Why the Actuarial Profession did not vote for merger

by Brian Spence   •  
I explained in an earlier post why I, as a Fellow of the Faculty of Actuaries in Scotland, did not support the proposals put forward by the leadership of the Actuarial Profession for a merger with the Institute of Actuaries. I was among many actuaries who were surprised to learn that the Faculty of Actuaries voted, by a small margin over the two-thirds majority required, to support the merger whereas the Institute of Actuaries did not vote for the proposals, falling short by a small margin below the three-quarters majority required under its constitution (the differences in voting majority required being historic parts of the respective constitutions of the two organisations). The vote raises some important questions:
  • Was it appropriate for the Actuarial Profession’s leadership to take forward proposals to the stage of a vote when they clearly had not achieved consensus in relation to their proposals?
  • Why did the membership of the Institute of Actuaries not support the merger?  One of the most vociferous opponents of the merger proposals Patrick Lee draws attention in his blog 21st century actuary’s blog to a poll he has set up within the Actuarial Profession’s discussion board (open to members of the Institute and Faculty).  It remains to be seen whether useful information will be derived from this poll and in the meantime we can only speculate.
Possible reasons for individual members of the Institute voting against the Profession’s proposals are:
  • The terms being seen as too generous to the proposed Scottish constituency with no specific provision for other constituencies
  • They did not think the merger process as managed by the Actuarial Profession's leadership was an appropriate way of determining whether or not there should be a national professional body for actuaries based in Scotland   (The Actuarial Profession should release detailed figures as to how the proportions of members supporting the vote varied between actuaries based in Scotland and those based outside Scotland – it should, of course, be a matter for actuaries based in Scotland as to whether they have their own national professional actuarial body.)
  • Dislike of the proposed name – The Chartered Actuarial Profession and/or the designatory initials FCAP that would have gone with it
  • Feeling that there was inadequate consultation on the detail of the proposed new charter
  • Feeling that the Profession’s leadership had not proved their case for merger
The Actuarial Profession's leadership clearly has some thinking to do but the comments made by the President of the Insitute of Actuaries Nigel Masters are encouraging in some ways. “We didn’t quite make the high threshold but it’s clear that the majority of our members did support change. We have to consider why our proposals didn’t command enough support and so the Institute Council will consult with members and look at which elements of the proposal need further improvement.” The problem is that there is an outside world out there that probably doesnt much care about whether the Institute and Faculty merger.  There are many more pressing issues for the Actuarial Profession to address.

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