All being well I will be on holiday when the vote is taken on 23 July to potentially vote out of existence the Faculty of Actuaries in Scotland after 150 years.So I have now cast my vote by proxy and instructed the Chairman to use my vote AGAINST the merger proposals.
The merger debate has been spirited and interesting but at times rather focussing on personalities and minutiae. It would be easy for someone viewing the Actuarial Profession’s online forum to see some of the debate on the detail as slightly obsessive. I started out with a gut feeling that merger was the wrong thing at this time but on reflection and having considered both sides of the argument my reasons for voting against have crystallised into quite a small number of points:
- I believe that it is in the interests of actuaries in Scotland and the future of the financial services industry in Scotland to have its own national actuarial professional body. I may personally live outside Scotland but almost half of Spence & Partners' clients are based in Scotland and almost half of the firm's staff so I believe that I have a legitimate interest in the outcome.
- No provision has been made in the merger proposals for Northern Ireland. There is a population of 1.75 million with a public interest there to protect and enshrining a specified number of seats (ultimately 6) on the Council of the new actuarial body for actuaries in the Scottish constituency (Scotland's population is 5.2 million) and none for actuaries representing Northern Ireland is just unacceptable.
- The future direction of the regulation of actuaries in Scotland should be decided by actuaries based in Scotland not those based elsewhere. Other actuaries have their own national bodies and should not use their vote to end the existence of the national professional body for actuaries in Scotland.
- Merger whilst not irrevocable, in the sense that a new professional body for Scotland could be established in future, could not be easily undone.