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New Zealand Society of Actuaries (Inc) PRESIDENT'S NEWSLETTER
 
OCTOBER 2016
 
 
 
Message from the President

Welcome to the October edition of our newsletter. I have written introductions to the newsletter for a number of years now and in several newsletter formats. This new format will connect neatly with our new website and mean that you can read the newsletter directly in this email or link to a series of articles on the website. And you can share the individual articles by email or via Social Media, or read or review them in any way you choose.
 
There has been a great deal of work done behind the scenes recently and in particular related to the website and communications. Things have taken a little longer than we hoped, which has meant we haven’t published this newsletter quite as soon as we had planned. This in turn means it’s quite a lengthy read. In future, we are hoping this new format will facilitate a regular rhythm, and we envisage the newsletter will be more up to date and quicker to cover.
 
With only a month to go before the conference, there is every chance this newsletter will be my last. It has been a great privilege and my pleasure to serve as your president. I have been supported by a tremendous Council and a busy and effective secretariat. A second term allowed us to reconsider our Society’s strategic aspirations and how we might begin to achieve them. Our early conversations about our aspirations have grown recently into an assessment of the Society’s Risk Appetite and what that means for the balance between holding a capital buffer and using the Society’s surplus resources to invest in our future.
 
In between we have engaged with representatives from the IMF, reinforcing the capability and professionalism of actuaries in NZ. We have sharpened our focus on capability and education and formally engaged with sister organisations as the actuarial education syllabus is reviewed. We have strengthened ties with industry bodies, continued to develop a strong association with the Actuaries Institute, and ensured that our Practice Committees have been vigilant when it comes to keeping members up to date with industry trends and their professional obligations.
 
Our members have been active sharing their knowledge at sessional meetings and in particular at the Future Pathways forum that is convened by younger actuaries. And, with the biennial conference imminent, many of us are looking forward to hearing from learned colleagues and catching up with friends in a part of the world we don’t get to very often, at least not to talk shop.

Over the next couple of weeks we will run our biennial members survey to hear your views on how we are performing and how we can best assist you. Please do take 10-15 minutes to complete this. We do read all responses and highly value your input in setting our goals and plans for the years ahead.
 
Do enjoy the newsletter, as it brings you up to date with our world. Get in touch if you have any questions or comments, then look forward to a more regular, fresher (and perhaps shorter) version of the newsletter in future as we refine the way we get our message across.

Enjoy the latest newsletter.
All my best, Richard

 
 
News from Council and Committees
News from Council
Council has been busy as usual across a range of events and strategic imperatives.

IMF visit
In early September, the President, Secretary and Convenors of the Life Insurance and General Insurance Practice Committees met with representatives of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) who were in NZ carrying out research as part of a Financial Sector Assessment Program (FSAP). The last FSAP was in 2004 and ultimately led to IPSA (2010). The meeting was at the request of the IMF, and was one of a number of meetings held with financial sector stakeholders. The questions put to NZSA mainly focused on the important role our profession plays under IPSA and our ability to maintain high professional standards, with the IMF representatives noting that the RBNZ places a lot of responsibility on actuaries.

Actuaries Institute Presidential Visit
In August we were delighted to host Lindsay Smartt, President of the Actuaries Institute, and David Bell, the CEO, for visits in Auckland and Wellington, with both cities hosting well attended President’s Dinners. Lindsay took the opportunity to present on Data Analytics prior to the dinners, and attended meetings with the Commission for Financial Capability in Auckland and the Insurance Council, Reserve Bank, and Victoria University in Wellington, as well as meeting with several NZSA convenors.

Communications
The new website has provided the opportunity to update the way we communicate with our members, stakeholders and the public. As communications has been identified as a key strategic pillar, Council is taking the opportunity to create a formal Communications Committee to oversee the website and the publication of our newsletters.

To facilitate this, each Committee will be asked to nominate a Communications representative, who will be part of a Communications Committee, and tasked with ensuring the relevant content of the website is up-to-date and suitable material is being produced for the newsletter to ensure members are kept informed.

The Communications Committee will be headed by a Chief Editor, and there will also be roles for sub-editors, at any career stage, to help to produce or commission items for the newsletter, as well as a Web Editor (role currently filled). All of these roles will be supported by technical assistance from the Secretariat.

If you are interested in being part of the Communications Committee, please contact Adam Follington, who is the Council portfolio lead.

Risks facing NZSA
Anagha Pasche and Scott Lewis from the Enterprise Risk Management Committee recently hosted two risk workshops for Council to consider the risks facing the Society and the profession. This is part of a financial review Council is undertaking, looking at our capital reserve requirements. The workshops were very valuable, and Council’s thanks go to Anagha and Scott for the excellent job they did.

There is more work to do to bring this to its conclusion, but an update will be included in the reports to the AGM in November.

Strategic imperatives
The four strategic imperatives of Communication, Capability, Influence and Collaboration continue to underpin Council’s thinking and work. Most recently, the output from the Council and Convenors Strategy Day earlier in the year has been turned into a dashboard to measure progress and success, and identify areas requiring more direction. All committee convenors are now reporting their progress against key objectives.

AGM
The NZSA’s AGM will be held in Tauranga on Sunday 20 November, immediately prior to the conference start.
 
Conference update
The 2016 conference is rapidly approaching! This year is the 20th biennial conference of the NZ Society and promises to be an opportunity for the actuarial community to get together and think ahead to the possibilities of the future.

The programme features a great balance between technical papers, relevant external speakers as well as providing fantastic networking functions. This year features two not to be missed evenings - the Hobbiton Social Evening and the Conference Gala Dinner at Mills Reef Winery.

The conference will be held at Trinity Wharf in Tauranga, 20-23 November. Spaces are filling up fast so get in quickly! Visit www.nzsaconference.nz to register.
 
Life Insurance
Sessional meetings were held in Wellington and Auckland in June to consult with members on proposed changes to PS20. The Life Committee would like to thank members for their feedback which is now being considered.

A review of PS21 is also in progress and a draft standard will soon be published for consultation with members. The Life Committee expects to hold sessional meetings to discuss PS21 in the near future.

There have been a couple of committee changes recently. David Chamberlain has replaced Catherine Johnston as convenor, with Catherine remaining on the committee, and Mark Sim has joined the committee replacing Fraser Kerr.
 
General Insurance
The three main items on the committee’s work list at the moment are:
  • IFRS 16 - Leases - this new accounting standard could have unintended consequences for company's reported solvency. We have been talking to the Reserve Bank about this, and are working with the Life Insurance Practice Committee to organise a sessional meeting for later in the year.
  • Solvency Catastrophe Charges - we have set up a working group to advise on this.
  • IPSA review - the Committee intends proactively engaging with the Reserve Bank in this upcoming review.
 
Education and Entrants
The Entrants and Education Committee is planning for a professionalism course to be held in Auckland next year.  Plans are still in their early stages, but the course will be aimed primarily at senior students, and be structured to fulfil the professionalism course requirements of the Actuaries Institute and the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries.  If you’re a Fellow interested in contributing to the development or delivery of the course, please contact Jeffrey Azzato.
 
Banking Interest Group
The Banking Interest Group is looking for new members to strengthen its presence and activity. If you are working or have an interest in this field, please contact Ian Perera.
 
Health
The Health Committee recently prepared a submission of behalf of the New Zealand Society of Actuaries in response to the Ministry of Health’s consultation paper on the Health of Older People Strategy.  

Key points we made were that we supported a holistic view for healthy ageing which would include a well-structured old age savings and health care policy.  There is the opportunity for a Social Investment approach to be used in the evaluation of the long-term costs and benefits of potential initiatives.

We felt the Strategy was light on how the expected increases in the cost of care would be funded and suggested attention be given to the public/ private mix in provision of care and funding.  Health Insurance could play a greater role if there were certain changes to the regulatory regime.

We are hopeful we get the opportunity to discuss our submission further with officials at the Ministry of Health.

A copy of the submission is on the NZSA website.
 
Actuarial science programme at VUW
In 2015, Victoria University launched an undergraduate major in Actuarial Science. Whilst drawn mostly from existing university courses in the School of Mathematics and Statistics and the School of Economics and Finance, three new courses have also been introduced. From 2017, ACTS 201 Financial Mathematics will cover the same material as the Actuaries Institute of Australia Core Technical course CT1, while STAT 335 Statistical Models for Actuarial Science covers material from CT4. There is also a specialist ‘capstone’ final year course, ACTS 301 Actuarial Science, which matches CT5 and is currently delivered in block format by Adjunct Professor Colin O'Hare. Colin is on contract at Victoria and also has a full-time position at Monash University in Melbourne. The regular ACTS 301 lectures are supplemented by guest presentations from NZ actuaries.

Since its inception the interim Program Director has been Dr John Haywood from the School of Mathematics and Statistics. Mid-way through 2017 Dr Eric Ulm will join the School of Economics and Finance and take over the Program Director role from John and the delivery of ACTS 301 Actuarial Science from Colin. Eric is a Fellow of the Society of Actuaries and the current Interim Director of the Actuarial Science Program at Georgia State University (Atlanta). There will be further information on Eric in a later newsletter.

The University is working towards partial accreditation of its program with the Actuaries Institute, who are evaluating an application that was submitted earlier in 2016. Currently students at Victoria need to proceed through the exemption process in the same way as students from other universities, but successful partial accreditation and the appointment of Eric Ulm as Victoria’s Nominated Accreditation Actuary should make the exemption process much more straightforward for students in future. One of the clever initiatives of this programme is that students can complete the major either in a Bachelor of Science or a Bachelor of Commerce, meaning it is open to students from a range of backgrounds and interests. The University has established an Industry Advisory Board of local actuaries to advise on various aspects of the programme.

Victoria is keen to garner the support of the local profession (both in Wellington and more widely), and appreciative of the help given to date. This has included guest lectures, scholarships and internships, prizes and work experience. If your firm would be keen to support the programme in any way, please contact Dr John Haywood or Dr Peter Donelan, Head of School, School of Mathematics and Statistics. John will be at the NZSA Biennial Conference in Tauranga in November 2016 and he would be happy to talk to anyone at the conference about Victoria’s actuarial program.
 
 
Event reports
Pub Quiz
Another great pub quiz was had this year, with again over 70 people in attendance across Wellington and Auckland.  In Wellington there was an amusing "dance-off" for third place which saw Farhaad Kachwalla dancing up a storm against John Gibbs. The winning team on the night included Andrea Gluyas, Paul Rhodes, Michael Clarke, Brett Mainwaring, Jeffrey Azzato and Richard Korte . A special mention must go to the quiz master who kept us entertained throughout, particularly with a cowboy hat being unceremoniously plonked onto the unsuspecting head of a member of the team in last place.  Sadly no dance-offs were on the cards in Auckland (maybe next year!) but the competition was fierce nonetheless.  It went down to the wire, but the ultimate victors on the night were Ineke Fergusson, Ben McLeod, Scott Lewis, Taryn Royeppen, Jason Pushon and Milan Li – well done!
 
An actuarial approach to a sustainable tax system, presented by Darryl Frank
Darryl started his presentation by asking the question "Over the course of their life, does the average person pay enough tax to cover the services they receive from Government?" which really set the scene for his thoughts on how the tax system could be changed in order to provide better accountability and equity between generations of tax payers.
 
He identified three problems:
  • Having a consolidated view of revenue - where all taxes are pooled together before they are allocated to the services they provide.
  • Pay as you go funding - which does not work well when there are significant demographic shifts or policy shifts over time.
  • Reporting and transparency - numbers quoted by government officials are inaccessible to the average person (not many people can comprehend what it means to spend $1b, but they can comprehend $222 per person).
And the answer to his question - in Australia, probably not given increasing life expectancy and medical costs, but it might vary by generation and there is more work to be done.
 
Darryl's original presentation and paper to the Actuaries Summit can be found on the Actuaries Institute website
 
How the Actuarial Profession is helping NZ's most vulnerable people, presented by Dan Stoner and Eric Judd
New Zealand is leading the way with its Social Investment approach and use of rigorous and evidence-based investment practices in the social services sector.  This includes the use of actuarial techniques to better understand the long-term outcomes of social investment and the impact on vulnerable people's lives in the future.  The areas in which actuaries are currently working include:
  • Benefit system (actuarial valuation model)
  • Social housing (actuarial valuation model)
  • Justice (crime analytics)
  • Vulnerable children (actuarial valuation model)
Dan provided an overview of the work which is being done in each of these areas, as well as sharing insight into the challenges, learnings and outcomes thus far in what is a world-leading area of actuarial work.
 
Dan and Eric's presentation can be found on the NZSA website
 
The Great Debate
The annual Auckland versus Wellington debate was held on 23 August, with victory and (temporary) ownership of the Jonathan Nicholls Memorial Trophy up for grabs.
 
This year the format was varied to encourage greater audience participation.  Once the coin toss had decided that Auckland was affirmative for "Self-drive cars spell doom for motor insurance", a period of planning time enabled the audience to assist the debating teams with their respective arguments, rebuttals and general banter. 
 
The debate was generally well-mannered with humour sprinkled amongst somewhat robust arguments. Wellington came out tops for humour including some amusing examples of how humans have a knack of finding ways to be stupid with technology (we're talking a seal, a selfie-stick and a not-so-smart tourist!), but in the end it was Auckland's Darren Fleming who stuck to the structure of a debate and delivered a blow to Wellington's hopes of taking the trophy.  Darren was well-supported by Henry Chueh and Sam Stewart. In Wellington the team comprised Richard Korte, Adrian Allott and James Dawson.  Thank you very much to all the speakers.
 
Analysing & Measuring Risk Culture and Conduct Risk, Presented by Neil Allan
The NZSA hosted sessions for this Webinar and it was very pleasing to have great attendances in both Wellington (13) and Auckland (18). Neil Allan provided a number of insights into organisational and risk culture and its measurement. For example he noted that Organisational culture can be defined as “‘The way things are done around here’ ...when no one is looking!”. The first part of this is easily recognisable but it is the second part that provides further insight as it differentiates between what we might say we would do and what we would actually do. Also when measuring risk culture he highlighted the difference between asking people how they behave compared to asking people what behaviours they observe in their organisation. If there is a poor behaviour in an organisation it is easier for an individual to call that out in others than to admit to it themselves. There was time after the Webinar for a discussion and there was very positive feedback about using Webinars as an easy way for society members to meet up in areas of common interest.
 
Have you thought about doing the CERA qualification?
by Charmaine Green, ERM Committee
Do you want to obtain a globally recognised risk management qualification that could expand your career options? Perhaps you want to combine actuarial science with the theoretical, practical and professional principles of Enterprise Risk Management (ERM). Maybe you are wondering how you will meet your CPD requirements next year. Or maybe you just want to understand some of the jargon when you have a meeting with the Risk team in your organisation.

With the ever increasing complexity in organisations, risk management is becoming a greater focus. Regulatory requirements are placing a greater emphasis on risk management and there is a growing need for actuaries who are able to understand and communicate these concepts. The CERA qualification will improve your skills in assessing and managing the entire risk spectrum of an organisation, including financial, operational and strategic. The CERA qualification is globally transferable and could expand your career options, potentially opening up opportunities for you outside the traditional actuarial work areas.

CERA is a Chartered/Certified Enterprise Risk Actuary/Analyst, the translation of the acronym varies depending on what actuarial body you gain your qualification through. To become a CERA you need to qualify as an actuary (associate or fellow) and pass the relevant ERM course. If you are already an actuary, you can still sit the relevant ERM course. This is the IoA ST9 Enterprise Risk Management specialist technical paper and then a one day seminar or workshop.

The one day seminar/workshop considers aspects of ERM which are not able to be included within the three hour ST9 exam and are attended after the exam.  Practical applications of ERM are deliberated through the use of discussions, debates, case studies and team exercises, of which some preparation is required beforehand. 

For those of you who have qualified already, it might seem a little daunting to dust off the study desk and hit the books again. I know, I did it a couple of years ago. I enjoyed the course, particularly the case studies of what not to do and the real world applications of ERM. It solidified many of the risk concepts that I was already exposed to within my actuarial role. 

If you are still studying, ERM is a practical and relevant course to consider as one of your options. If you are looking for a course which has practical applications to all facets of actuarial work then ERM is worth a look. Or maybe you are looking for alternative options in your path through the exams, perhaps you want another option when you come to sit CAP, or you don’t want to sit pensions. Whatever your reasoning, I would recommend taking a look at adding the CERA qualification to your resume.
 
Members’ news
New members and change of membership class
Fellows
Aaron Tindale, Munich RE
Abigail Marwick, Ernst & Young
Anton Kapel, AMP
Bartosz Piwcewicz, Sovereign
Ben Trollip, Melville Jessup Weaver
Bridget Brown, Ernst & Young
Chris O'Hehir, Ernst & Young
Chris Watts, Independent
Marco Welgemoed, Sovereign

Associates              
Chris Sissons, Melville Jessup Weaver
Farhaad Kachwalla, Melville Jessup Weaver
Jiwon Chum, Cigna
Leanne Reynolds, Vero

Students
Aaron Park, Melville Jessup Weaver
Advait Kirtikar, Taylor Fry
Christopher Wilkinson, AMP Services
Geyang Mao, IAG
John Park, IAG
Matthew Bray, Taylor Fry
Michelle Porter, PwC
Yanchuan Zhang, Sovereign
 
Upcoming events/save the date
20 November 2016 - NZSA Conference, Tauranga
December 2016 - Christmas lunch (date to be confirmed)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
If you have any thoughts on a newsworthy item for next year or feedback on this year’s newsletters, please contact Chantal at the Secretariat:
society@actuaries.org.nz.
 
 
 
Copyright © 2016 NZSA, All rights reserved.


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