Giving Associates the right to vote and sit on the Institute Council will increase the diversity of views on Council and encourage greater participation of Associates in the democratic life of the Institute, writes Chao Qiao.
Council has put forward this proposal to allow Associates to vote in the same way as Fellows, and to allow Associates to become Councillors. Council encourages members to support this initiative by attending the upcoming Extraordinary General Meeting (date to be confirmed).
I believe this is a sensible and moderate proposal. While it does not go so far as to allow Associates to become the President, and it puts a cap on the number of Associates allowed to sit on Council, I believe it is an important step towards giving a voice, and due representation to our second most qualified members.
The idea of giving Associates the vote is nothing new. It has been talked about for many years. However, there has been a lack of urgency in addressing the initiative.
Times have changed – member make-up
Many Associates are senior members of the Institute who already contribute great insight and experience to the actuarial profession. These members, I believe, should be allowed to vote or sit on Council. I would also argue that it would enhance the member value proposition for them.
Student or ‘Affiliate’ members who are working towards passing their exams and becoming Associates - many of whom work in the emerging fields including the bourgeoning areas of data analytics, artificial intelligence, risk management and banking – might also be encouraged to complete their exams by the extra incentive of being able to vote and be represented on Council once they are Associates.
Giving Associates the vote will help encourage eligible young members to become Associates, participate in the democratic life of the Institute and contribute positively as volunteers.
A relevant education
One criticism I have heard against the proposal is that it could dilute the voting influence of Fellows in areas such as education.
The quality and relevance of actuarial education and exams is of course of paramount importance, and is something Council is addressing right now through the Education Strategy Review.
I believe having Associates represented on Council and voting will only support the much-needed refreshing and modernising of actuarial skills and education models, to suit the demands of our global and digital markets.
Volunteering and Diversity
Our membership is diverse. Younger members (under 35 years of age, who make up more than 50% of our membership) are increasingly working in emerging fields. They contribute to the age and practice diversity in the actuarial profession and are in many ways ‘the actuaries of the future’. Their insights and opinions should be well represented, especially on Council.
People in younger age groups also typically have more capacity to get involved in volunteering roles, compared with older generations who might have greater work or family responsibilities.
The Institute has many valuable across some 85 + committees, working groups and taskforces.
It would be fantastic to see more young members volunteering on these, as well as on Council and Council Committees.
I believe the passing of this proposal would help encourage this diversity of age and practice areas all throughout Institute activities.
A call to action
In closing, I would like to take this opportunity to urge you as a member to support this moderate proposal.
I firmly believe Associates will demonstrate the value of their voice if allowed representation on Council.
It would, I believe, be a significant step towards enabling their full contribution to the actuarial profession – including their increased participation in Committees, Institute democratic life, and the strategic future of the profession – something that will ultimately benefit all members.
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