Strategy 2016

Institute and Faculty of Actuaries

The Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (IFoA) will be developing new accreditation where actuaries can offer more value. This is one of IFoA’s pledges published in its revised strategy released today at its Annual General Meeting in London. The IFoA’s previous strategy was published five years ago. 

Chief executive Derek Cribb believes global markets have changed quickly in recent years and stresses the importance of supporting members in qualifying themselves when they are trying to win work and move into new areas.

He said: “As a professional business qualification we must keep pace with the speed of evolution in global markets. Business needs are developing at a pace greater than has been seen in the past.”

Details of such accreditations are still being discussed, but Cribb told The Actuary a number of specific business areas were being looked at such as certifications in data analytics, microinsurance or takaful insurance. 

He added the new accreditations could come in a range of forms and structures such as new certificates, exams or having the subject areas embedded in existing qualifications. 

“Some of those areas can be absorbed in core qualification but in the meantime we need to be able to develop these exams fairly quickly because if we don’t, other professions might.”

The organisation will also be ‘revitalising’ the associate level of membership, which it believed was not well understood by members and employers. 

The associate membership is the first level of qualification granted by the IFoA in which individuals have the right to describe themselves as an actuary.

Cribb raised the point that most members wanted to attain fellowship. 

“One of the issues we sometimes have is it’ll take our members five or six years getting to fellowship when our members try to move into wider fields. Taking that time specialising can restrict the areas they are working,” he said.

“An associate would normally qualify in three years and they are globally recognised as actuaries. Most employers don’t understand that they are qualified. So there’s something about the messaging there. 

“For me this is equipping people with core actuarial skills, getting employers to recognise the value of those skills and enabling members to be successful in their business.”

Cribb believed this strategy would appeal to a more diverse group of people, adding: “For some people being a fellow is absolutely the right career move, for others they don’t want to sit six years of exams.”

The IFoA plans to explore ways to better recognise the status of associate membership, and will do this by improving its communication strategies using campaigns and engaging with employers and students in their final years on bachelor courses. 

Another strategy is to build a higher profile for actuaries by “being bolder” in public affairs, but the IFoA warns this could come with risks on how the organisation is perceived. 

For instance, ahead of the EU referendum the organisation published its analysis on the impact of limiting immigration on public finances and believed the feedback from members was “incredibly positive”, without being seen to take sides.

Cribb said subjects such as Brexit provided the IFoA substantial media coverage but it would have to monitor it carefully and manage any associated risk. 

The IFoA’s Public Affairs committee will look at issues with a public interest and advise stakeholders, policymakers, governments and regulators in their decision making. 

“The work our members were doing five years ago is very different to today, and will be different again in five years’ time: we must be agile in our response to this,” said Cribb.

“The IFoA is responding to these changes by continuing to innovate and develop into new areas where actuarial science can make a significant contribution to both business and society.”

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