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Letter to the Financial Times - With access to the facts, voters can make Brexit decision

The Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (IFoA) submitted a letter to the editor of the Financial Times, which has been published today, 15 January 2016, in response to Martin Wolf's recent column A vote for Brexit is a leap into the abyss.

Download the IFoA's letter, or read the full text below:

Martin Wolf suggests that the EU Referendum “will be decided by fear, hope and, not least, trust”, and that “the detailed issues are too complex for the public to judge.”  Wolf is, without doubt, right, the issues are complex.  However, he is wrong to say that they are too complex for the public.  It is vitally important that the electorate has access to facts and analysis that they can trust, enabling them to make an informed decision.

We have already seen a number of vested interests coming out strongly in favour of their preferred outcome.  However, there is a crucial role for professional bodies, such as the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (IFoA), to inform the debate in a trusted, neutral and impartial way as part of our duty to act in the public interest.  The IFoA will therefore be providing vital analysis of issues where actuaries can add a unique perspective, as trusted analysis, based on facts and evidence, is an essential element of informing the public. We would encourage other public interest professional bodies to use their unique position and skills to do the same.

We all know that the referendum will have wide-ranging and significant impacts on many parts of British society, in both the short and the long term.  This once in a generation decision whether to stay or leave the EU has been deemed too important not to take to the electorate, we must all discharge our responsibility to make sure that electorate is enabled to act on the complex issues thrown up.


Derek Cribb
Chief Executive
Institute and Faculty of Actuaries

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