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Thought Leadership Speaker Series

IFoA Thought Leadership Series

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.


The Road to Glasgow: IFoA’s Sustainability Thought Leadership Series

The IFoA is hosting a thought leadership webinar series this autumn ahead of COP26 in Glasgow. Chaired by IFoA President Louise Pryor, the series seeks to convene leading experts, thinkers and decision-makers with our global membership to debate the key sustainability issues of our time which intersect both actuarial science and the interests of wider society. Through the series, we aim to provide a platform for prominent contributors so that our members and others can understand the perspectives of a wide range of parties interested in the climate debate. We will also be promoting the actuarial contribution to addressing climate change and positioning the IFoA at the heart of key debates that will be occurring against the backdrop of COP26. Ultimately, we want to leverage this series to help influence the wider financial sector and society to drive greater ambition and progress against national and global sustainability targets.

Drawing on the expertise of a diverse range of experts from within academia, the financial sector, and the profession’s own thought leadership community around the world, this series is not to be missed at what is a crucial time for action on climate.

With thanks to our Platinum Sponsor Milliman, and Sponsor Star Actuarial Futures

Webinar recordings in this series are now available for you to watch

What do developing nations need from COP26? 

Developing countries are likely to be the most impacted by climate and the least able to afford its consequences. COP26 President Alok Sharma has said that richer nations must deliver now on long-promised funding to help poorer countries fight climate change. The first panel session of the series explored, amongst other things: What do developing countries need from COP26?  Is the developing world leading the way?  What role can actuaries in developing nations play to help meet climate targets? What can we learn from those on the ground?

Dr. Dabo Guan (Professor in Climate Change Economics and the Low Carbon Transition, The Bartlett School of Sustainable Construction, University College London); Professor Saleem Huq (Director, International Centre for Climate Change and Development); Mukami Njeru (Senior Actuary – L&H, Swiss Re); Louise Pryor (Chair)

View the recording >


What will COP26 mean for investment?

Investors – both retail and institutional – have a huge role to play in how the financial sector addresses the climate crisis. With consumers becoming increasingly interested in how and where their money is invested, COP26 represents a pivotal moment for how the industry reacts. Our expert panel explored the implications of COP26 on investment, including both the opportunities and challenges it presents.

Steve Waygood (Chief Responsible Investment Officer, Aviva Investors); Catherine Howarth (Chief Executive, ShareAction); Mike Clark (Director, Ario Advisory); Louise Pryor (Chair)

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Net Zero: Putting interventions into practice

A number of governments around the world have now set net-zero targets – most by 2050. However, few have yet to legislate for the targets. Through this panel session, we explored the different levers that can be used to meet net-zero targets including climate science and data, government engagement, and mobilising green finance. Our expert panel debated just how realistic these targets are or whether they are ambitious enough.

Dr. Emily Shuckburgh (Director, Cambridge Zero – University of Cambridge); Professor Rebecca Willis (Professor in Practice, Lancaster University); Marian Elliot (Global Head of Pensions, GFG Alliance); Louise Pryor (Chair)

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Climate justice and future generations

This session will look at how governments and societies collectively respond to the climate crisis is increasingly being analysed through the lens of intergenerational fairness. An expert panel will assess and explore intergeneric fairness in climate policies as well as how young people can be given a more prominent voice in climate politics.

Jane Davidson (Author of #futuregen: Lessons from a Small Country and Pro-Vice-Chancellor Emeritus at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David); Kudzai Chigiji (Founder, Africans Thinking); Alice Bordini-Staden (Intergenerational Foundation); Louise Pryor (Chair)

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Opportunities for Insurers

This panel of experts from across the industry explored the challenges and opportunities posed by climate change that are facing the sector as we move towards COP26.

Dr. Bronwyn Claire (Senior Programme Manager at Climate Wise), Sharanjit Paddam (Principal, Finity Consulting), Karen Tan (Managing Director, Chief Risk Officer Asia and Global Head of Life & Health Risk Management · Swiss Re)

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Biodiversity loss and financial risk: Bloom or Bust?

This expert panel explored the implications of biodiversity loss for our financial systems and wider society, as well as how the profession could help mitigate the risks it poses.

Speakers: Penny Endersby (Chief Executive of the Met Office), Professor Aled Jones (Director of the Global Sustainability Institute (GSI) at Anglia Ruskin University) and Medha Bhasin (Senior Clerk on the Environmental Audit Committee at the House of Commons)

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The Global Actuarial Response to Climate Change

The climate crisis and the degradation of our planet will affect societies everywhere. How we address these threats will require solutions that transcend borders. As a global profession, the actuarial community is well-placed to consider and propose effective risk management solutions to help manage the climate crisis. This panel session drew on the experiences of actuaries in North America, Europe, and Asia and offered insight into how actuaries are working together to prevent the climate crisis from deepening.

Falco Valkenburg (Immediate Past Chairperson Actuarial Association of Europe); André Choquet (Chair, Climate Change & Sustainability Committee – Canadian Institute of Actuaries); Cynthia Yuan (Senior Risk Manager, China Re); Louise Pryor (Chair)

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The Dr. Patrick Poon Presidential Speaker Series

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

Recordings of the sessions in this series can be found on the IFoA's Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) or by clicking on the titles below:


The Dr. Patrick Poon Presidential Series presents 'Finance in the Public Interest'
Milliman logo

With thanks to Milliman for sponsoring this series of events.

This multi-day series of three keynote webinars were 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, that opened up an actuarial discussion on these essential topics. The series culminated in a panel session with the Chief Economist of the Bank of England, Andy Haldane.

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

Actuarial Innovation in the Covid-19 Era

One year on from the peak of the first wave in Europe, our two-week event series Actuarial Innovation in the Covid-19 Era brought 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 - showcased 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 included 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.

Recordings of the sessions can be found on the Cross Practice page of the IFoA's Online Learning Resources area.

The Behavioural Finance Series 

Wicked Problems, Clumsy Solutions and Leading Change with Keith Grint

In this event, Professor Grint outlined how the nature of some of the problems we face within our own businesses and organisations - particularly those around governance, culture, and change - ranges from the complicated to the complex (wicked). He shared his insights on how these issues manifest themselves and how we can resolve them through various solutions: solutions that may themselves be ‘clumsy’.

Watch a recording of this session

The Growth Mindset with Dr. Helen Wright

Dr. Helen Wright discussed how the adoption of ‘The Growth Mindset’ - a learning theory coined by renowned psychologist Professor Carol Dweck - could help the profession to succeed, flourish, and play a positive societal role in our global community in the midst of such change. Following her presentation, Dr. Wright has joined Nick Salter, Keith Jennings, and Kalpana Shah on a panel discussion around the themes of the session. Chaired by Tan Suee Chieh.

Watch a recording of this session

Systems Thinking & Tragedy of Consciousness with Dr Anthony Hodgson

We have entered the global age which is invalidating most of the assumptions upon which our success up till now has depended. 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. Firstly, the tragedy of the commons; secondly, the tragedy of horizons; thirdly, the tragedy of consciousness. In this free-to-view talk, Dr Hodgson will focus on the tragedy of consciousness and offer invaluable insight into achieving new ways of thinking.

Watch a recording of this session

Reinventing Your Career with Herminia Ibarra

Leadership expert Herminia Ibarra upends traditional, introspective advice and proposes that by acting first, you can change your way of thinking. Whether you are moving into a new role or leading change in your current post, Herminia will demonstrate how you can increase your impact in this free-to-view webinar. 

Watch a recording of this session

The actuary who is only an actuary is not an actuary with David Rooke

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.

Watch a recording of this session

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Events calendar

  • Spaces available

    Over recent months there has been a sharp rise in M&A activity involving British businesses, with interest from overseas, domestic buyers and Private Equity investors.  

  • Spaces available

    Frank Redington is recognised as one of the most influential actuaries of all time. In this talk, Craig will review some of Redington's most important ideas. He will identify the consistent actuarial principles that form a common thread across the contributions Redington made to a broad range of actuarial fields, and will highlight the ongoing relevance of Redington's thinking to 21st century actuarial practice.

  • Spaces available

    The IFoA Mental Health working party look back over their week of blogs and podcasts considering all aspects of the relationship between mental health and life insurance. The expert panel spans adviser, underwriter and actuarial experience and they  explore triggers for purchasing insurance relating to mental health, the various routes to insurance and how these may be more suited to different people depending on their conditions and preferences, the products and processes involved in purchasing these as well as what claims and support are available to policyholders and how to access them.

  • Spaces available

    Part of the 'Finance in the Public Interest 2022' webinar series. If it was ever okay to consider your business in isolation from its surroundings, today it most definitely is not. Thinking about business within its surrounding system is now a necessity. The question we seek to discuss is: How should we prescribe the boundaries in which we consider problems to enable us to create better products and more resilient companies and systems?

  • Spaces available

    What will happen to DC pension savers who see life annuities as poor VFM but still want an income for life?  Pooled annuity funds could offer them a decent lifetime income while reducing significantly the complex choices and risk inherent in income drawdown.  They could be the next generation of CDC pension schemes, slotting into the existing DC framework as a post-retirement option.