Regulating the most senior actuaries: your input is needed

fountiain pen and stamp on a form/certificat

Edwin Sheaf, Practitioner Member of Regulatory Board, writes on why the shape of the IFoA’s Practising Certificates (PC) Scheme is something that should interest all members.

I first applied for a PC back in 1997, when the PC scheme was first introduced, and have held one ever since. It was a slightly daunting experience at the time, not least because it was a completely new concept so none of us really knew what was required or what the profession was looking for from applicants.

Review of the current PC scheme

In response to feedback received from members and current PC holders, we undertook a review of the IFoA’s approach to and process for the PC Scheme.

This is the first substantive review of the PC Scheme since 2010 and we hope it shows members that the IFoA is listening and dedicated to making effective changes reflecting the needs of a changing actuarial profession.

The review included discussions with current and prospective PC holders, input from key relevant regulators, and testing some outline proposals with different groups. This identified a number of issues which are reflected in the proposals listed below.

Summary of proposals

IFoA has developed proposals to make the PC Scheme as fair, effective, proportionate and user-friendly as possible.

The proposals we arrived at are:

  • Place a greater focus on initial applications, with annual renewals becoming a ‘lighter touch’ process and fuller renewals required every three years.
  • Replace the current suitability criteria, which are focused on recent relevant technical experience, with a broader range of competency-based criteria.
  • Introduce a wider range of ways to assess competence, including an option for discussions and interviews with applicants.
  • Change the attestation requirements: either to widen the scope of who can attest to a candidate being ‘fit and proper’ so that it is not just restricted to existing PC Holders, or to remove the requirement entirely.
  • Introduce requirements for all initial PC applicants to have sat the new UK Practice Modules within the two years before their PC application is made. More information on the new UKPM will be published by the IFoA shortly. 
  • Place more emphasis on the pathway to becoming a PC Holder, including more awareness and support for potential candidates.
  • Link the PC Scheme into the new IFoA Reflective Practice Discussions so that those considering applying for a PC are assisted in identifying any gaps in their skills and can discuss their development plans.
  • Introduce more relevant PC Holder specific CPD (including sessions, materials and toolkits) and consider whether to make them mandatory.
  • To improve the application and renewal processes to make them as user-friendly as possible and as fair and transparent as possible; and
  • Consider whether to give Quality Assurance Scheme (QAS) accredited organisations a role in the selection of suitable PC holders from amongst their employees.

Why your input is needed

The PC Scheme provides assurance that senior actuaries have an appropriate level of skills and experience to be fit for these highly responsible, public-interest roles.

We want to hear from all members – current PC Holders, members who may one day hold a PC, members who work with PC Holders and members who have insights into the needs of industry – as to whether our proposals will provide an improved service, enforcing sufficient rigour without disproportionate burden, to be a positive contribution to the future of our profession. This is all of our business!

More information on the proposals and on how to respond can be found in the consultation package, available on the IFoA website. Please take the time to review the full proposals and share your thoughts by 1 July 2021.