Presidential Dialogue: 2018+ Strategic Plan and its implementation

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2018 President John Evans encourages better alignment between Institute committees and the strategy developed by Council and HQ.

 

The Institute has released my Presidential Address which focuses on issues that are of strategic importance to members. It is intended to facilitate ongoing dialogue amongst the profession so that we can reach consensus that will guide our responses to these significant issues. You can respond to my comments in our discussion forum.

In addition to the Presidential Address, I will raise similar strategic issues in Actuaries Digital and you can respond to these issues via the same discussion forum.

In this article I want to discuss the 2018-2020 Strategic Plan and how we can better integrate and align the activities of all Institute committees with the strategy developed by Council and HQ.

In late 2017, Council met with HQ staff to develop a strategic plan for 2018-20. The intention is that the strategic plan for the Actuaries Institute will now be updated annually for the next three years rather than have a static three-year plan. It should not be expected that the strategic plan will change significantly from one year to the next, but the rolling three-year approach will allow the changes in our operating environment to be more quickly incorporated into the plan going forward.

The 2018-2020 strategic plan has four high level goals related to delivery of high quality learning, growing the Institute, continuing to build brand awareness and maintaining a highly regarded profession. These goals are not that different to the 2015-2017 goals but reflect changing priorities. It is intended that we continue the engagement with the community through the various papers on topics of community interest.

We have made a subtle change to the education goal to reflect the view that we need to ensure post qualification education is recognised as equally important as pre-qualification education. We have introduced a new goal specifically relating to an aspiration to build a strong community of members in Asia, to continue to work towards diversity in work areas as well as gender and to grow membershio. We have also recognised the need to build a profession that is both locally and globally respected for its high standards and is highly respected as a source of independent advice on relevant topics.

The 2018-2020 strategic plan cannot be left at this high level if we are to achieve the goals, and we need to now work through the detailed implementation in 2018 to achieve what is feasible in reaching these goals over the next three years. To this end, HQ will present to Council in March detailed objectives for 2018 across the goals. Given limited resources, we will need to emphasise some short-term objectives over others. Progress against the objectives will be monitored by Council at each meeting. Of course, the world does not remain constant, so it may be that Council needs to make changes in the priorities throughout the year.

To have the best chance of achieving our goals, it is imperative that all Institute committees align their objectives and activities to the Strategic Plan.

Along with the CEO I am planning to meet with all the Institute committees to discuss how to best ensure compatibility of the committees’ strategies with that of the Institute. Currently Council and HQ incorporate practice committee views into the development of the strategy plan, but this is not ideal, as it is possible to unintentionally get bias in the relaying process, and the committees’ views are static and unable to react to issues that are raised as the strategy evolves.

I will be exploring with Institute committees how we can improve the efficiency and timeliness of incorporating their views into the strategic planning process. For example, we could invite representatives from the committees to the meeting when we decide on the next strategic plan, but there are limits to the effectiveness of such a process mainly related to the number of attendees. A solution to improve the current process may be to invite a cross-section of practice committee convenors (longstanding and new) to feed directly into the development. I will seek the views of the committees directly on how Council can benefit from their input.

Feedback and alternative views can be expressed here. I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

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About the author

John Evans

John Evans is the 2018 President of the Actuaries Institute and Director of the Centre for Analysis of Complex Financial Systems. He has extensive experience in risk management and superannuation, previously been Head of the School of Risk and Actuarial Studies at the University of Sydney and chairs several risk committees. John lectures in Australia and Hong Kong on risk management and has published in leading international academic journals on risk management as well as publishing in trade magazines and on retirement funding policy issues.

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