Make Room For Impulse And Imagination

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Frank Redington is arguably the greatest actuary in the last 100 years. In 1968, he said the four quintessential actuarial values are Accuracy, Cautiousness, Consistency and Reticence. It struck me like a thunderbolt when I read it. For some time now, my sense is that actuaries are over-represented by Type 5 (Investigator) of the Enneagram Psychological System (EPS).

In the EPS, Type 5 is well described by accuracy, cautiousness, consistency and reticence. The exactitudes and cautiousness of Type 5 also have overlap with Type 6 (Loyalist) and Type 1 (Reformer), but these latter types are more results orientated. My personal subjective estimate is that we have 35% to 55% of Type 5 and 6 in the profession, but in population distribution, this will be in the order of 22%.

These qualities in themselves are real strengths and lend great weight to many actuarial roles. However, diversity is key in the current context. Redington said whilst we have no besetting vices, we must make room for impulse and imagination, and embrace new values of Curiosity, Adaptability and the Growth Mindset to thrive in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

I begin my Presidency term at the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (IFoA) by launching a VSMD Strategy with a focus on Vision, Skillsets, Mindsets and Domains for the actuarial profession. To learn more about the VSMD Strategy, go to