IFoA secures major sponsor for Thought Leadership series and donation to the IFoA Foundation

The Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (IFoA) has secured a major sponsorship agreement with Dr Patrick Sun Cheong Poon to support its newly conceived Thought Leadership Programme.

The new programme seeks to re-position the IFoA at the centre of key societal debates, providing a forum and voice for actuaries in addressing the pressing social issues of our time and the strategic issues which confront the IFoA and the profession.  This is in keeping with the IFoA’s strategy and its vision for actuaries to deploy their skills, expertise, and influence in new and wider areas.

The programme will encompass thought leaders and past Presidents of the IFoA, external policy makers, academics and thinkers like Dr. Helen Wright (education specialist and NED), Professor Herminia Ibarra of London Business School, Dr Andy Haldane of the Bank of England, and Professor Sir Adrian Smith, President of the Royal Society. The agenda will be wide ranging and will cover Covid-19, finance in the public interest, mathematical futures, transformation of the profession, and behavioural science and sustainability topics. All these speak to actuarial thought leadership or to the transformation agenda of the IFoA. More information on the Thought Leadership Programme is attached in the Notes to Editors.  

Dr Patrick Sun Cheong Poon will also be providing a generous donation to the IFoA Foundation. The Foundation is the independent charitable arm of the IFoA. It’s mission is ‘Actuaries Supporting Others’, with a vision to open doors for the next generation of actuaries and empower the profession to be transformative in addressing global challenges. The Foundation gives opportunity to actuaries and future actuaries from all backgrounds, celebrates excellence at the cutting edge of the profession and works in partnership to unlock solutions to critical priorities, from pandemics to climate change.

As a result of Dr. Poon’s generosity, the Foundation will be setting up a GBP 500,000 scholarship fund in Greater China and South-East Asia to provide bursaries for actuarial students at eligible IFoA accredited universities across both regions.

Dr. Poon has had a career spanning over 40 years in the insurance industry in Greater China and South-East Asia. In 1975, he became one of the earliest Chinese-born citizens to become a Fellow of the IFoA. Dr Poon is also a Member of the American Academy of Actuaries and many Asian-based regional actuarial societies. He has served as a board member of the International Insurance Society and is a Past President of both the Actuarial Society of Hong Kong and the Actuarial Society of Malaysia.

Tan Suee Chieh, IFoA President, said:

“I first met Patrick at the age of 17 in 1977 to seek his advice as he was one of the earliest qualified actuaries practising in Malaysia at that time. He is one of the IFoA pioneers and legendary actuaries in the region and has generously supported the pursuit of actuarial science over many years.

We are deeply appreciative of Patrick’s kind generosity and look forward to a productive philanthropic partnership.”

Kartina Tahir-Thomson, IFoA Foundation Chair, said:

"On behalf of the Trustees of the IFoA Foundation, I would like to express our sincere thanks to Dr Poon for his extremely generous support that will create real momentum towards our goals. As a visionary philanthropist and actuary, Dr Poon lights a trail that follows centuries of tradition as part of a profession that has always given back. We look forward to welcoming Dr Poon as a valued peer and partner who shares our passion for unlocking the power of the actuarial profession for positive, transformational change in our global society."

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.

“The IFoA Foundation’s China and South-East Asia Fund aims to provide bursaries to actuarial students in the region. IFoA’s educational approach and influence in this part of the world has progressed well in the last three decades. I hope this initiative will go some way to make IFoA programmes even more accessible to students in their early careers and enhance IFoA’s presence in this region.” 


Media contacts

Sonia Sequeira, Media Relations Manager, IFoA
Tel: +44 7525 592 198
Email: sonia.sequeira@actuaries.org.uk

Caryn Chua FIA, Actuary Representative of South-East Asia
Tel: +65 8838 5848
Email: caryn.chua@actuaries.org.uk

Notes to Editor

About the IFoA Thought Leadership Programme

The IFoA’s five-year strategy was launched in 2020 and contains five pillars:

  • Pillar 1: We revive the spirit of a learned society and bring thought leadership to the foreground.
  • Pillar 2: We implement the Vision, Skills, Mindsets, Domains (VSMD) strategy, with pace and urgency.
  • Pillar 3: We encourage the IFoA Executive Team to accelerate their cultural transformation.
  • Pillar 4: We reappraise, with courage and imagination, the governance arrangements of the IFoA.
  • Pillar 5: As a profession, we embark on a cultural transformation to create room for courage, curiosity, adaptability, judgement, imagination and a growth mindset.

In seeking to achieve Pillar 1, IFoA President Tan Suee Chieh has led a revival of thought leadership within the profession through the curation and implementation of a new approach to innovative thinking, debate and discussion.

The new approach seeks to re-position the IFoA at the centre of key societal debates; some of which are profoundly actuarial, whilst others reach out beyond traditional 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.

Above all, the approach aims to build the IFoA reputation as an authority in order to support our strategic objectives and to execute our public interest duties. This is in keeping with the organisation’s VSMD strategy and its vision for actuaries to deploy their skills, expertise and influence in new and wider areas.

Commencing in January 2021, the IFoA Thought Leadership Programme comprises a number of events throughout the first half of the year, all with strategic links to the IFoA strategy. There are four core series of events:

  • The Presidential Speaker Series
  • Finance in the Public Interest Series
  • Actuarial Innovation in the Covid-19 Era Series
  • Behavioural Science Series

The Presidential Speaker Series

Chaired by members of the IFoA Presidential Team, the series seeks to convene experts in fields connected with the work of actuaries and the sectors they work in, with the IFoA’s community, to provide stimulating debate and thought leadership on the important issues of our time.

Finance in the Public Interest Series (16, 17, 18 and 23 March 2021)

Over the course of four days, the Finance in the Public Interest series will bring together renowned figures in financial regulation to explore whether the system actuaries operate within is still fit for purpose given the various disruptive forces at play. Leading economist John Kay, Sir Paul Collier and Andy Haldane (Chief Economist, Bank of England) will share their perspectives on the growing 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. They will give their views against a backdrop of policy and macro-economic response to the pandemic, how it is affecting consumers, and the role of the financial system in responding to the impending climate crisis. A roundtable event of actuaries will bring a practitioner perspective to the same debate.

Actuarial Innovation in the Covid-19 Era (26 April – 7 May 2021)

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 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-19 Action Taskforce (ICAT), the Actuaries Response Group (ARG), and the Continuous Mortality Investigation (CMI), as well as external speakers from government and academia.

Behavioural Science Series

We are grouping some of the speaker events which share common aspects of behavioural science into a ‘themed’ series. We expect these to run from May to July 2021 across a number of dates, and these are included in the events supported by Dr Poon’s generous sponsorship.

About the IFoA Foundation’s Scholarships

Currently, students from the following IFoA accredited universities are eligible to receive the Foundation’s Scholarships if they meet the selection criteria:

  1. Asia Pacific University, Malaysia
  2. Beijing Technology and Business University, China
  3. Central University of Finance and Economics, China
  4. Fudan University, China
  5. Heriot-Watt University, Malaysia
  6. Mahidol University, Thailand
  7. Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
  8. Shanghai University of Finance and Economics, China
  9. Sunway University, Malaysia
  10. University of Hong Kong, Greater China
  11. University of Malaya, Malaysia
  12. Universiti Teknologi MARA, Malaysia
  13. Xi’an Jiaotong Liverpool University, China
  14. Zhongnan University of Economics and Law, China

About the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries

The Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (IFoA) is a royal chartered, not-for-profit, professional body.

Research undertaken by the IFoA is not commercial.  As a learned society, research helps us to fulfil our royal charter requirements to further actuarial science and serve the public interest. 

Actuaries provide commercial, financial and prudential advice on the management of a business’s assets and liabilities, especially where long term management and planning are critical to the success of any business venture. They also advise individuals, and advise on social and public interest issues.

Members of the IFoA have a statutory role in the supervision of pension funds and life insurance companies. They also have a statutory role to provide actuarial opinions for managing agents at Lloyd’s of London.

Members are governed by the IFoA. A rigorous examination system is supported by a programme of continuing professional development and a professional code of conduct supports high standards reflecting the significant role of actuaries in society.

The IFoA is available to provide independent expert comment to the media on a range of actuarial-related issues, including Covid-19 and its long term consequences, mortality, pensions, life and general insurance, health and care, finance and investment, climate change and sustainability, systems thinking, uncertainty and judgement, and risk management.


Contact Details

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+44 (0) 20 7632 2126

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