Better serving members in finance and investment

Calculator and coins with a ledger book

In the seventh of our series on the work of the IFoA’s volunteer-led Practice Boards, Dick Rae, Chair of the IFoA’s Finance and Investment Board, looks at how the Board are honing their outputs to reach and help members working in this area.

Learn more about the Finance and Investment board

This has been my first year as Chair of the Finance and Investment Board and this year’s activities represent the first of a two-year programme, seeking to be more proactive, raising the profile of our outputs and ensuring that our work better serves the needs of members.

Engaging with the wider world

The Board’s theme this year has been ‘engagement’.

Over the last twelve months, we have provided a flow of input into a range of consultations both within the IFoA and externally with responses to consultations from regulatory bodies such as the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA).

A high profile invitation to present our cashless society work at Westminster is evidence that the work of the profession is having an impact.

Finance and Investment markets are global and we are conscious of the increasingly global reach of the IFoA. Our overseas members are also more likely to be involved in the wider fields. We have therefore established a global sub-committee with a focus on ensuring that we can both engage with and can benefit from our overseas members.

Across practice areas

We have worked with a number of other practice areas, in particular the areas of life insurance, pensions, and resource and environment. As a generality, actuaries in the other practice areas of general insurance (GI), health, and risk tend not to be too involved on the investment side.

We do though have an open dialogue with these practice boards and we recently worked with GI on the PRA’s consultation on liquidity.

We also recently widened attendance at the Insurance Investment Roundtables to increase GI and health attendance.

We engage with actuaries in the wider fields through the activities of two Member Interest Groups (MIGs); one for banking and the other for non-executive directors.

The banking MIG was reformed this year and there is a now a small, enthusiastic and active group that are looking to expand the profession’s involvement in this area, leveraging the experience of actuaries already within banking.

Learning and research

New Chairs of our Research and Lifelong Learning sub-committees have provided a fresh look at the way these F&I subcommittees are run. We have a fuller group of active volunteers and have provided a range of high-quality papers, articles and presentations.

Now that our existing working parties are in good shape, we have started commissioning new working parties targeting gaps in our research.

Our work in the area of lifelong learning has been on conferences and events. We responded to a decline in attendance at our annual conference by replacing this year’s conference with seven webinars. These were run in June thereby fitting these in before the CPD deadline.

Beyond the annual conference we have had one sessional meeting (on LPI), our first webinar on value for money in asset management was followed by one on opportunities for actuaries in banking.

We like the global reach of webinars; both attracted over 200 participants and we were able to attract plenty of members from outside the UK, with viewers in Belgium, France, Greece, India, Indonesia, Ireland, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, USA and Zimbabwe and more.

Going forward

ESG (environmental, social and governance) is a new area for F&I and we have begun work on how we can improve and expand the current course materials in this area. We will be looking at how social impact investing and private debt and other illiquid assets are covered within the education syllabus.

In the next few months, The Pensions Regulator is expected to publish a consultation on the new Defined Benefit Funding Code and we will be providing input to the IFoA response.

We are looking to identify different F&I practice roles along with champions for each area to feature in online outputs and to organise a networking event.

We will go further with evolving events to suit the needs of our members, with more going online, and will be looking for more proactive marketing of our research outputs.

Currently, we can only have a feel for how our efforts are influencing stakeholders.

The Board

I am grateful for the contributions made by all of our Board members, sub-committee members and other volunteers, along with the support from the IFoA staff and executive. I would particularly like to thank our retiring Board members for all of their past work.

I have been pleased that we attracted a good number of strong candidates to fill the two F&I Board vacancies. We were able to achieve our goal of improving the gender, ethnic diversity and geographic mix of Board members.

However, there continues to be a challenge in attracting a wide enough number of volunteers for working parties. Our focus is on under-represented black actuaries and female actuaries, and in particular we’d like to engage female members returning to work after maternity leave or other career break.

So please see the IFoA’s volunteer vacancies webpage to see whether you might be able to make a contribution.