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New Zealand Society of Actuaries (Inc) PRESIDENT'S NEWSLETTER
 
MARCH 2017
 
 
 
Message from the President

Dear members,
 
My first few months as President have been unexpectedly busy, but I'm hopeful that's a sign that there's a lot happening and progress is being made.
 
In December, representatives from the General Insurance and Life Committees as well as Ross Simmonds and myself met with the Reserve Bank on a number of matters, but primarily discussed two issues. The first was solvency reserves for general insurers following the Kaikoura earthquakes, in particular the requirements under paragraph 51 of the Non-Life Solvency Standard in relation to reinstatement premiums. The Reserve Bank's response reiterated the need for appointed actuaries to be prudent in assessing capital and solvency, and they have undertaken to provide feedback to appointed actuaries on dealing with uncertainties, including section 24 notification. The Society has offered to assist in facilitating a suitable forum for this feedback.
 
The second key issue was the capital charge for insurers on awaited EQC recoveries from paid claims under the new arrangements whereby insurers manage claims on behalf of EQC. We submitted that a capital charge of 2% was too high and that this should be 0.5% (the Sovereign Debt asset charge) or less. The Reserve Bank has advised that it is looking at capital charges on a number of recoveries, seeking input from insurers, and working with ICNZ on this matter.
 
While we were there, we also raised the Insurer Data Collection process the Reserve Bank undertakes, which we know is a source of frustration to many members. The Reserve Bank clarified that they purposely ask for data in a format which differs from the financial statements because companies report very differently and the Bank's intent is to develop consistent data over the entire industry. We've also been advised that the data is better when the actuaries are involved - so please give yourself a pat on the back. The Society offered to assist with any review of the Insurer Data Collection return although given the newness of the regime, a major review is not planned at present. John Smeed and I have another catch-up with the Reserve Bank planned for mid-March to check progress on these issues.
 
Last week Council and Committee Convenors met and worked on our strategy under the four pillars of Capability, Collaboration, Communication and Influence. It is always great to get everyone in the same room, see ideas spark off each other and hear from each person on what's happening in their particular space. Each attendee was a valuable contributor, and I thank everyone who attended for taking the time out of their busy working lives to further serve the profession.
 
The theme of Collaboration has been front of mind for me. I have been having monthly phone calls with my counterpart in Australia, Jenny Lyon, which have been very valuable. In mid-March I will be joining the Australian Institute's Council at their quarterly meeting, as well as meeting with a number of Institute staff members in areas such as communications, volunteering, and international activities. Jenny, CEO David Bell and I will also get together on how we can enable better collaboration across the Tasman. There's been some press on me being the first female President of the Society but, as far as I know, I'm also the first NZ President who qualified through the Australian Institute. Working with our Australian counterparts therefore seems very natural to me - as well as a very sensible step in ensuring our profession taps into international thought leadership on how to stay relevant in this fast-changing world. I'm also very much looking forward to hosting Jenny and David in New Zealand in the first week of August on their annual visit and CPD Roadshow.
 
Influence is another area the Society has been hard at work on. Our very successful Retirement Income Interest Group has produced another fabulous paper following their presentation to the 2016 Conference.  "Decumulation Rules of Thumb" has the support of the Commission for Financial Capability, and I was delighted to attend a meeting recently with officials from MBIE and the Financial Markets Authority who were very excited to hear about our work and how it complements their thought processes. We are currently working on a plan to formally launch the Rules of Thumb to providers and officials in the next month or two.
 
The Communication space has not been forgotten either, with a great meeting of nearly 30 actuarial students for lunch in Auckland to hear first-hand how the NZSA can better meet the needs of our younger members. I enjoyed meeting many of our newest members, and could see how good it was for everyone to have a chance to meet each other. Further events just for students are definitely on the horizon, with a mix of social and business looking likely to tick the box. Again, thanks to all those who attended and I'm looking forward to meeting with Wellington students later in the month as well.
 
In the last newsletter I picked up on the challenge laid down to us at Conference to read more books. I made forays into three of the recommended list over the summer break, and enjoyed all of them immensely - they were thought provoking, encouraging and one had me trying several new websites and apps. I have a new challenge for you this month, following a recent exchange with a hitherto very well respected colleague at after work drinks. In the midst of a discussion about actuaries' work, he told me that where he used to work, they thought of actuaries as "a particularly irritating kind of accountant, who keep changing their discount rates and blowing our budgets". (Luckily for him he had prefaced this with "You're not going to like this!") Our profile as a profession is a topic very dear to my heart. We have a long game to play to solve perceptions like this, and we need to be competing in it now. It starts right at the beginning, with whom we recruit into the profession, how we retain those people with interesting and meaningful work, and how we broaden their skills by offering wide-ranging development opportunities. It includes all of us considering the world from the perspective of those around us and looking to add value to the businesses we work for. We may not be able to control discount rates but we have so much more to offer than particularly irritating accountants. See how many runs you can get on the board today.
 
All the best
Andrea
 
 
 
Awards and Acknowledgements
Keith Taylor
Congratulations to NZSA member Keith Taylor who has been named as officer and member of the New Zealand Order of Merit.

This is a wonderful recognition of Keith’s contribution to the EQC and the handling of the Canterbury earthquakes in particular. Read more about Keith’s achievements here.
 
Sam Stewart
Congratulations to Sam, who has been awarded the Andrew Prescott Memorial Prize by the Actuaries Institute for Course 2A Life Insurance for Semester 2 2016.

This prize is awarded to the candidate with the highest aggregate mark in the course across both semesters.
 
Elton Chan
Elton has been awarded the Andrew Prescott Memorial Prize by the Actuaries Institute for Course 2B Life Insurance for Semester 1 2016. Congratulations Elton!

The Andrew Prescott prize recognizes the top candidate who sat these exams across Australasia. Two kiwis winning awards for 2016 shows the level of talent we have here in NZ.
 
News from Council and Committees
Committee updates
Conference 2018
Catherine Edgar has accepted the role of Convenor of the 2018 Conference Committee. Leck Tham, Nick Warren and Leanne Reynolds will form the Committee.

Professional Standards
Remember to provide feedback regarding exposure draft PS20 which is due by March 14. Further detail is available here.

Good progress is being made on aligning PS21 and PS31. The main matter of substance outstanding is the action an actuary takes when not presented with sufficient information to undertake a review.

Sessional meetings have taken place in respect of PS90 and PS91 and alignment with ISAP1.

Website
Minor updates are being made to the website as they are picked up and all members are encouraged to send through anything they notice. The Communications Committee is looking to create a list of all web-pages and assign them to specific committees or Council, and setting up a structure to ensure they are regularly reviewed and updated.

Education and Entrants
The exam intentions survey has been undertaken and all participants put in touch with others studying the same subject. Jeffrey Azzato has resigned as Convenor and a new Convenor is now sought – please contact John Smeed if you are interested in this role.
 
Capability, Collaboration, Communication and Influence
On February 20th, the council and committee convenors met to reaffirm the strategy for the NZSA and set goals for the 2017 year. Read the highlights from our recently held strategy day here.
 
Volunteers required 
We have two interesting and challenging roles we are seeking volunteers for.

Convenor, Education and Entrants Committee - Jeffrey Azzato has resigned as Convenor, so we are seeking a motivated person with an interest in Education to take on the role. In line with Council's Convenor appointment policy, this is initially a three year appointment. If you are interested, please contact John Smeed.

Coordinator, NZ Professionalism Course - The Society is keen to host a professionalism course in Auckland sometime this calendar year, and is seeking a keen volunteer to take on responsibility for ensuring compliance with international requirements, arranging speakers, budgeting and logistics (though assistance from the Secretariat is available to help with this). If you are keen to take on this one-off project, please contact Andrea Gluyas.
 
Services provided by the Secretariat 
In response to a question raised at the AGM in Tauranga, Council undertook to provide a note to members of the services ONZL provides to us. Read about what ONZL do and why the society chose this option here.
 
Events Committee
Last year our Events Committee delivered 13 member events, read the results of our membership survey here.
 
2016 Membership Survey
Council undertakes a Membership survey is every two years to:
  • track how we are going
  • understand what concerns members
  • inform Council strategy
  • measure the effectiveness and reception of the newsletter and events
  • understand help wanted by students
  • provide a snapshot of the professions demographics.
This year’s survey also included questions on specific issues; the possible review of the CPD and investment standards, interest and participation in Enterprise Risk Management and the timing and nature of events. Initial results were presented at the AGM in Tauranga and a fuller recap can be found here

Key highlights were:
  • increasingly students are choosing to qualify through the Actuaries Institute, Australia
  • there is still little appetite for the Society to engage in social media
  • life insurance and general insurance were the primary practice areas for three quarters of respondees
  • generally, members were happy with Council’s current budget priorities
  • satisfaction with the services provided by the Society was up across almost all categories
  • and, for those of you organizing evening events, the most popular start time was 5:00pm except for those outside the Auckland CBD or North Shore – who preferred 5:30pm.
For the first time members were asked which external organisations they felt it was most important for the Society to have strong relationships with. The top ten were as follows:

1       Actuaries Institute (Australia)
2       Reserve Bank
3       Victoria University of Wellington Actuarial Science
4       International Actuarial Association
5=      Insurance Council of New Zealand
5=      Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (UK)
7       Financial Services Council
8       The Treasury
9       Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (NZICA)
10      FMA


When asked about the three main issues they would like the Society to address for them now, CPD, the Society’s profile and external relations, and the ongoing relevance of the profession were the most common responses. In the slightly longer term (next three years), a raised external profile topped the list, with heightened internal operations and services and a focus on educational pathways and membership also making the list. Events were identified as the most valuable service provided by the Society. Thanks all responders, and in particular those who took the time to make comments.
 
NZSA Event Reports
Summer Drinks - Wellington
There was a great turnout in Wellington for drinks this year, with about 15 people in attendance – even the sun was briefly in attendance for the “summer” drinks. The conversation didn’t quite make it to Trump’s hair secrets and the Auckland housing market, although there were murmurings about Wellington house prices when it came to Ross’s new place in Khandallah. Dillengers, just off Midland Park, was a really nice venue, although the black and white movies playing were an interesting touch, when most bars would play sports.
 
Students Lunch – Auckland
On Tuesday 21st February, 26 student members of the Society joined the Andrea Gluyas (President), John Smeed (Vice President) and Jenn Dobinson (Events and Web Editor) for lunch in Auckland.  The purpose of the lunch was to provide student members with an opportunity meet each other and to meet with the President to share their ideas for how the Society engages with them. A number of suggestions were made and discussed, with the general consensus being that more student focused forums and activities would be appreciated. Future Pathways is one such event and the Events Committee will review other suggestions from this meeting, and a further meeting to be held in Wellington on 13th March. There was also discussion about forming a Students Committee to represent Student members' views and about ways to communicate through means other than email - Facebook and txt being two options. Thanks to all the participants for coming along and sharing their ideas.
 
 
Upcoming Events
Future Pathways – 7 March in Auckland and 8 March in Wellington.
Topics include:
•    Battle lines – Mergers and Acquisitions in the NZ GI Market and the decline of affordable insurance
•    The Impact of Autonomous Vehicles on the General Insurance Industry 
•    The Treasury’s long-term fiscal model – healthcare: an actuarial perspective.
Register for Auckland and Wellington
 

Actuarial Students lunch with the President – 13 March in Wellington. 
Unfortunately there has been a mix-up with the dates that were previously advertised for this event and the lunch will actually take place on Monday 13 March not Tuesday 7 March.  If you can are keen to attend, there is still time to register. The start time and venue have not changed (12:30pm at PwC).
 
Upcoming webinars
APRA insights on Risk Culture – 7 March 2017
While this webinars is run by the Actuaries Institute, it is not necessary to be a member to view it. From past experience the webinar starts 30 minutes after the beginning of the event, while the members in attendance have refreshments.
 
Notice Board
Job Opportunities
One of the features introduced with the launch of our new website last year is the ‘Job Opportunities’ page. This is a great space to advertise to people seeking actuarial roles in New Zealand and we encourage employers to list any vacancies here. Please contact the Secretariat for more information.
 
IAA Mortality Working Group
An update from the latest meeting of the International Actuarial Association (IAA) Mortality Working Group is now available. The update references links to a number of papers and presentations discussed at the meeting including a report on E-Cigarettes and updates on mortality around the world. Please take the opportunity to answer their survey to shape what future updates might cover.
 
2018 International Congress of Actuaries
The call for papers for the 2018 International Congress of Actuaries has just been published. We also encourage you to view their latest newsletter: www.ica2018.org
 
Members' News
Congratulations to new Fellow Leck Tham
Leck Tham, Cigna

Leck Tham
Leck spent the first five years of his actuarial career at Sovereign before taking some time out to travel around Europe and the USA. Since then he has settled down in Wellington, working for Cigna Life NZ in both valuation and pricing roles.

Leck thought he would be spending his newly found spare time learning a new language or musical instrument, but instead he is experiencing the joys of parenthood to his 13 month old boy.
 
New members and change of membership class
Fellow
Briallen Cummings, KPMG
Chris Sissons, Melville Jessup Weaver
Gerard Callaghan, KPMG
Keith Chong, KPMG

Associate
Ken MacKechnie, Westpac
Toni Roberts, Suncorp

Student
Hannah van Crasbeek, Finity Consulting
James Pearson, Sovereign
Nandini Chand, AON Hewitt
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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 © 2017 NZSA, All rights reserved.


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