Protecting the reputation of the profession

Group of people talking in a meeting

In this blog two members and a lay volunteer tell us about their involvement in various disciplinary functions, their reasons for wanting to be involved, and how they feel they have benefited both personally and professionally.

Simon Martin (formerly on the Disciplinary Board, current actuary member of the Regulation Board)
For the public to have trust in a profession, they must be confident that there is a rigorous process in place to determine whether a member has been involved in misconduct. I have been a volunteer for the IFoA for at least 15 years, all of it involved in one way or another with our disciplinary process.

When I first volunteered, my motivation was to give something back to the profession to which I feel privileged to be a member. But I quickly realised that I was enjoying the role, hence why I am still involved after all these years.

The key reasons for this are:

• Colleagues (in the widest sense). As an Investigation Actuary, I worked closely with staff at the IFoA and the legal advisers to interview respondents and witnesses and prepare reports for the Disciplinary Panels.

•  As a member of the Disciplinary Board, I worked with fellow actuaries and lay members. It was especially valuable to get the insights of the lay members who had wide experience, for example from the Law Society and the General Medical Council, and to understand how other professions conduct their disciplinary processes.

• As a newly appointed member of the Regulation Board, I hope to remain connected to the disciplinary process which is a part of its much wider remit.

Volunteering has enabled me to make a contribution, but it has also contributed to my own personal and professional development, for which I am very grateful.

Andy Scott, actuary Panel member 

I became a volunteer as I wished to give something back to the profession, and what was then the new role of Chair of the Investigation Actuary (IA) Pool sounded both challenging and intriguing. It was an important new role where I felt I could add value and help to the profession, whose reputation had been called into question after the Equitable Life scandal and Goode Report.

I was Chair of the IA Pool at the outset of the new Disciplinary System in the early 2000s. This involved allocating the best-placed IA for the various investigations, liaising with the Disciplinary Investigations Team during the investigations, and peer reviewing the investigation report before it was sent to the Panel. I also assisted in shaping the investigation process and in training the Disciplinary Pool members. I remained Chair until 2016. Subsequently I became a Panel member and have remained in that role ever since.

I find volunteering rewarding not only because you are giving something back to the profession, but because you are also contributing something positive to it. The Disciplinary Scheme is an extremely sensitive area that is subject to Financial Reporting Council oversight and you are always aware that your decisions can have major repercussions for the actuaries being investigated. So it is a role you have to take very seriously and do your best to help reach the correct decision and, where necessary, apply the appropriate sanction.

I continue to volunteer because I still wish to make a positive contribution to the profession which has given me a rewarding and, dare I say, an enjoyable career!

Alison Marron, lay volunteer with the Scheme Review Working Party

I had been working in the legal regulation sector for approximately 15 years when I joined the IFoA’s Disciplinary Scheme Review Working Party as a lay volunteer. I was attracted to the role because it gave me an opportunity to learn and gain experience from a comparable professional regulator and to take back some of the ideas and thinking to my own work with the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission, which itself was undergoing significant change and improvements. 

I felt that I had a great deal of knowledge to share, having had the responsibility of overseeing the operation of an equivalent conduct / disciplinary process for Scottish solicitors for a number of years. The wealth of knowledge of all those who form the Working Party has successfully contributed to the work of the review project and I’m delighted to have been part of that. I’ve gained so much insight into the ins and outs of embarking on such a project and how much work, time and effort this kind of review requires. It’s been no mean feat, but the Working Party has been superbly supported, both in the quality of the preparatory work and during the meetings. This has greatly assisted the Working Party’s ability to make informed and robust decisions. 

This experience has made me appreciate all the effort and commitment that is required for a project to be successful, as I’m sure this one will be for the IFoA and its members. I would encourage anyone to volunteer to join a project like this. I’ve enjoyed it immensely and that is down to both the professionalism and friendliness of the IFoA staff and the Working Party members.