Highlights of 2015…and for 2016

Institute CEO David Bell reflects on how the new Strategic Plan provided focus for a lot of activity in 2015 and how it will continue to do so in 2016.

Warren Buffett is reputed to have said: “In the business world, the rear view mirror is always clearer than the windshield.”

(He also said “Rule No.1: Never lose money. Rule No.2: Never forget rule No.1.”)

With the Chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway’s first quote in mind I’d like to reflect on the Institute’s work over 2015 and cast forward for 2016.

I believe that 2015 was a good year for the profession, members and the Institute. There were many achievements supported by strong leadership by the actuarial profession in Australia. The new Strategic Plan provided the focus for a lot of our activity in 2015 – and will continue on in 2016.

Highlights of 2015

The review of the CPD program was completed and Council agreed to fund the 2016 component of the program. We will update you on this important component of Goal 1 of the Strategic Plan, which is focused on better education and lifelong learning.

The successful launch of Actuaries Digital has been a really positive feature of the Institute’s communication work last year and is a major component of Goal 2 of the Strategic Plan aimed at improving engagement with members. I would like to thank the Editor Sharanjit Paddam and his committee for the work they did helping our Communications Team.

A key focus under Goal 3 of the Strategic Plan is to ensure that actuaries become more widely known for their important work. There were a number of important developments in 2015 with this goal.

The Financial Systems Inquiry, led by David Murray, featured actuaries supporting the work of the Secretariat. One of the key recommendations of the Inquiry, strongly supported by our submission to the Inquiry, was that the superannuation system should have a clear objective enshrined in legislation.

We also launched the White Paper, ‘For Richer, For Poorer’ which built upon earlier analysis and policy development on retirement incomes. 

Key submissions included: the Federal Government’s Tax White Paper, the Intergenerational Report, and the Productivity Commission’s review of home equity release. None of this work could have been done without the support of the Public Policy Council Committee and the other supporting practice committees.

Finally, under Goal 5 – extending practice reach – the great start-up work of the Data Analytics working group (including its first ever conference) has been a strong feature this year. We also held our first ever Banking Seminar under the leadership of the Banking Practice committee

And for 2016

Next year will be the mid-point of our 2015-17 Strategy. Council will be reviewing the strategy in February, to ensure it continues to meet our longer term aspirations, and members will be updated.

One of the areas I do want to place some personal energy into is making sure we commence delivering on Goal 4 which is all about extending our reach into Asia where some 13% of our members are based.

For me, the focus is always about providing members with great value and service for the fees they pay and I enjoy working with the HQ team to make sure we deliver that. A key part of doing that for me is interacting with members and hearing their views. I look forward to doing that at the various functions I attend and the regular lunches I hold in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.

Thank you

And finally, some thank yous. The Institute is heavily reliant upon its volunteers – we could not do our job without them. Thank you to the many hundreds of you who sit on committees, get involved in the education system, and help mentor our younger actuaries.

The work of the HQ team also deserves recognition. I know that each and every one of them works all the time in the best interests of our members.

Thank you also to your Council, the decision-making body of the Institute, who under the leadership of President Estelle Pearson, Senior Vice President Lindsay Smartt and Vice President Jenny Lyon, provided a great deal of energy and support for the work of the HQ team in 2015.

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