New Zealand actuaries discuss lessons from Royal Commission

The final leg of the 2019 Actuaries Institute CPD Tour in Auckland and Wellington demonstrated how relevant the lessons of the Australian Royal Commission into Financial Services are for New Zealanders.

It was a great pleasure for New Zealand actuaries to welcome President of the Actuaries Institute, Nicolette Rubinsztein, Institute CEO Elayne Grace and Ian Laughlin (Actuary of the Year 2018) to New Zealand for the last events of the 2019 CPD Tour in Auckland on 15th August and Wellington the following day. 

Both events were well supported with over 60 participants (out of 200 Fellows of the New Zealand Society of Actuaries) attending the CPD events. 

In addition to many of the local insurers being subsidiaries of Australian companies, the New Zealand regulators (Reserve Bank of New Zealand and Financial Markets Authority) have required insurers to review their business activities against the findings and recommendations contained in the final report of the Royal Commission.  The gap analysis and resulting plan for corrective action are to be presented to insurers’ boards by the end of October.  This tour event, themed: Professionalism in the New World was very well timed in this regard.

The CPD tour followed a similar format to that which has been so successful in other centres, with myself as NZSA President joining the group to add specific New Zealand flavour and content. 

Nicolette opened the session introducing the Royal Commission into Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services, and presented a video interview with APRA Chair Wayne Byers. His challenge to the actuarial profession in Australia, that APRA has provided actuaries with the tools so it’s now up to the profession to use them, is equally applicable in New Zealand. 

Ian Laughlin presented the ‘World We Are In’ – with a comparison of legislation and standards in Australia and New Zealand and a case study drawing on his experience.

I then shared my reflections on professionalism before Nicolette facilitated a panel discussion with Ian, Elayne and I. 

Strong audience participation ensured that the discussion was lively in both cities although it made timekeeping a challenge.

While in Wellington Nicolette, Elayne and Ian along with myself, Ross Simmonds and David Chamberlain from the NZSA met with representatives from the Reserve Bank of New Zealand. We had a wide ranging discussion across a number of areas including the Thematic Review of the Appointed Actuary regime the Bank is undertaking and the recent liquidation of CBL Insurance; there are undoubtedly lessons for actuaries to come from this.

The events in both Auckland and Wellington were followed by the NZSA Winter Dinners giving members of the NZSA, around half of whom are also members of the Actuaries Institute, the chance to spend the evening with Nicolette, Ian and Elayne and to continue the debates and discussion from the afternoon.  These were great occasions on which to finish the day and an opportunity for New Zealand members to thank our guests for bringing an interesting and thought provoking session to us.  

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