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Thought Leadership Speaker Series

IFoA Thought Leadership Series, sponsored by Dr Patrick Sun Cheong Poon

In 2021, the IFoA has embarked on a Thought Leadership programme to help promote innovative thinking, debate and discussion both within and beyond the actuarial profession.

The new approach seeks to re-position the IFoA at the centre of key societal issues, some of which are profoundly actuarial, and some which reach out beyond actuarial thought. It strives to cut through the noise, add to the debate and move the conversation forward, whilst engaging and inspiring our audience, whether that be actuaries, politicians, regulators, academics, or the public.

We are grateful to Dr Patrick Sun Cheong Poon for sponsoring this series of events, enabling us to present them free of charge for all delegates.

The series of events includes:

  • The Dr Patrick Poon Presidential Speaker Series (occasional ad hoc speakers on a range of topics)
  • The Finance in the Public Interest Series – 16 to 23 March 2021
  • Actuarial Innovation in the Covid-19 Era – 26 April to 7 May 2021
  • The Behavioural Science Series – April to July 2021

Thank you to our Sponsor Dr Patrick Sun Cheong Poon

Dr Patrick Sun Cheong Poon said: “The actuarial profession has an important role to play in the financial sector as well as addressing society’s wider social, economic and health issues. As a profession, we can be more influential in helping to address some of society’s big issues. In this regard, I am delighted to support IFoA’s inaugural Thought Leadership programme and Presidential Speaker Series – which seeks to address the big sustainability issues of our time".

Mr Patrick Poon Sun-cheong

Dr. Patrick Poon is the Chairman of Shing Cheong Charitable Foundation Limited and Harvest SCP Group Company Limited, his family owned investment enterprise.  He was Treasurer, Council and Court member at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University and Chairman of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University Foundation.  He is now a Council member of The University of Hong Kong, and its Deputy Chairman of Foundation for Educational Development & Research and Chairman of HKU Convocation. 

In 1975, he became the first HK born citizen to obtain the professional qualification of the Fellow of the Institute of Actuaries in UK. Later he also obtained the fellowships of actuaries in Australia, China, Taiwan and USA. He was Past President of the HK Actuarial Society and Past President of the Actuarial Society of Malaysia.  During his 40 years’ career with the life insurance industry, he served as General Manager and CEO at many international insurance companies, such as: AIA Insurance, Aetna, ING Insurance, ING An Tai Life Insurance and China Pacific Life Insurance Company.

Dr Poon is a well-known Philanthropist with donations mainly in the area of supporting tertiary education and community service.

The Dr Patrick Poon Presidential Speaker Series

  • Mathematical Futures and the actuarial profession, 18 May
  • The Growth Mindset, 4 June
  • Action Inquiry and Transformational Leadership, 10 June

The Dr Patrick Poon Presidential Series presents Finance in the Public Interest, sponsored by Milliman

16, 17, 18 and 23 March
Milliman logo

Thanks to Milliman for sponsoring this series of events.


There is widening debate that many of our social, financial and regulatory institutions need to be rethought so that we can create more sustainable futures, particularly in light of the Covid-19 pandemic, the policy/macro-economic response to the pandemic and how it affects consumers, as well as the impending climate crisis.

The ‘Build Back Better’ platform provides actuaries as risk professionals with an opportunity to question whether the financial system is really operating in the public interest, including:

  • Is it meeting consumers’ needs in a post-Covid world?
  • Did it really meet their needs before Covid?
  • How will the system react to even greater challenges, eg. the climate crisis?
  • Is a new school of economic thought required?
  • How can actuaries inform the process of building back better?

This multi-day series of three keynote webinars will be individually presented by leading economist John Kay, and by Sir Paul Collier, Professor of Economics and Public Policy at the Blavatnik School of Government. Ashok Gupta - Chair at Mercer Ltd, Nico Aspinall - Chief Investment Officer at B&CE, Nick Silver - MD of Callund Consulting, and Lucy Saye – Actuary at Aviva working on climate risk and opportunities, will open up an actuarial discussion on these essential topics. The series will culminate in a panel session with the Chief Economist of the Bank of England, Andy Haldane.

Recordings of the sessions can be found on the IFoA's Virtual Learning Environment (VLE)

Actuarial Innovation in the Covid-19 Era

26 April - 7 May

One year on from the peak of the first wave in Europe, our two-week event series Actuarial Innovation in the Covid-19 Era will bring together actuaries from across the profession to share their learnings, insights and experiences of working in the midst of a pandemic. The fortnight series of events - including webinars, panel sessions and a hackathon - will showcase the range of ways in which the actuarial profession has added value, in the public interest, to the understanding and management of the current and future pandemics. A broad and diverse programme includes speakers from the IFoA’s Covid Action Taskforce (ICAT), the Actuaries Response Group (ARG), the Continuous Mortality Investigation (CMI), as well as external speakers from government and academia.

Find out more and book your place

The Behavioural Finance Series

April - July 2021

19 April – Wicked Problems, Clumsy Solutions and Leading Change with Keith Grint
In this event, Professor Grint will outline how the nature of some of the problems we face within our own businesses and organisations - particuarly those around governance, culture and change - range from the complicated to the complex (wicked). He will share his insights on how these issues manifest themselves and how we can resolve them through various solutions: solutions which may themselves be ‘clumsy’.

Find out more and book your place


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Events calendar

  • Spaces available

    In April 2021, the CMI Assurances Committee published Working Paper 150, as a consultation on the proposed “16” Series tables for mortality (including terminal illness) and for accelerated critical illness under non-rated term assurance policies, based on 2015-2018 data. This webinar will provide an overview of the dataset, describe the methodology used to produce the tables, and explore additional analysis of the tables.

  • Spaces available

    The webinar will look at several aspects of intergenerational fairness and our panel of experts will challenge you, society, taxpayers and generations X, Y and Z on key aspects of DB v DC pensions, public v private sector pensions, state benefits and key aspects of sustainability.

  • Pensions Conference 2021

    Online webinar series
    16 June 2021 - 22 June 2021
    Spaces available

    Welcome to the programme for our 2nd Virtual Pensions Conference. This year's conference features 11 webinars offering members and non-members the opportunity to get up to date content from leading experts in the pension industry. There will also be opportunity to ask questions and contribute to the discussion.

  • Spaces available

    Mathematical Futures: The Actuary in a World Transformed – Sir Adrian Smith will outline how advances in data science, machine learning and artificial intelligence in the world of big data will transform the nature of many industries, including financial services. The broader environment within which mathematics is applied will change rapidly, often led by innovative yet disruptive forces outside. These changes will undoubtedly have an impact on the work of actuaries - and the profession will need to adapt quickly to thrive.


  • Spaces available

    This session will explore how the new index has revealed previously uncaptured mortality inequalities by using predictive variables at a high degree of granularity. Globally renowned leader in actuarial science Professor Andrew Cairns and his co-investigator Torsten Kleinow will demonstrate the uses of new LIFE index such as the causes of high or low mortality and regional differences in mortality.

  • Spaces available

    Given our commitment to the safety of our members and employees, and as the easing of restrictions in respect of COVID-19 cannot be guaranteed at this point in time, we have decided to hold our AGM virtually again this year.

    The Business of the AGM

  • Spaces available

    Join newly inaugurated IFoA President Dr. Louise Pryor as she explores what we need to do to keep abreast of the changing world – and how we can seize the resulting opportunities – in her Presidential Address, ‘A Learning Society’

  • Spaces available

    Dr Patrick Sun Cheong Poon, lead sponsor of the IFoA’s 2021 Thought Leadership Programme, will be discussing his motivation for supporting the new events programme with Immediate Past President Tan Suee Chieh. The IFoA’s Thought Leadership Programme seeks to reposition the IFoA at the centre of key societal debates, providing a forum and voice for actuaries to address the social and strategic issues confronting th

  • Spaces available

    The world is changing. The fourth industrial revolution, globalisation and the COVID-19 pandemic are up-ending traditional social and business norms around the world; changes that were once predictable and steady are now faster and more profound.

  • Spaces available

    This is a free webinar on the consultation on changes to the Practising Certificates (PC) Scheme.

    The proposals come from a recent review of the PC Scheme which was the first substantive look at the IFoA’s approach to the requirements and process for PCs since 2010. It responds directly to feedback received on how the current scheme works especially that received from members and PC Holders.

  • Spaces available

    We have entered the global age which is invalidating most of the assumptions upon which our success up till now has depended. For example, in the global planetary society there can be no externalities. Although there is increasing clamour for new ways of thinking, sadly, our attempts to invent such new ways remain trapped in the same historical set of assumptions. The result is that we are faced with three tragedies.

  • Spaces available

    The paper “Asset liability modelling in the quantum era” shall be presented by its authors, Tim Berry and James Sharpe, and chaired by Andrew Smith, Assistant Professor in the School of Mathematics and Statistics at University College Dublin.

  • Spaces available

    Risk Management Webinar ProgrammeInternal audit is often the Cinderella of the audit world. It’s a regulatory requirement for insurance companies to have an internal audit function, so why not make it as useful as possible?  This session will look at how to link an internal audit plan to the risk register, and how that helps audit committees and boards to spot problems and fix them.

  • Spaces available

    Today’s breakneck pace of technological change has an immense impact on leaders—and as a result, on their organizations’ capacity to transform. All too often, executives remain stuck in outdated mindsets and modes of operating, even when they recognize the need to reinvent themselves.

    Leadership expert Herminia Ibarra upends traditional, introspective advice and says act first—in order to change your way of thinking. Whether you are moving into a new role or leading change in your current post, Ibarra shows how you can increase your impact by:

  • Spaces available

    As part of the Behavioural Science Series, David Rooke will explore the leadership capacities and capabilities that may enable actuaries to successfully navigate the challenges of our times. He will discuss how actuaries can apply these principles to ensure the profession succeeds, flourishes, and plays a positive societal role in our global community.

    Following his presentation, David Rooke will be joined by Stephen Mann, CEO at the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries and Anusha Thavarajah, Allianz’s Regional Chief Executive Officer, Life and Health for Asia Pacific for a panel discussion around the themes of the session The panel will be chaired by Tan Suee Chieh.

  • Asia Conference 2021 webinar series

    Online webinar series
    26 July 2021 - 30 July 2021
    Spaces available

    We have made it through 2020 but the COVID-19 crisis continues to have a significant impact on individuals, societies, businesses and the wider economy across the globe. Navigating the world post COVID-19 in an uncertain and highly unstable time brings along many uncertainties, challenges and exciting opportunities. Hence the theme of this year’s IFoA Asia Conference Webinar Series is “Risk. Adapt. Thrive.”