Douglas Isles, our outgoing Convenor of the Wealth Management Subcommittee shares his views on how volunteering has given back to him, the most rewarding part of the role and highlights his greatest achievement volunteering with the Actuaries Institute.
Q: What inspired you to become a volunteer?
While I have an engaging role, speaking to investors in Australia, NZ and US, every interaction, regardless of my intentions, risks being perceived as ‘promotional’. I saw volunteering as an opportunity, via the profession, to make a small contribution to society untainted by any perceptions of it being commercially motivated.
Q: What is the most rewarding part of being a volunteer?
After qualifying in 1999, I have spent my entire career in investment markets, a broad area with its own language and culture. Reconnecting with the profession through volunteering has brought another perspective to light by meeting a range of smart people, with different backgrounds, skills, and perspectives. This has been very rewarding.
Q: What is one piece of advice you would give to other members who are considering volunteering?
Go for it! Everyone can contribute – it does not have to be as a leader, or driver, but simply by being part of a group. You have something to offer, and will have a richer experience through life, if you make more connections, and step outside of your comfort zone. Don’t expect to change the world, just to make a small positive is worthwhile.
Q: How has your career informed your work as a volunteer?
I spent two years as Wealth Management Sub-Committee (WMSC) Convenor – this is my field; I am also Summit convenor for Wealth/Investment. Many starting in actuarial work end up lost to the profession as they go deeper into investment; a profession of itself. There is much more to do to unite this group. Having moved the sub-committee to the SPC this year, we are setting up a dedicated Investment Practice Area to help build this network.
Q: What has been your greatest achievement in your time volunteering with the Actuaries Institute?
I was fascinated by early COVID-19 data and started sharing my observations on social media to improve risk awareness. I joined the COVID-19 working group and published a piece of work, via the Institute, on the greater prevalence of the virus in the community than was being reported. I was calling for more testing. The media picked it up, and the work was put to the PM and CMO, who refuted the assertions, though subsequent research appears to back my view!!
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