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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

    Climate-Related Risk - This free to view webinar on Climate-Related Risk is the first in a series focusing on some of the ‘Hotspots’ identified in the JFAR Risk Perspective bringing the Risk Perspective to life with practical illustrations and insights from subject experts from the IFoA and other Regulators

  • Spaces available

    Recent decades have seen institutions, such as employers and financial services, give people more choice and flexibility, but these freedoms have come with more responsibilities. Individuals are now responsible for managing more of their own financial risks, from ensuring they put enough money into their pension to securing affordable protection to be financially resilient.

  • Actuarial Innovation in the COVID-19 era

    This event is online. 
    26 April 2021 - 7 May 2021
    Spaces available

    Join us for this brand new IFoA webinar weries comprising of a fortnight of webinars, panel sessions and a hackathon, that 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 through insight and learning.

  • Spaces available

    This event is now temporarily closed on Monday 26 April, but the session will be repeated on Tuesday 27 April, 09.00-10.30. Please click here to register your place. 

    Actuaries have a lot to offer biodiversity management over the next decade as the world develops more depth to its response to this global challenge. This sessional offers an opportunity to learn about this emergent risk, to contribute to our thinking as a profession and help us develop the next steps forward.

  • Europe Town Hall

    28 April 2021

    Spaces available

    IFoA Immediate Past President John Taylor would like to invite you to the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries’ (IFoA) virtual Europe Town Hall, hosted by John Taylor with IFoA Council Members Alan Rae, Jennifer Hartley, Maribel Vasquez Flores and IFoA Chief Executive, Stephen Mann.

  • Spaces available

    Sessional Meeting - Free to viewMis-estimation risk is a key element of demographic risk, and past work has focused on mis-estimation risk on a run-off basis.  However, this does not meet the requirements of regulatory regimes like Solvency II, which demands that capital requirements are set through the prism of a finite horizon like one year.  This paper presents a value-at-risk approach to mis-estimation risk suitable for Solvency II work

  • Finance & Investment Virtual Conference 2021

    Available to watch globally in May.
    10-12 May 2021
    Spaces available

    This year's Finance and Investment Virtual Conference takes on the timely theme of ‘resilience’, something we have all learnt a lot more about in the last year! Our diverse range of talks will explore the theme of resilience in a variety of ways including in building robust investment portfolios, in the incorporation of ESG factors, in govern

  • Spaces available

    This talk will explore the potential benefits that wearable tech can bring to health & protection insurers and their customers. The traditional approach of integrating wearables into insurance has largely focused on measuring steps and using rewards-based incentive programs to encourage more activity.

  • Spaces available

    Join us for this talk with Professor Sir Adrian Smith as part of the 'Dr Patrick Poon Presidential Speaker Series'. Professor Smith joined The Alan Turing Institute as Institute Director and Chief Executive in September 2018. In November 2020, he became President of the Royal Society, in addition to his leadership of the Turing. He is also a member of the government's AI Council, which helps boost AI growth in the UK and promote its adoption and ethical use in businesses and organisations across the country. He received a knighthood in the 2011 New Year Honours list.


  • CILA 2021

    Available to watch globally in May.
    19-21 May 2021
    Spaces available

    We continue to live in a world of global uncertainty. Survival depends on our ability to simultaneously navigate through the diverse root-causes, ranging from: the consequences of Climate Change; on-going financial consequences of the COVID pandemic; or self-imposed changes in regulatory requirements and accounting standards.

  • Pensions Conference 2021

    Online webinar series
    16-22 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.