Our public interest role
We fulfil our public interest role in the following ways:
We are open and honest, acting impartially and with a sense of justice to all. Our role is to contribute to setting standards and policy in the financial sector, and other areas where we have expertise, in all countries. We should also speak out when appropriate, particularly where the public may not understand the associated risks. This also applies to publishing material which will help the understanding of consumers of financial services and the members of pensions schemes.
We develop and maintain relevant and high-calibre qualifications in actuarial science, providing a range of learning and development opportunities to encourage all working UK resident members to maintain up to date professional knowledge. We also encourage and undertake research which progresses actuarial science.
Members must follow the Actuaries' Code and relevant ethical and technical actuarial standards. We issue practising certificates, licensing people to serve in the roles reserved exclusively for actuaries. We also operate a disciplinary scheme which deals with allegations of misconduct against our members.
The Institute and Faculty of Actuaries does not see as part of its public interest role:
- acting as a regulatory body set up by government in relation to pensions and financial services;
- putting unreasonable or unnecessary constraints on its members’ ability to practise;
- setting technical actuarial standards (these are the responsibility of the Board for Actuarial Standards);
- monitoring the work of all actuaries;
- providing free actuarial or financial advice to members of the public;
- deciding which roles need to be filled by actuaries, what rules to impose on financial services firms and pension schemes, and when to give statutory protection for 'whistle-blowing' - these are all roles for Government or regulators.
Public interest role for individual members of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries
Members should keep their technical skills up to date and comply with the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries’ standards for conduct and ethics. They should be clear about which client they are working for, and bring to their client’s attention any relevant conflicts of interest. They must make sure clients are made aware of the implications for the consumers of financial products and members of pension schemes, of the actuarial work they are doing. They should also:
- communicate the results of their work so clients can make informed decisions;
- comply with the whistle-blowing requirements of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries, the FSA and the Pensions Regulator;
- report other actuaries to the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries if they fail to comply with professional standards;
- take on appointments which have a specific consumer protection role, such as that of independent expert in insurance company restructurings.
Individual members of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries should not be expected to:
- assume the responsibilities of the regulators;
- put constraints on their clients beyond those required by laws or regulation;
- monitor other actuaries unless appointed to do so;
- make decisions that should be the responsibility of their clients.