Actuaries in South Africa have been and will continue to be challenged on professionalism and what it means in a world where uncertainty and the pace of change is rapidly increasing. The COVID-19 pandemic, and the ability of the Actuarial Society of South Africa to respond, exposed significant problems in this regard.
The future actuary will be required to exhibit higher order understanding and judgment skill sets in an increasingly uncertain world of rapid technological advancement, war, energy crises, macro-economic and political uncertainty. This will require actuaries that are responsive to change but also ones who have technical rigour and professionalism. The Society and actuaries more generally, will need to be able to step out and up to address these issues in a professional manner, contributing not just to the technical arena, but also to the public interest.
The Southern African context provides additional challenges here as actuaries need to address these challenges in the context of a developing country and continent, where education and inclusion will demand innovative solutions for our profession and also for our country.
I believe South African actuaries need to focus on this by doing the following:
- Making sure the actuaries are making relevant contributions to emerging topics such as machine learning, AI, NHI and emerging sources of risk. The model of the COVID-19 Actuaries Response Group may be a key approach to enable actuaries to stay responsive and relevant in the debate. Where existing structures are there, it would also be good to encourage more timeous and relevant outputs being made while still applying appropriate levels of rigour.
- Making sure the Society's professional standards, Code of Conduct and Disciplinary Process is up to the task of ensuring that actuaries have the guidance they need, ensuring the Society can properly and in a consistent manner address issues of misconduct timeously and appropriately, especially in areas of emerging uncertainty and risk.
- Ensure the development of young actuaries that have these hard technical skills but also the judgement and professionalism required to make sense of this rapidly changing world.
- This all needs to be done with a particular focus on inclusiveness within the actuarial profession. Without developing an inclusive and diverse profession, it will not stay relevant.
These challenges also require an active membership willing to vote, so as an actuary, make sure you vote in the election for Council members as well as President of the Society. Find the email with your password and go make your vote! If you have not received the email please reach out to the Society to ensure you get it.
I feel passionate about these issues and for this reason I am standing for the Council of the Actuary Society of South Africa. I would appreciate your support.