Back to the Code

The general duty to communicate appropriately

8.1 Principle 6 of the Code provides that: Members must communicate appropriately.”

8.2 Members are expected to present information in a way that is accurate, impartial and in accordance with relevant professional standards  so that users who are relying on that information can both understand the context of the information and be clear about the message being conveyed.  Communication is, therefore, a key part of a Member’s role.  In order for Members to ensure that their communications (both written and oral) are appropriate, understanding the purpose and nature of their instruction is key.  

Judging what is appropriate

8.3 Appropriate communication is very often a matter of putting oneself in the place of the intended audience.  For example: 

  • Is the communication courteous and professional? 
  • Are recommendations or options to be considered and the implications of each set out clearly?
  • Is it clear what you are asking of the user where you are requesting something from them?   
  • Will they be able to navigate easily to the sections that are most relevant to their needs?
  • Will they understand the basis on which estimates and calculations have been made, and the appropriate degree of confidence in the results?  
  • Above all, is the document fit for purpose, and appropriate for the use to which it is to be put?  

Answering these questions requires not just good judgement and a high standard of written communication, but also a degree of imagination and empathy.


Taking responsibility for your work

8.4 Amplification 6.2 requires that Members show clearly that they take responsibility for their work.  It is essential to the trust in which the profession is held that there is clear accountability for any work carried out by Members.  It would not be appropriate therefore for communications to users to be presented anonymously, especially where they are likely to influence or be relied upon by the user.

8.5 It may sometimes be the case that the person taking ultimate responsibility for work has not themselves carried out the bulk of the work.  In cases like this, the person taking responsibility for the work will need to ensure that they have fully understood what has been done and have carried out any relevant checks before signing the work.

8.6 Users are entitled to expect that the Member who has carried out a piece of work is satisfied that the information being provided is suitable and accurate.  Members are expected to ensure that they are never knowingly associated with misleading information. 


Social and other media 

8.7 This section details some of the considerations Members may wish to have in mind when using social media. Much of the guidance would however apply equally to Members’ communications using other types of media, for example television or the printed press.

8.8 When used appropriately social media can be an extremely useful tool which allows Members to communicate quickly and effectively with other Members as well as the wider public.  Discussion forums and social networking sites enable Members to reach a larger audience than they might otherwise be able to and are a way for Members to share ideas and develop professional working relationships.  While the use of social media is therefore encouraged, its many benefits need to be balanced against the risk that it can sometimes pose to a Member’s professional reputation if used inappropriately.

8.9 Members can put their professional reputation and membership of the IFoA at risk if they act in a way on social media that is unprofessional or unlawful.  This might include (but is not limited to): 

  • sharing confidential information inappropriately - often there will be legal requirements prohibiting the disclosure of certain personal and sensitive information whether online or otherwise; 
  • posting inappropriate comments about others (including users and other Members); 
  • using inappropriate language; 
  • implicating oneself in unprofessional or unlawful conduct or encouraging others to behave unprofessionally or unlawfully; 
  • posting comments that are bullying or threatening; and
  • posting anything that may be viewed as inappropriately discriminatory or that incites hatred or such discrimination. 

8.10 Information shared online can be copied and passed on much more quickly than by any other means and potentially to a much wider audience.  Once something is published online it is no longer private.  What is more, once shared, information published online can remain in the public domain for a very long time.  It is important, therefore, that before posting anything online, Members carefully consider the content of what they are posting and how it might be perceived by others. 


Communications in personal life

8.11 Nothing in this Guidance is intended to discourage Members from communicating through social media, however, it is important to remember that even when posting in personal forums, others may be aware that you are a Member of the IFoA and any information you provide or opinions you express may be judged in that light of that. This is particularly true where you identify yourself as being a Member in those forums.  It is also worth remembering that the publication of information on social media carries the same obligations as for other types of communications and you therefore need to take care not to engage in any conduct online that threatens your ability to comply with your requirements under the Code or impact on any of your other professional obligations.

8.12 If you are unsure whether something you are considering posting online is appropriate, think about what the impact might be if the information once shared is then disseminated widely. Remember that there can be consequences.  It is not only the information that you post directly that has the potential to call into question your professionalism; endorsing someone else’s point of view on a public post also has the potential to impact on how others perceive you.  If in doubt, it is probably safer not to post than to post something you are unsure about and then regret it later.  

8.13 When engaging in online discussion, be aware that the views you express may provoke a response; it is important to be open to the opinions of others and to treat others with respect, even if they are disagreeing with your view.

Filter or search events

Start date
E.g., 27/11/2021
End date
E.g., 27/11/2021

Events calendar

  • The Growth Mindset for Actuaries

    13 October 2021 - 8 December 2021

    Fully booked.

    This practical course is aimed at actuaries at any stage of their career who want to develop their own growth mindset and apply it to their work setting and personal or professional lifelong learning. The content of the course builds on the lecture given by Dr Helen Wright on Growth Mindset as part of the President’s 2021 Lecture series, and will be delivered over a period of 2 months, from mid-October to early December.

  • Spaces available

    The role of actuaries within the health sector varies considerably from one country to another, due to differences in the local evolution of health systems and the funding models for health services. 

  • Spaces available

    This paper outlines key frameworks for reserving validation and techniques employed. Many companies lack an embedded reserve validation framework and validation is viewed as piecemeal and unstructured.  The paper outlines a case study demonstrating how successful machine learning techniques will become and then goes on to discuss implications.  The paper explores common validation approaches and their role in enhancing governance and confidence.

  • Spaces available

    Content will be aimed at all actuaries looking to understand the issues surrounding mental health in insurance and in particular those looking to ensure products and processes widen access for, and are most useful to, those experiencing periods of poor mental health.
     

  • Spaces available

    The IFoA Policy Briefing 'Can we help consumers avoid running out of money in retirement' examined the benefits of blending a lifetime annuity with income drawdown. Panellists, including providers and advisers, will look at the market practicalities of taking the actuarial theory through into the core advice propositions used by IFAs and Fund Managers. They will share a number of practical issues such as investment consequences before and after retirement and the level of annuity that is appropriate and answer questions from the audience.

  • Speech from the Governor of the Bank of England, Andrew Bailey

    Lincoln's Inn The Treasury Office, London WC2A 3TL
    1 December 2021

    The IFoA is pleased to be hosting the Governor of the Bank of England, Andrew Bailey, to deliver a speech on delivering policyholder protection in insurance regulation.

    The speech will be presented to an in-person audience, and simultaneously live-streamed, at 14.00 on Wednesday 1st December.

  • The Many Faces of Bias

    2 December 2021

    Spaces available

    This webinar looks at the many types of biases, both conscious and unconscious and the impacts they can have in the workplace.  Raising our own awareness and understanding of the issues can help us avoid the pitfalls of unconscious bias in particular.  We’ve all heard the phrase ‘office banter’ but are we sure that’s how those on the receiving end perceive it and is it ok to go along with it?

  • Spaces available

    Actuaries need to take action now - but how?  With a focus on climate change, this session will provide informed insight to enable you to improve your knowledge and understanding of the issues involved, demonstrate how it will impact advice to your clients, and highlight prospective opportunities for actuaries within pensions and wider fields.

  • Spaces available

    Pension scams have become more prevalent as a result of the pandemic, and Trustees have increased responsibilities to protect members, which means that actuaries need to be in a position to provide advice in this area. Our specialist panel will include a professional trustee, an IFA and head administrator, two of whom are members of PASA.

  • Spaces available

    The covid-19 pandemic creates a challenge for actuaries analysing experience data that includes mortality shocks.  To address this we present a methodology for modelling portfolio mortality data that offers local flexibility in the time dimension.  The approach permits the identification of seasonal variation, mortality shocks and late-reported deaths.  The methodology also allows actuaries to measure portfolio-specific mortality improvements.  Results are given for a mature annuity portfolio in the UK

  • Spaces available

    In this webinar, the authors of the 2021 Brian Hey prize winning paper present a new deep learning model called the LocalGLMnet. While deep learning models lead to very competitive regression models, often outperforming classical statistical models such as generalized linear models, the disadvantage is that deep learning solutions are difficult to interpret and explain, and variable selection is not easily possible.

  • Spaces available

    The dominant underwriting approach is a mix between rule-based engines and traditional underwriting. Applications are first assessed by automated rule-based engines which typically are capable of processing only simple applications. The remaining applications are reviewed by underwriters or referred to the reinsurers. This research aims to construct predictive machine learning models for complicated applications that cannot be processed by rule-based engines.

  • Spaces available

    With the Pension Schemes Act 2021 requiring a long term strategy from Trustees and sponsors, choosing a pensions endgame strategy has become even more critical. However, it is important that the endgame options available are adequately assessed before choosing one. With an ever-increasing array of creative and innovative options available, this decision may not be straightforward.