can only succeed with your support, hence I thought it would be helpful to be clear and honest in this personal statement.

You can access my career record on my Linkedin pages and my CV. I have extensive experience in transformation of complex organisations with multiple stakeholders. I have the necessary experience, understanding, time and passion for this role if you elect me. I look forward to the opportunity.

Thank you.