President’s Report to Members – September Strategy Day and Council Meeting

President Nicolette Rubinsztein reports on the key issues discussed, and the decisions made, at the Actuaries Institute Strategy Day and Council meeting held on 10 and 11 September 2019.

This is my third report updating members on the decisions made by Council at meetings on 10 and 11 September 2019.  Both were busy with important discussions held on a range of agenda items.

Strategy Day 10 September

At the Strategy Day, our focus was on confirming the strategic planning timeline, reviewing the 2020 strategic goals to ensure they are still appropriate, and discussing the following key items to inform our strategic goals for 2021-2023.

  • Global situation
  • Asia
  • Response to Royal Commission
  • Data Analytics
  • CPD


CEO Elayne Grace took Council through the 2020 Strategic Goals and a number of changes were made. 

A paper was presented by David Whittle on the Global Situation. Council confirmed their support for keeping our sovereignty, recognising that there was value in what we currently have in terms of a strong community and self-regulation, and acknowledgement that as different countries have very different markets, one size does not fit all.  There was also support for:

  • promoting the value proposition of the Australian actuarial qualification to employers:
  • closely monitoring the global situation, maintaining an outward/international perspective, developing a readiness for change; and
  • focusing on increased informal collaboration with other associations rather than a formal collaboration alliance.

Steve Hui, Andy Yang, Robert Chen and Kitty Chan presented an excellent strategy paper on Asia.  The Asian Committee were tasked with actioning a range of member retention options and reporting back to the December Council meeting with a high-level operational plan.  Council agreed to support the implementation of these action points and China strategy recommendations on a pilot study basis.

Senior Vice President Hoa Bui gave a presentation on the Royal Commission asking how the profession and the Actuaries Institute should respond. A broad range of ideas were discussed including communication expectations, engaging the regulator, a customer-focused strategy, an audit of FCRs with APRA, non- financial risks and a product actuary framework.

Councillor Bill Konstantinidis provided a high-level refresh of our data analytics strategy following the Deep Dive day held in June 2019. Progress continues to be made with a MasterClass to be held shortly and the Head of Data Analytics Strategy role advertised.  Further work includes the evaluation of the other Data Science certificate credentials and a review of how the Data Camp initiative can be developed into a post-qualification credential.

Councillor Jules Gribble presented on CPD and proposed a new CPD Committee that would include a representative from each Practice Committee, Mike Callan, David Minty (Convenor, Code of Conduct Guidance Group), an adult education expert, Lesley Traverso, Jan Swinhoe, an Asia-based member and a non-Sydney based member. The first meeting was held at the end of September.

The draft Terms of Reference were discussed, and it was agreed that this Committee would report to Council with checkpoints throughout next year.

Council meeting 11 September

CEO Report

Elayne reported that the Institute has continued to achieve a lot in terms of both BAU and strategic projects since the June Council meeting.  HQ have found ways to increase the effectiveness of their work whilst reducing resource requirements e.g. reusing See what we see material rather than creating new material.

The Asia tour in June and the CPD tour to NZ in August was very well received. It was pointed out  that having other participants attend – Steve Hui, Annette King, Andy Yang, Robert Chen and Ian Laughlin – was very successful.  Councillors noted the importance of attending the Summit in 2020 and encouraging others to attend.  Consideration is being given to holding a Council meeting and AGM during the Summit in both 2020 and 2021.

Council also acknowledged the great work of Elizabeth Gemmell from the Events Team and was sad to hear she was moving on.

Education update

The education strategy review implementation project overall is on track and discussions have been held with IFoA on providing information to ensure student communications are clear.  The Institute will still award exemptions to our members and the IFoA will likely exempt members seeking to transfer to their associations on an individual basis.

A number of actions are being taken to address risks with the current education system and enhance student outcomes. Among them are an improved environment to improve the pass rate by assisting students with tutorials, communications, exam technique, employer engagement and further quality control in exams.

ICA2022 Steering Committee Update

Councillor Annette King advised that the ICA Organising Committee has had a change of chair with Andrew Boal taking over the role.  Sponsorship is progressing well with the first platinum sponsor secured and being on track for three additional platinum level sponsors by the end of 2019.  The budget is still on track with the Business Events Sydney grant submission having been completed and a decision on the level of the grant expected shortly. 

The draft IAA Regulations were approved by Council. 

See what we see campaign

The second SWWS campaign for 2019 launched on 14 October and featured two advertisements, one involving three C-Suite actuaries and the other three Chief Risk Officers.

Council agreed that the majority of the 2020 campaign budget should be allocated to advertising in 2020 with no new material created.  The existing six groups of actuaries will be profiled in various campaigns throughout next year.

Council also discussed ways of enhancing our social media strategy and want to share material via their networks.   The Communication and Marketing Team will provide Council with a social media tips sheet and regularly forward material to share.

The results of the 2019 Roy Morgan survey report on perceptions of the profession was discussed.  The survey shows high levels of trust versus other financial roles, but significant room for improvement in terms of general awareness of actuaries in the broader profession. The findings will also be shared with members.

Actuary of the Year

Council ratified the recommendation of the Nominations Council Committee that Tim Andrews should be awarded Actuary of the Year 2019.

Committee and Working Groups Update

Public Policy Council Committee:  Convenor Anthony Lowe and John McLenaghan reported that there was a strong pipeline of public policy items on the horizon and that several working groups have been set up including disability income insurance, anti-discrimination, low interest rate and Royal Commission.  Council noted the improved diversity in the membership of PPCC and expressed their thanks for the vast amount and quality of work done.

Superannuation Practice Committee:  Convenor Tim Jenkins and John McLenaghan highlighted the number of actuaries now with superannuation as prime practice area is only 7% and the median age of superannuation members is 10 years older than other members.  It was acknowledged that this is largely due to defined benefit schemes dying out. However, the Committee, through various means, has tried to make sure that members are aware of the diverse areas of Super beyond DB schemes.  It was noted that the SPC membership now has an improved gender balance.

Council positions and election of Vice President:  It was agreed that Company Secretary Glyn Thomas should amend the Policy for the conduct of Council elections to enable the Vice President to be elected in September each year as this would inform the number of upcoming vacancies on Council prior to calling for nominations.

The 2020 Vice President will be elected at the 11 December 2019 Council Meeting.

Anti-Discrimination Working Group Update: Chris Dolman reported that the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission (VEOHRC) recently issued a report into discrimination in the travel insurance industry and had made recommendations to the Actuaries Institute to develop a strategy for educating members regarding anti-discrimination laws which:

  • outlines insurers obligations regarding anti-discrimination laws;
  • outlines actuaries’ role and obligation to comply with these laws as part of their professional obligations; and
  • provides guidance on the standard of actuarial analysis required.

As a result, the ADWG was formed and is focusing on four workstreams to summarise legislation, discrimination in insurance terms and conditions, insurance pricing, and decision-making algorithms/processes (in insurance or elsewhere).  The aim is to complete the paper and present at an Insights session.

Following this, ADWG will assist HQ in developing a formal response to the VEOHRC when it next makes contact in November.

Disability Insurance Taskforce:  Convenor Ian Laughlin reported a series of working groups will be set up and it is expected they will be active for one year. The Taskforce would not be limiting itself to technical issues, but rather, will be focused on bringing about change in the industry.   The reporting framework for the Taskforce will be decided at the November Presidential Committee meeting.  Council thanked Ian for his thought leadership and his significant contribution to the CPD Roadshow in Australia, Asia and NZ.

International Committee:  Council noted that the American Academy of Actuaries is leaving the IAA in July, and that all other major associations (including Australia) have confirmed their commitment to the IAA.  The IAA is currently adjusting to its resulting loss of income and is mindful of its need to serve its members and remain relevant. Convenor Bozenna Hinton emphasised that what happens overseas affects us here in Australia and that we need to be a part of the change and conversation. 

The President expressed her thanks for the huge contribution Bozenna has made to the IAA Renewal Task Force over the past year.

Next meeting

The next Council meeting is on Wednesday 11 December 2019.

Feedback please!

If you would like to provide some feedback or comments, please contact one of your councillors below.

Nicolette Rubinsztein (President)
Hoa Bui (Senior Vice President)
Jefferson Gibbs (Vice President)
Ann-Maree Cook
Andrew Doughman
Jules Gribble
Steve Hui
Annette King
Bill Konstantinidis
David Whittle

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