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Actuaries
T h e m ag a z i n e o f t h e Ac t ua r i e s I n s t i t u t e
4 Actuaries in Action
Cairo to Cape
Town for Cystic
Fibrosis
8 The Actuarial Pulse
Technology Consumption
13 Report
2013 CPD National Tour – Leadership
through Personal Courage
16 Profile
A Balanced Strategy and an Open Mind –
Nicolette Rubinsztein
22 Actuaries at Play
An Actuary Producing a Play
24 Comment
How Does Government Work in Australia?
MAY 2013 ISSUE 179
Lecturer in Actuarial Studies
(Education-focused)
Faculty of Business and Economics
Department of Econometrics and Business
Statistics
Remuneration: $96,184 - $114,221 pa
(includes 17% employer superannuation)
Duration: Continuing appointment
Enquiries: Professor Farshid Vahid, Head of Department,
+61 3 9905 2359
Location: Clayton campus
Job No. 512256
You can learn more about this position and apply online at
monash.edu/jobs
An Equal Opportunity Employer
6/05/13 3:23 PM
Join Team Actuaries
in the 2013 City2Surf
I
n three easy steps you can join Team Actuaries, support
your favourite charity and challenge yourself on Sunday
11 August in the 2013 City2Surf event.
2013 Actuaries Magazine
Photo Competition –
Take a Shot of Courage
Entries to this year’s Actuaries magazine photo competition should
capture that moment when courage presented itself to you.
1. Sign-up via www.city2surf.com.au.
2.Nominate Actuaries as your team.
3. Nominate your charity.
The winning photo will be reproduced on the cover of a future
issue of Actuaries magazine. The successful photographer will also
be rewarded with a gourmet gift pack from the Institute.
You can nominate your preferred charity including the
Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia whose CEO is
Anthony Lowe, FIAA.
Submit your shot of courage by: 5.00pm 30 June 2013 to
ActuariesMag@actuaries.asn.au
Anthony and John Bayliss are members of the Institute’s
Leadership Committee and will be coordinating the efforts
of Team Actuaries.
Find out more via:
http://www.actuaries.asn.au/TechnicalResources/
ActuaryMagazine/PhotoCompetition.aspx
© C jorgen mcleman/ sakkmesterke–shuttersTOck.com
PER-13P-428 Lecturer Education-focused Econometrics and Business Statistics.indd 1
Contents
May 2013 ISSUE 179
Events
2Coming Up
Editorial
3
Dear Reader
❙ Keri Lee
Actuaries in action
4Cairo to Cape Town for Cystic Fibrosis
❙ Rosi Winn
Under the spotlight
7
Darryl Mackay
THE actuarial pulse
8
Technology Consumption
❙ David Millar
Report
13 2013 CPD National Tour –Leadership through Personal
Courage ❙ Kathryn Cannon / Stuart Mules / Debbie Hansen / Julie Osborn /
4
Angela Tong / Ben Cooper
Pr0file
16 A Balanced Strategy and an Open Mind – Journey to
Success via an Indirect Path: an Interview with Nicolette
Rubinsztein ❙ Alice Crowley
COMMENT
19 Systemic Risk: Unique to Deposit-Taking Institutions?
❙ Ramani SG Venkatramani
YAP Event report
21 Better Public Speaking
❙ Nick Li
Actuaries at play
22 An Actuary Producing a Play
❙ Maathu Nirmalendran
Comment
24 How Does Government Work in Australia?
❙ Chao Qiao
Actuaries taking the lead
28 The Resilient Actuary
❙ Andrew Brown
Insights REview – super policy forum
30 Super in the New World: Benefit Projections and Member
Disclosure under Stronger Super ❙ Colin Grenfell
Event Report
31Commercial Actuarial Practice (CAP) Course
❙ Abhimannyu Narenthiran
Prizes and awards
32 2012 Taylor Fry Silver Prize / LEPAP Awardees
new members
33 Welcome to New Members – April 2013
16
Staying ahead
34 eLearning: Expanding CPD Opportunities
❙ Sue Wetherbee
In the margin
36 Stop Reading This and Get Back to Work
❙ Genevieve Hayes
ask Gae!
37 283 Habits of Highly Popular Actuaries
❙ Gae Robinson
CEO’s column
38 Shades of Grey
❙ Melinda Howes
student column
40 The Definition of a 21st Century Actuary
❙ Jonathan Choi
Congratulations
cover: © Rosi winn
COV Happy Birthday... to us!! – Anniversary of 50 years
of Incorporation ❙ Anne Peters
24
May 2013 Actuaries
1
Actuaries
Contributions
Contributions should be sent to the Actuaries
Institute, marked to the attention of Katrina
McFadyen (Head of Communications and
Marketing) and Nicole Sitosta (Communications
and Marketing Coordinator) at:
katrina.mcfadyen@actuaries.asn.au
nicole.sitosta@actuaries.asn.au
All contributions must conform to our submission
guidelines which are available from the
Communications and Marketing Team.
Coming Up
Next Edition
A180- June 2013
A181 - July 2013 - Deadline for contributions:
1 June 2013
ACTUARIES Editorial Committee
Editor
Keri Lee
editor@actuaries.asn.au
Head of Communications and Marketing
Katrina McFadyen
Communications and Marketing coordinator
Nicole Sitosta
June
Assisting Editors
Young Actuaries Program
Wednesday 5 June, Melbourne
Genevieve Hayes
Chris Larkin
Ruth Lisha
David Millar
Candice Ming
Solai Valliappan
Retired Actuaries Group Sydney
Thursday 6 June, Sydney
Magazine Design
July – Nov
Kirk Palmer Design, Sydney
kpdesign@bigpond.net.au
Printing
Paper: Precision
by Spicers Paper
Australian made, ECF, EMS
Fellowship and Graduation Dinner
Tuesday 8 October, Sydney
PEFC 21/31/04
ABN 69 000 423 656
Level 7, 4 Martin Place
Sydney NSW 2000 Australia
t +61 (0) 2 9233 3466
f +61 (0) 2 9233 3446
eactuaries@actuaries.asn.au
w www.actuaries.asn.au
Join us on Twitter®:
http://twitter.com/ActuariesInst
Published by the Actuaries Institute
© The Institute of Actuaries of Australia
ISSN 1035-6673
Advertising Policy
Please refer to the Institute’s website for our
advertising policy, and rates:
www.actuaries.asn.au
or email ActuariesMag@actuaries.asn.au
Disclaimer
Opinions expressed in this publication do
not necessarily represent those of either the
Actuaries Institute (the ‘Institute’), its officers,
employees or agents. The Institute accepts no
responsibility for, nor liability for any action taken
in respect of, such opinions.
Visit http://www.actuaries.asn.au/
TechnicalResources/ActuaryMagazine.aspx
for full details of our disclaimer notice.
2
Actuaries May 2013
Presidential Dinner London
Tuesday 2 July, London
Fellowship and Graduation Dinner
Tuesday 20 August, Melbourne
Ligare, Sydney
Actuaries Institute
Leadership Forum
Monday 3 June, Sydney
Injury Schemes Seminar
(formerly the Accident Compensation Seminar)
Sunday 10 – Tuesday 12 November, Gold Coast
Editor
Keri Lee
editor@actuaries.asn.au
Dear Reader
© Close Encounters Photography–shuttersTOck.com
L
Actuaries – natural high flyers!
et’s talk about courage this month.
We come across it every day. Everyone’s seen the fifteen year old working
their first shift at Oporto, frightened to death, yet carrying on punching
the million buttons on the register while asking if you would like an
upsize with that. And the elderly couple who have let technology slip by, who
finally pluck up the courage to walk into JB-HiFi and ask the almighty
techno-god sales rep if he wouldn’t mind explaining what the internet is.
How about all the parents out there who at one stage made a
conscious decision to have kids (yeah ok, sometimes they weren’t
conscious decisions, but that’s ok too)?
On the surface, these acts may seem minor. You might have got that
same smug feeling of superiority when you watched Channel 7’s “Who
Dares Wins” (Gen Y and Zs might need to google this one). But pause
for a moment and consider: what was involved for them? How did
they feel? They must have had courage.
Courage is inspiring!
But for some reason, non-actuaries tend to think actuaries are
conservative, uninspiring and non-courageous. (Simply outrageous!)
Sometimes even actuaries think of themselves this way. But uh-uh,
stop it princess, it’s simply not true. Think of all the times you’ve seen
an actuary deliver a presentation in front of 10, 30 or 200 people at a
meeting or conference. How much courage does that take? You’d bet
it was more than what it would take to stay in their seats and watch
someone else get up and be the centre of attention/ speculation/
possible condemnation.
You might be coming across actuaries who have never run
3km signing up to City2Surf in your office right now. Or yawn at
the FIAA with a mere two years post-qualification experience
voicing an opinion in your 2pm meeting. Fine, they might not
inspire you, but you’ve got to give kudos to our young actuaries
seeking the permission of grumpy, serious baby boomers to marry
their daughters. If you stop and look, random acts of courage are
everywhere!
I think we really need to give each other more credit. Everyone
who knows Rosi Winn should make it a point to shake her hand and
congratulate her on her crazy bike ride for cystic fibrosis (page 4).
That must have taken a terrific dose of courage. The actuaries who
have taken the lead (page 28) would have had to defy the norm to
be where they are now. Let’s celebrate that, encourage our peers
to do so and allow ourselves to be more courageous in meetings,
career choices and our personal lives.
If you or someone you know has done something you think required a great
deal of courage, email me the scoop. It might just make the perfect story to
inspire our readership. And incidentally, “Courage” is also the topic of the 2013
Actuaries Magazine photo competition. Get snapping and mark the closing date
of 30 June 2013 in your diary now! Soldier on brave ones and keep your eyes
open for random acts of courage this month.
Yours truly
Keri Lee
May 2013 Actuaries
3
Actuaries in action
Cairo to Cape Town
for Cystic Fibrosis
I
© Rosi Winn
'm sitting here in Gonder, Ethiopia, happy but absolutely exhausted,
one month into this journey of a lifetime.
Having decided last year to take on the challenge of cycling
the 12,000km from the top of Africa to the bottom, the extent of
undertaking such an immense ride is really kicking in.
In theory it didn't sound too hard, for those of you who like to
have a few statistics: it's a four month journey, consisting of 100 days
of riding an average of 120km or so a day, with a few rest days in
between. All on a mountain bike in order to cope with the dirt roads
that make up half the route. Having trained as hard as time permitted
in the months leading up to the start, surely I was ready?
The first week or two of riding in Egypt progressed smoothly
enough, the kilometres steadily flying by as my muscles fell into the
routine of riding every day. Smooth tarmac eased the riding, with the
main inanimate hazard being an incredible number of speed bumps.
The next few days brought tent-shredding winds and an incredible
sandstorm which made the desert look like Mars and allowed us to
reach cruising speeds well beyond anything I'd ever achieved before
even on my road bike!
However as we headed further south and crossed into Sudan the
temperatures kept rising. Tackling a 150km ride when the thermometer
hits 40 degrees by 10am is a different type of challenge and one which
I am much less equipped for. Especially when finishing each day's ride
brings a simple bush campsite where the temperatures remain well
over 30 degrees until the early hours of the morning and a cooling
shower is but a fantasy.
Mix that in with days where the roads are deep sandy tracks or
endless stretches of gravel and corrugations and the physical strain
builds further. Unsurprisingly I've begun to dream about home comforts
and the ability to collapse onto a comfy couch after riding.
The physical and emotional challenges are extreme. I have already
been brought to tears more times than in the past few years; and
have laughed and smiled in measure. But such challenges bring their
4
Actuaries May 2013
Rosi Winn
rosiwinn@me.com
own rewards and having completed
the first 2,800km with a number
of days cycling that were tougher
than anything I've done before, I can feel myself getting fitter and
am proud of having been able to keep going for longer than I ever
thought I could. The companionship of the other riders tackling this
race / expedition is another bonus; a diverse and interesting group
from all over the globe – all with their own stories and goals.
Life on the road is an odd combination: your existence is pared
back to a simple routine of ride, eat, sleep – a world away from the
high speed city life back home. And yet each day brings a feast of
new sights, sounds and smells. You experience so many different
things that things that happened a week ago feel like they were
months back.
I expect the next few months will continue to bring countless
challenges as we continue through the hill country of Ethiopia and
on through the seven more countries on our itinerary. I am hoping
both the bike and my legs are up to it. I'm still excited about the
journey ahead; if all goes well we will reach Cape Town in early May.
Alternative mode of transport
Pyramids of Giza
May 2013 Actuaries
5
Actuaries in action continued
Just Why?
I've been asked this a few times and it just
seems like the time was right for taking on
this challenge. My major goal for the ride is
to raise money for Cystic Fibrosis and to raise
awareness of this disease and its impact on
those affected. I'm sure I'll also gain fitness,
learn a lot and have an amazing experience
of travelling through Africa.
What is cystic fibrosis?
Cystic Fibrosis is one of the most
common life threatening genetic
diseases. It is caused by a faulty gene
that controls the movement of salt
and water in and out of the body's
cells. This causes the body to produce
thick secretions that clog the internal
organs, particularly the lungs and
digestive tract, making it difficult to
breathe and digest food.
People with cystic fibrosis have
intense daily treatment regimes
and the disease can impose severe
restrictions on how they live and
significantly reduces life expectancy.
There is no cure at present, however
the identification of the cf gene has
led to major advances in treatment
and there are a number of exciting
areas of ongoing research.
6
Actuaries May 2013
Chatting with children in Ethiopia
If you are interested in following
my journey or supporting cystic
fibrosis please visit:
www.cairotocapetownforcf.com
Under the spotlight
Darryl Mackay
Darryl_Mackay@amp.com.au
Darryl on Christmas holidays
with his wife Glenda
Darryl Mackay
Title… Company Secretary and Head of
Secretariat
Why and how I became an actuary…
Seemed like a good fit after majoring
in stats and pure maths at university
Organisation… AMP Limited
Summarise yourself in one sentence…
It’s really for others to judge but I like to
think I’m easy going, approachable and a
good listener
My interesting/quirky hobbies…
Cryptic crosswords
My favourite energetic pursuit…
Long walks – the beach or the bush
The sport I most like to watch…
Australian Rules Football, although the
last 20 years or so following the Richmond
Tigers hasn’t seen much success
The last book I read (and when)…
I got hooked on the Game of Thrones
– just finished the series
My favourite artist/album/film…
I’ve got a soft spot for the Doobie Brothers
– does that give away my age?
The person I’d most like to cook for…
My wife – I’ve got a lot of catching-up to do
I’m most passionate about…
My family and the Victorian charity Very
Special Kids
Where I studied to become an actuary
and qualifications obtained…
I began my actuarial studies after starting
work at National Mutual – initially via
correspondence with the UK institute and
then completing the final subjects through
the Actuaries Institute to become a Fellow
My work history… I have been with the one
organisation for 35 years (National Mutual/
AXA/AMP) so it’s a bit hard to summarise.
In addition to traditional actuarial roles
in life insurance and superannuation
my roles across Australia, New Zealand
and Asia have included Marketing
Manager, Planning Manager, Head of
Program Management Office, Deputy
Chief Executive International, General
Manager HR, General Manager Chief
Executive’s Office and Company Secretary
What I find most interesting about my
current role... Exposure to a wide range
of issues and working with the Board of
Directors
Who has been the biggest influence
on my career (and why)… It’s a bit hard
to limit to just one in 35 years. Early in
my career Ranjit Jayemanne was the
biggest influence while for the latter
part of my career it has been Andy Penn.
As well as learning a lot from them,
they each provided me with significant
development and career opportunities
My proudest career achievement to date
is… Building a varied career with the one
organisation over 35 years
10 years from now, I will be… Retired
Why I’m proud to be an actuary…
We are respected as a professional body
with a relevant voice on a range of financial
matters important to the country
The most valuable skill an actuary can
possess is… Being able to communicate
their work in simple terms to non-actuaries
At least once in their life, every actuary
should… Do a non-actuarial role
My best advice for younger actuaries…
Be prepared to try a range of different roles.
It ensures that you keep learning and stay
relevant
If I could travel back in time I would…
Go to see Sir Donald Bradman batting
against England
What gets my goat… Arrogance
I’d like to be brave enough to…
Parachute, but it will never happen!
In my life I’m planning to change…
My work-life balance
Not many people know this but I…
Collect wombats (not live ones!)
Four words that sum me up…
Pragmatic, adaptable, no fuss
What I wanted to be when I grew up…
A journalist – I love reading, writing and
anything to do with words
ersary 31
My 35th work anniv
January 2013
May 2013 Actuaries
7
The actuarial pulse
Technology Consumption
Report generated on 27 March 2013. 299 responses.
E
verybody is moving into the digital era. Some are embracing it,
shunning pens, paper, fixed lines and faxes. Others are being
dragged along, kicking and screaming, weary of the unknown
and acutely aware of the horror stories shared by friends and
the media.
A few people in my circle of friends shun technology. They resist
the convenience of online and telephone banking and accessing
email on their phones. Some even keep a second computer, separate
from the internet, to manage their finances and personal documents.
Whatever their reasons (anecdotally, they have been influenced by
the opinions of their parents from an early age), they may be the
wise ones. Time will reveal those answers.
However, this Pulse is not concerned with your love or aversion to
“being connected”. With so much to cover on the topic of the ‘digital
era’, this Pulse has focused on a couple of specific areas, including
the delivery of news and your choice of electronic hardware.
With the move to a tabloid (sorry... “compact”) layout, the Sydney
Morning Herald and Age newspapers have come under fire from
those who like to resist change. Some may have good reason, too.
Personally, my subscriptions to newspapers have been consistent for
the past 10 years, from my university days. However, the way that I
consume that news has changed. No longer do I receive the physical
paper during the week, but have opted to utilise “apps” for my iPad
and the internet-based papers to remain informed.
Despite the convenience of listening to an audio version of each
week’s Economist (keeping the paper stationary as I run to and from
work has proved too large a challenge), I do enjoy the old-fashioned
papers on the weekend. Balancing cereal, toast and coffee around
the various weekend lift-outs is a habit I will find hard to break.
Part 1 – Delivery of News
There are a plethora of options to receive your daily dose of local and
international affairs. Radio, TV, newspapers, websites, blogs, journals,
Facebook, Twitter and so much more.
8
Actuaries May 2013
Q1: How do you consume your news?
The readership was asked to rank a variety of news sources from
most frequent to least frequent. The most interesting results are
shown below.
News Source
Most LeastAverage
FrequentFrequentRank
Internet-based papers
1
7
2.4
Internet-based – other
3
6
3.6
Television
5 53.7
Hardcopy papers
2
4
4.0
Radio
6 34.3
Phone/tablet apps
4
2
4.4
Other
7 16.1
Based on the average rank, the internet was definitely the most
popular place for people to get their news. I believe it is a fair
assumption to make that most respondents are consuming their
internet-based news whilst in the office.
For many people, staying on top of current financial matters is
imperative to their line of business. However, I wouldn’t be the first
to begin a debate on the merits of staying up-to-date with current
affairs whilst “on work time”. There are definitely two sides to that
debate, but we don’t have time to delve deeply into either on
this occasion.
Whilst the internet-based papers had over three times as many
respondents selecting them than the next most frequent choice,
there was little difference between all the other sources (except
for “Other”).
Apps (applications) on phones and tablets was the most
polarising news source. It was selected just behind hardcopy
newspapers and other internet sources as most frequently used,
but significant numbers selected this as their least frequent option –
far in excess of radio and hardcopy newspapers.
For those who chose “Other”, the two most popular responses
were “word of mouth" (often referred to as “Good old fashion
gossip”) and the daily emails circulated on behalf of the Institute.
I for one, certainly take a few minutes to read through that email
each day.
Based on the number of people that included “Twitter” and/or
“Social Media” in the “Other” category, the “Internet-based – other”
category, which was intended to catch these, could have been better
represented in the outcomes.
© Sergey Nivens/Maxx-Studio–shutterstock.com
New Survey questions will be available in JUNe 2013.
What would you like to know? If you have a questioN
you would like to put to the membership, email it to
editor@actuaries.asn.au
David Millar
david.millar@au.ey.com
The Actuarial Pulse is an anonymous, web-based survey of Institute members, run on a monthly basis,
giving members an opportunity to express their opinions on a mixture of serious and not-so-serious issues.
Finally, when comparing the consumption habits of males and
females, it surprised me that women embraced phone and tablet
apps far more than men. Three times as many men chose apps
as their least frequent source of news compared with their most
frequent. With women, it was equally distributed.
Similarly, more men preferred the hardcopy newspaper
than women. Although this survey didn’t ask for an age group
classification (and in retrospect, should have), it isn’t improbable that
these differences may be due to age rather than gender. Whether
they are older or younger, that is perhaps a debate to be had at
another time.
Q4: What is your main HOME computer?
Part 2 – Computers and email
Unlike at work, over 50% of respondents used a laptop as their main
home computer. Perhaps a desire for mobility is able to be acted
upon in the home.
Similarly, nearly 20% of respondents had an Apple computer.
Perhaps with children being required to produce multi-media
presentations at school, the Apple products are preferred. Or perhaps
they are simply more user friendly.
When looking through a gender lens, it is interesting that 15%
more of the female respondents have laptops compared with their
male counterparts. However, without understanding more about their
family dynamics, it would be difficult to infer anything meaningful
from this statistical difference.
Of those who chose “Other” or provided additional comments,
they suggested iPads, other tablets and Linux-based hardware were
primarily used in the home.
Q2: What is the nature of your workplace?
The readership was asked to indicate the size of their workplace, to
see if this had any effect on the hardware (and email software) they
were required to use in their office. As the table below shows, most
respondents work for large employers.
WorkplaceNumber%
Large employer (100+)
208
70%
Medium employer (20-99)
33
11%
Small employer (2-19)
17
6%
Self employed
21
7%
Retired
176%
Student
31%
ComputerNumber%
Desktop – Windows
109
37%
Desktop – Apple
18
6%
Desktop – Other
2
1%
Laptop – Windows
119
40%
Laptop – Apple
37
13%
Laptop – Other
1
0%
None
31%
Other
62%
Q3: What is your main work computer?
ComputerNumber%
Desktop – Windows
143
50%
Desktop – Apple
1
0%
Desktop – Other
2
1%
Laptop – Windows
121
43%
Laptop – Apple
1
0%
Laptop – Other
0
0%
None
114%
Other
52%
There was no difference between large and medium sized employers
when it came to the utilisation of computers. Just over 50% used
desktops and the rest laptops – all Windows based. In fact, only
those that were self-employed or notionally retired used Apple or
other non-Windows computers.
Smaller employers had a larger prevalence of desktop computers
(76%) than the larger employers. One could speculate there was less
need to take their computer out of the office. One could hope!
Of those who chose “Other” or provided additional comments,
they suggested laptops were hooked up to docking stations and
screens, as well as using iPads.
May 2013 Actuaries
9
The actuarial pulse continued
Q5: What is your primary way of using email?
Email clientNumber
%
Microsoft Outlook
166
58%
Lotus Notes
42
15%
Hotmail
145%
Gmail
4415%
Web-based – other
16
6%
Non-web-based – other
6
2%
Firstly, I’d like to express my sympathy towards anyone else in the
15% of respondents above who suffers with Lotus Notes. If you
have a different view, I’d love to hear from you. It might be great for
databases, but it is almost useless for managing email.
The major email client is Microsoft Outlook, with Gmail and, to a
lesser degree, Hotmail making up another 20% of respondents.
I’ll be the first to admit the question should have been separated
between personal and work use. There were quite a few comments
clarifying responses and ‘gently’ pointing out the confusion the
question created.
Yahoo and Thunderbird were the other two web-based clients
that respondents indicated they used, with others indicating their ISP
(e.g. Bigpond, TPG) provides their service.
Part 3 – Mobile phones and tablets
Q6: Do you have a mobile phone?
Phone typeNumber
Firm-funded smart phone
82
Personal smart phone
154
Non-smart phone
69
No mobile phone
9
%
28%
53%
24%
3%
For those of you who are good with numbers, and have maintained
an eye for detail this far into the article, you may have noticed the
percentages add up to over 100%. 23 respondents indicated they
had more than one phone. Each of these managed a firm-funded
smart phone and a personal phone.
There are few differences between males and females when it
comes to mobile phone ownership. However, there are differences
between employers. Although the proportion of smart phones
owned by respondents is similar between small, medium and large
employers, it is the medium size employers that appear to offer
fewer firm-funded smart phones. Those respondents have purchased
their own smart phones to make up the difference.
Q7: What is your primary smart phone?
Respondents with smart phones were asked which type was their
main phone. The following results show the spread between the
different types.
Smart phoneNumber
%
iPhone
11955%
Android-based
7133%
Windows-based
52%
Other
2311%
Smart phone
iPhoneAndroidBlackberryWindows
Firm-funded59% 18% 20% 4%
Personal 52%41% 5% 1%
While Apple is facing lawsuits against purported monopolies
constructed from its “App Store”, this scribe believes Apple’s biggest
threat is not reliving its nightmare from its earlier computer era.
Specifically, Microsoft packaged up its software for almost every
PC out there in the market place. Apple software ran on Macintosh
computers and Microsoft ran on everything else. Microsoft didn’t
10
Actuaries May 2013
© takayuki–Shutterstock.com
Almost everyone who selected “Other” indicated they were
Blackberry users. Such has been their decline over the past five
years, a separate category was neglected in the survey. Whether they
can come back and re-kindle the business world’s love affair remains
to be seen.
Similarly to the above, there were only small differences between
males and females, with a slightly higher percentage of iPhone users
amongst the women.
The biggest difference was between the smart phone uses was
the difference between the work and personal choices. The table
below shows this clearly, with Blackberry’s hardly ever chosen as a
personal phone and android-based phones far more ubiquitous.
seem to care too much which computer you bought, as long as it
wasn’t a Macintosh.
In what seems to be a mind-numbing parallel, Android software
runs on almost every other phone (outside of the iPhone and
Blackberry) and is eating up the market share as users flock towards
a system that provides them with more freedom than the isolated
Apple software.
There is much to like about Apple but if the competition is not
met head on, the monopolies from the “App Store” may soon be
almost worthless.
Q8: Do you check emails on your phone?
EmailNumber%
Work and Personal
89
31%
Work only
39
14%
Personal only
86
30%
No
7325%
Interestingly, of the 83 people that indicated they had firm-funded
phones, only 68 (82%) of them checked work emails on them. The
remaining respondents check their work emails on their personal
phones. This begs the question of how secure the work emails are
on the non-firm funded devices (and for that matter, the firm-funded
ones). Some workplaces have applications, such as Good or Link,
that allow access to email through a secure third-party provider.
These could be installed on any device, firm-funded or personal.
On the other hand, I imagine if you knew the right people in the
IT department, getting access to your work email on your phone
wouldn’t be too difficult.
It really does beg the much broader question of the cost versus
benefit argument of being “connected” all of the time. However, this
discussion is best left for another time.
Q9: Do you have a tablet computer?
TabletNumber%
Firm-funded and Personal
4
1%
Firm-funded only
14
5%
Personal only
133
46%
No
14048%
Over half the respondents have tablet computers, either through
their workplace, home or both. Of those, nearly 85% owned iPads or
iPad minis, with almost all the remainder owning an Android-based
device.
Of the 18 people with firm-funded tablets, the vast majority were
from larger employers, with a couple of people taking advantage of
the ‘self-employer’ tag to undoubtedly get tax deductions.
Seeing as though tablet computers were released a few
years after smart phones, this scribe believes it would be quite
interesting to ask this question in a few years and see whether
or not the prevalence of the Android-based devices has grown
significantly.
Part 4 – Current technology
Q10: What are the greatest limitations in the
current technology you use?
The most popular responses were around five central themes:
1) The speed of hardware, software and the internet.
2) The battery life in electronic devices.
3) The seamless transference of data between devices.
4) Connectivity issues, including lack of wi-fi hot-spots.
5) User issues!! The limitations of the user.
Each of these is expanded upon in the selection of comments below.
In addition to these, a few of the more amusing comments are also
included. This scribe would be amazed if some of these didn’t make
it to your top 10.
Speed: › Speed on everything not hardwired to work network
› Particularly of internet connections when remotely accessing data
› It would be nice to have an SSD (solid state drive) on my work
laptop for faster booting up › Not fast enough to process lots of
information and calculations – particularly in Excel – quickly › The
rate at which technology and its performance becomes obsolete.
Battery life: › Battery power in portable devices › Bulkiness of
devices other than smartphone to accommodate batteries › Low
battery life (suggested by many respondents) › Some of the gadgets
are lighter than they were but still fairly heavy to carry around.
Seamless transfers: › Print limitations with portable devices
› Lack of "Flash" support on Apple devices › Lack of full Microsoft
Office support on Apple devices › Incompatibility of iPad and
Windows work station › Consolidating diaries from work and home
› Accessing attachments to emails is too hard › Many web pages
are still not designed to be viewed on a smart phone screen ›The
lack of content designed specifically for the technology – I think a lot
of articles are still primarily meant for hardcopy newspapers rather
than being designed for the technology being used › Sometimes
the various bits of equipment do not sync nicely, particularly around
diaries › An all encompassing and syncing system. We're close but
not close enough › Blackberrys aren't great for reading documents.
Connectivity: › Poor wi-fi › Lack of access to wi-fi › Lack of free
wi-fi around Sydney, especially on buses › It is a myth everyone,
even close to capital cities, has access to decent internet connectivity
at home › My estate has phone line technology such that I cannot
get ADSL at much faster than dial-up speed › Cost of wireless
(mobile) connectivity is currently prohibitive for large amounts of
data transfer › Needing to turn modem off and on again at home
periodically.
User issues: › Not knowing how to use them properly! › Myself
› Understanding all the features and how to use them optimally
› No time to read the manuals › You can never know all of the
functionality › Remembering different passwords for multiple
layers of security required by work applications › Ease of use ›
Remembering how to use the things I only use infrequently ›
Incomprehensible for a technophobe like me › None of my devices
are smart enough to do the household chores for me.
Before progressing to some of the more entertaining responses,
the other issues that arose from a number of respondents
were: › Lack of reliable security on mobile devices › Lack of
good spreadsheet functionality on the iPad › There is too much
May 2013 Actuaries
11
The actuarial pulse continued
Q11: What is the one thing you wish your
technology could do?
The clear winner in this category was “never ever break down”, which
was followed by the practical option of having “power cords that fit
multiple appliances.”
Plenty of respondents took out their frustrations with the lack of
compatibility between devices by putting forward responses such as
› interact together seamlessly › interact with TV, radio, car radio etc
more easily › link the map functionality with my calendar so I knew
how to get to unfamiliar locations for appointments.
For the business-minded amongst us, documents are now being
sent electronically and many people are missing the freedom of
being able to annotate documents – such as PDF versions of board
papers. This scribe uses “Notability”, which allows files to be imported
from email / Dropbox etc and annotated with relative ease. It too
has some limitations, such as underlining text as you would on a
computer, but its intuitive nature and ability to import, sync, record
and send efficiently makes it a very useful application.
A similar business application is “accurate voice recognition, so
notes can be dictated and accurately converted to text.”
Further, technology wish lists include being “more efficient at
selecting the information that is important or of interest to me”,
which segues nicely into the multiple suggestions to: › read my
mind and know what I want (before I know it) › better mind reading
› properly augmented reality › allow simultaneous interaction with
information and your surroundings.
Something with a really practical use would be “remote access
to do things in my house, including turning on the electric blanket
before I come home on a cold night, drawing curtains, recording
programmes I forgot to set the timer for.” As with many suggestions,
the technology is well and truly under development. Wirelessly
controlled power points do exist, although are rare to find and Foxtel
has applications for phone, tablet and computer which allows their
programs to be scheduled remotely.
A favourite of many respondents was the ability to “carry around
something the size of a mobile, but expands out to the size of
a tablet when I need a bigger screen.” This would be a fantastic
invention, much like that space-filler putty that expands to meet the
needs of the hole that the weekend handyman accidently created in
the lounge room wall.
Turning the mundane into a simple, quick and easy task may
involve “an avatar that could translate my voice command to an
action, e.g."Make this spreadsheet conform with the official work
spreadsheet policy" and it goes and does the ‘boring’ stuff.” Wouldn’t
that save some time! It would be simply marvellous if the computer
would just do all that fiddly formatting you want it to do, but can
never coax it to do!
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, “make a decent coffee.”
Part 5 – Final thoughts and readers’
questions
Firstly, why are there not a greater number of free wi-fi hot-spots
in the city? Why do expensive hotels seem to charge so much for
internet access, when it comes free with the cheapest hostels?
These questions seem to make many a reader’s blood boil… and
this scribe’s!
Some of the readership was interested to understand whether
the phone is becoming a more important status symbol than the
car? It is only my opinion, so take it for what it’s worth (not much!),
but perhaps this may have been the case for a few brief years when
smart phones were the cutting edge of technology and rare in the
marketplace. I’d argue there are far too many smart phones out
there to ever have more pulling power than the rarefied red Ferrari.
Other readers were interested in the level of connectivity we
have with our electronic devices. How many hours do you spend
during your work and personal hours on your computer / laptop /
tablet /phone? Are you using your phone significantly when you are
in a social setting, such as dinner with your friends, or are you fully
engaged with those in your vicinity?
As a final thought, a dining tradition has sprung up to combat this
lack of engagement. Each member of the party places their phones
(and other devices, as required) face down on the table. The first
person to reach for their phone during the party will also pick up the
bill for the occasion. Would that be you?
12
Actuaries May 2013
© koya979–Shutterstock.com
information to be able to relax away from technology! › Limits
interaction with environment when in use › The ability to separate
work from relaxation due to being constantly online and contactable.
Outside of being unable to “switch off”, people suggested other
family and relationship issues stemming from technology, including
a respondent’s “wife throwing out the road maps from both cars,
forcing me to use the SatNav (which is usually in the other car
anyway) or print out a Google map beforehand.”
“Not being allowed to watch my TV shows/DVDs, despite all of
the TVs being paid for by me!”
And to finish, perhaps this scribe’s personal favourite: “Lotus
Notes is a pig of a program with no features to enhance user
experience or make dealing with email easy.”
Report
2013 CPD National Tour
– Leadership through Personal Courage
After all the hard work it was fun to
network at the Perth Presidential dinner and
I congratulate Else Joubert who received her
Associate certificate.
Thanks for again bringing the CPD event
west. It is great that the CPD focus is on
broadening our soft skills and I look forward
to the next event.
Kathryn Cannon
kathryn.cannon@au.pwc.com
Adelaide
T
Perth
Perth
I
dentity was front and
centre of the national
tour in Perth. We gathered
to consider what it is to be an actuary
personally and collectively with Melinda
Howes, John Newman and Maximus
business guru Brent Duffy as our guides.
As part of John’s presidential year, he
and the Council are looking to reposition
our ‘brand’ as actuaries. This could involve
broadening the subjects and skills we study
to allow more actuaries to take on more
varied senior management roles. It was
great to hear John’s enthusiasm for making
the Institute as supportive as possible for
those keen to branch-out while keeping our
foundations strong.
In Brent’s session on “Leadership
through Personal Courage” we explored
what courage meant to each of us in a work
situation and why we sometimes don’t
speak up. We are most likely to speak up
when something challenges our identity,
though I found it tricky to separate identity
he Adelaide leg of the
Institute’s CPD National
Tour arrived in town with
President and CEO in tow. This
was the second edition of the CPD National
Tour following the success of last year’s
Influential Actuary session.
Our presenter, Ant Williams, promised to
help us make the most of our opportunities
by finding our inner courage. This sounded
like a worthwhile exercise, not just for
business but for all things in life. Ant
impressed us with his passion about
the subject and his anecdotes on deep
diving, including a spirited deep breathing
exhibition.
from values and beliefs. I don’t envy the
Institute in trying to define our collective
identity as actuaries as they look to
reposition the brand.
For those moments that challenge our
identity, Brent had some tips to turn any
mouse into a lion. We were armed with the
confidence to speak up. Instead of playing
various consequences over in our mind and
panicking – breathe. Be curious, read to
succeed, ask great questions
to the right people and
continuously challenge yourself
to keep learning more. These
were the key steps to building
business acumen to know when
to step in.
We put our new skills to the
test by role playing the most
helpful approaches in dealing
with disagreements being:
• Soften – “I understand what
you’re saying...”;
• Explore – Ask questions to
understand what they actually
disagree with; and
Adelaide
• Resolve.
May 2013 Actuaries
13
Report continued
While listening to Ant talk about
courage, I could not help but think
about the lyrics to a well known
Midnight Oil song –Bedlam Bridge.
I researched this song after the meeting
and found even more relevance in the
following verse:
We have leaders who are anxious
We have captains not courageous
Captains tumbling into madness
But there’s a man who makes no enemies
A body never breathless
No ambition ever hopeless
That lyric may be a little over dramatic,
but fits the theme of the session really
well. This was to encourage actuaries who
may not normally take risks to be bold and
put themselves forward. Make suggestions,
speak up, try something you have always
wanted to do – and take a deep breath.
My take on the session was that we
need not change character completely,
but we should think about and prepare for
situations where we can be a little bolder.
With practice, this can become a habit.
There was another good turn out from
the Adelaide actuarial community, with a
couple of travelling guests adding value.
Later that night we had an enjoyable
President’s Dinner, with a few extra guests
coming along who could not make it to the
earlier session.
Many thanks to the Institute for
sponsoring this session.
Stuart Mules
Stuart.Mules@mercer.com
Canberra
D
o you have the courage
to be not just a leader,
but a competent leader? Will
your leadership earn you the respect of
your team and also your superiors? How
do you develop your identity and increase
your commercial acumen to become a more
effective leader? These questions were
discussed at the Canberra session of the
CPD National Tour.
Canberrans are proud to challenge for the
highest proportionate turnout of actuaries
at an Institute event and this year did not
disappoint. Our small group of six enabled
us all to directly engage with President
John Newman on his thoughts of the
14
Actuaries May 2013
Melbourne
profession’s future direction. It was great to
have this interaction early in the year and
we look forward to following up with John
and Melinda in December on the progress
and achievements made towards the goals.
Following the President’s introduction,
Ant Williams coached us to apply the
same theory as sports psychology to our
careers as actuaries. For example, in critical
or stressful situations take a moment to
pause, breathe, shake out your tension
and steel your mind to the matter at hand.
As easy as this sounds, focusing is always
more challenging in practice!
As a young actuary working on
improving my confidence to stand up and
sell my skills in front of clients, prospective
clients and perhaps even more dauntingly
my company’s senior management, I see
this technique being very valuable to
my career.
This new perspective on leadership
complemented last year’s theme of
being an influential leader. I commend
the Institute for continuing to recognise,
support and promote the development
of these skills as integral to a successful
actuarial career. Thank you Melinda,
John and the events team for bringing
leadership, networking and an exceptional
Presidential dinner to Canberra.
Debbie Hansen
Debbie.Hansen@AccessCapitalAdvisers.com.au
Melbourne
O
n Tuesday 5 March, the
2013 CPD National Tour:
Leadership through Personal
Courage hit Melbourne. The minute our
presenter, Ant Williams, took the floor I
knew my decision to attend had been a
wise one. Ant kicked things off by relating
some of his experiences with courage, in
particular, his involvement with free diving
(a form of underwater diving without scuba
or breathing devices... other than one’s
lungs). This really got me, and I expect many
in the room, pondering where and how we
displayed courage in our lives which, I must
admit, left me feeling a little inadequate.
The session quickly moved on to
exploring and understanding the beliefs
and traits underlying more day to day
acts of courage, especially in a business
environment. We discussed what courage
means for actuaries, the challenges we face
in this respect and the tools we can apply to
help build courage. In particular, we explored
the advantages of acquiring and developing
commercial acumen and Ant provided us
with some incredibly practical and tangible
strategies for handling disagreements.
Finally, Ant taught us how to centre
ourselves and breathe. Yes, I did know how
to breathe before this but these were the
deepest, chest expanding, throat filling
inhalations EVER! Hopefully no incriminating
photos accompany this article!
In summary, this would have to be one of
the most enjoyable, useful and motivating
sessions I’ve had the pleasure to attend.
And while I may never fight bulls or free
dive, I will certainly endeavour to display the
courage of my convictions.
I highly recommend you attend future
workshops if available, because it will
provide you with a different, yet enriching
experience on how to lead from your core.
Julie Osborn
Julie.Osborn@dtf.vic.gov.au
Brisbane
Sydney
O
n Wednesday 20 March,
I found myself in a room
with 40 other actuaries
taking part in the Sydney version of the
CPD National Tour, Leadership through
Personal Courage presented by Brent Duffy
from Maximus. I wasn’t quite sure what I
was in for – I had only registered the day
before because the title sounded somewhat
interesting and I thought that it would be a
good excuse to get away from work, as well
as rack up some CPD hours. However, by the
end of the session, I felt so excited about the
things I had learnt that I wanted to tell all
my friends about it.
In the first half of the session we
explored the source of courage – one of the
key traits of being a leader. This courage
to lead, as noted in the session title, is
personal. It is steeped in who we are and
how we see ourselves, and when we feel
passionate about a particular issue, we are
driven to speak up and take action. As Brent
eloquently put it, our courage is anchored
in our identity and values. We were given
some time to reflect on our core beliefs and
values, and how we saw ourselves. This
generated some interesting conversations
during afternoon tea.
The session then moved on to some
skills that assist leaders by supplementing
their core. In particular, it focused on
commercial acumen, an important ingredient
in influencing non-actuarial business
stakeholders. Much of the discussion here
revolved around the need to balance intuition
and detailed analysis when making actuarial
recommendations. I am myself sometimes
guilty of being paralysed by analysis,
forgetting to do reasonableness checks
and not taking a more holistic view of the
underlying issue. To improve our commercial
acumen, we were encouraged to read more
widely to gain a broader world view, as well
as be open to learning from non-actuaries.
Angela Tong
Angela.TONG@suncorp.com.au
T
he CPD National Tour with
Institute President John
Newman and CEO Melinda
Howes, arrived in Brisbane on Tuesday
19 March. The afternoon was kicked off
by a Q&A session with John and Melinda
and set the theme for the day well. The
group discussed relevant issues such as
the decline in the number of actuaries
holding key executive positions and
increasing competition from non-actuarial
professionals with equivalent skills. This
was followed by an interactive CPD session
on “Leadership through Personal Courage”
presented by Maximus.
The small but enthusiastic group
took full advantage of the opportunity
to connect with local colleagues. Having
only recently moved back to Brisbane, I
was pleasantly surprised at the diversity
of actuaries working here. Why wouldn’t
you prefer Brisbane with its sub-tropical
climate, friendly faces, and on-the-ground
experience in measuring flood risk? One
of the highlights for me was meeting new
colleagues from different professional
backgrounds. I would encourage Brisbanebased actuaries to support local events for
this reason alone. The small group made
it especially easy to chat with the Institute
President, CEO and local actuarial stalwarts
and to share some regaling stories of
simpler times such as when actuarial work
was pushed under the office door!
During the afternoon, we delved into
discussions on topics that would hopefully
provide us with tips to become better
actuarial leaders. Highlights were trying
to pin down our core actuarial identities,
tips for dealing with disagreement
and maintaining a communicative and
productive state. All participants agreed
that the afternoon had been well spent and
felt that they could successfully implement
some new insights to improve their
workplace atmosphere and leadership skills.
The event finished with networking drinks in
the Hilton foyer, before the night continued
with the Brisbane Presidential Dinner. I
look forward to seeing you all at the next
Brisbane event!
Ben Cooper
Ben.Cooper@quantium.com.au
Brisbane
May 2013 Actuaries
15
Profile
A Balanced
Strategy
and an
Open Mind
Journey to Success via
an Indirect Path
An interview with
Nicolette
Rubinsztein
S
itting across the room from Nicolette
Rubinsztein, General Manager of
Strategy at Colonial First State it’s
hard to believe this highly articulate
and successful woman once lacked
direction and confidence. Current Director
of the ASFA board, chair of numerous
industry committees and mother of three,
Nicolette kindly took time out of her busy,
but well balanced schedule, to take us on
her journey which led her to an ‘out of
the ordinary’ actuarial role, explain the
importance of soft skills as well as offering
practical tips on how to be a career mum.
An indirect path to success
When it comes to the question of what a child
wants to be when they grow up, they tend
to say that ‘parents know best’. This wasn’t
the case for Nicolette whose parents secretly
wanted her to become a lawyer.
16
Actuaries May 2013
© David Clare
Alice Crowley
alice@honnermedia.com.au
“While at school in South Africa at the relatively young age of fifteen, I started to realise
that my parent’s dream of becoming a lawyer wasn’t for me. Mum sent me to a guidance
counsellor and in literally ten minutes my fate was sealed. The counsellor asked me what
I liked and I responded, maths. She opened her little pocket book to the letter ‘A’ and said,
what about becoming an Actuary? She then proceeded to describe the role; well paid, highly
respected, statistics, maths, probability theory – I was sold,” Nicolette explains.
“On the basis of those few minutes with her, I spent the next ten years of my life working
to become an actuary. Things have a funny way of working out and in a way this was the best
career advice I was ever given.”
Despite achieving academic success and having a clear career to work towards, on leaving
school Nicolette lacked confidence and felt insecure about her capability.
“When I went to university I worried that if the study load became hard I wouldn’t be
able to cope. But as it turned out, studying to become an actuary gave me confidence in my
own ability. Once you can say that you are an actuary it creates respect. Given I was lacking
confidence, this was really good for my personal development and growth as an individual.”
Nicolette began her career as an Actuarial Assistant at Metropolitan Life in South Africa
where she was involved in continuous mortality investigation. In 1993 she moved to
Australia and took her first step into the superannuation industry taking a consultant role
at Towers Perrin.
Since then Nicolette’s career has been an indirect path to success, something she
attributes to having an open mind. She has held senior positions in product management and
marketing in the superannuation industry in Australia. During this period, there were times
when Nicolette felt the rug was being pulled straight from underneath her.
“After Towers Perrin, I took a job developing a product at Advance Funds Management and
then one day the whole project went up in smoke when they bought Asgard. I began a role
working at BT Funds Management on their response to the new “Choice of Fund” legislation
that was due to come into effect. Within six months the government delayed that legislation
by three years. My job had evaporated again. I was forced to be flexible and open minded to
challenges that came my way.”
Nicolette carried on at BT where she was given the head of product management role in
marketing, not a traditional actuarial role. Since 2001 she has worked as General Manager of
Strategy at Colonial First State.
“I didn’t think I would end up in a strategy role, but I have discovered that this is where
my true capabilities and passions lie,” says Nicolette.
May 2013 Actuaries
17
Profile continued
can integrate into the real world and
through their engaging personalities and
communication skills are able to take the
brilliance from their spreadsheet and share
it with a wider audience.
“Younger actuaries also need to be
aware of how diverse their future roles can
be and shouldn’t be scared to branch out of
traditional actuarial roles. Take time to look
beyond the obvious,” she said.
A balanced strategy
Since 2007, Nicolette has also served as
a director on the ASFA board and has been
actively involved in policy development
across the retail sector. She believes it
is becoming increasingly important and
common to see a number of high profile
actuarial figures involved in influential roles.
“It is great to see a lot of actuaries
heavily involved in superannuation policy
development and there are actuaries very
much at the forefront of that thinking.
The government is clearly assessing the
retirement agenda at the moment, and this
is where actuaries are adding value.”
Soft skills and generation
actuary
“It is great to see a lot of
actuaries heavily involved
in superannuation policy
development … The
government is clearly
assessing the retirement
agenda at the moment,
and this is where actuaries
are adding value.”
18
Actuaries May 2013
Having presented at the Actuaries Institute
Leadership Summit in February, Nicolette
shares some advice for the younger
generation of actuaries on how to make
the most of their career and overcome
those hurdles.
“The length of study can appear
daunting; however the rewards far outweigh
the time commitment of becoming an
actuary and include being involved in high
level and meaningful work, influencing the
direction of a company and obtaining skills
which are in demand.”
“The biggest challenge for the younger
generation of actuaries will be developing
an alternative skill set. The degree provides
great analytical skills and subject matter
expertise, but what’s required to be truly
successful is something more.
“The best actuaries are the ones that
Having three children and maintaining
a senior role is as difficult as it sounds.
Nicolette is passionate about the topic of
career mums, something that obviously runs
in the family.
“At 42 my mother started her own
insurance broking firm and subsequently
built it up to become a thriving family
business. Mum did it from scratch and knew
very little about insurance broking. She
proved you don’t have to do everything at
once and there is time after having children
to have a full career,” she said.
Nicolette is currently writing a book, ‘The
Balancing Act’ which is a practical guide for
career mums from a corporate and strategic
perspective.
“The challenge for women is how they
can have both a career and be a mum.
There are a lot of hot tips out there on what
mums should do at home, but not so much
about how on the work side. That is why I’m
writing a book to try and provide practical
tips for career mums. There is no silver bullet
to finding a balance, doing both is hard work
and it’s about getting through on a day by
day basis.”
As a successful career woman and a
mother, there is no doubt that Nicolette
is an inspiration to others just as she has
had mentors who have been an inspiration
to her. The process of mentoring involves
developing a natural connection based on
trust and mutual respect.
“Behaviours mean more than words and
the relationship between a mentor and their
mentee is built over time and developed
through demonstrating respect, trust and
having mutual value systems. I mentor
around five women, and the women who
want to talk to me are the ones who want to
work in a senior capacity at the same time
as being a mum. To me, staying true to what
you believe in is the most powerful way of
being a leader.”
Comment
Ramani SG Venkatramani
ramanisgv@gmail.com
Systemic
Risk
Unique to Deposit-Taking Institutions?
© Taras Vyshnya–Shutterstock.com
A
t the Enterprise Risk Management Workshop organised by
the Actuaries Institute in March 2013 for actuaries pursuing
the Chartered Enterprise Risk Actuary (CERA) designation,
the following question was raised: is systemic risk unique
to deposit-taking institutions, or does it also apply to institutions
providing non-banking services? Given the time constraints, it was
not possible to debate it then.
This article answers the question in the negative: in the modern
interconnected world, where traditional labels and barriers to activity
no longer hold, systemic risk applies to non-banking activities. In
financial services, where most actuaries serve, this means those in
insurance, superannuation, mortgage or finance services need to be
aware of this risk and take appropriate control measures. Indeed, as
the CERA designation is designed to utilise actuarial skills in wider
business and industry, it is essential that the risk in non-financial
services also be recognised.
The CERA designation recognises the expertise actuaries can
bring to assessing risks affecting any enterprise holistically and
controlling them. Our long experience in consolidating risk profiles,
present and future, through statutory Financial Condition Reports
in life and general insurance (with FCRs now being recommended
for superannuation as ‘good practice’) positions the profession
well in taking this expertise beyond traditional financial services. In
preparing for this seminal role, the incidence of systemic risk is a
crucial consideration.
Systemic risk refers to the possibility that the financial system as
a whole might become unstable, rather than the health of individual
market participants. Stable financial systems do not transmit or
magnify shocks to the broader economy. A firm, person, government,
financial utility, or policy might create systemic risk1 if its failure
causes other failures in a domino effect;2 news about its assets
signals that others with similar assets may also be distressed, called
contagion;3 it contributes to fire sales during price declines; or its
absence prevents other firms from using an essential service, critical
to the economy.
Traditionally, banking has been known for systemic risk, given its
business of funding long-term assets through shorter-term assets.
Loss of confidence in such an institution, whether justified or not,
could cause a ‘run’, and regardless of merit, depositors might assume
others are affected, thereby causing the system to collapse.
Global events have shown that non-banks could trigger economywide implications, if they were large, had entered into contracts with
banks and others that would be called into question, or were in an
essential service that society could not replenish in a short time.
May 2013 Actuaries
19
Report continued
20 Actuaries May 2013
but the policymakers deemed this to be
an appropriate response. Who would have
thought the collapse of a general insurer
would lead to state intervention?
During the GFC, many investments
became illiquid and super funds that had
invested in them (including large managed
schemes) were unable to pay benefits.
Many applied to APRA for a freeze on
their payments so as not to breach their
governing rules. APRA found itself forced to
approve all such requests – exercising the
newly discovered and hitherto little used,
Clayton’s power. Many of these approvals
had to be renewed after they expired. A
power than can only be exercised in favour
of the applicant is no power at all.
While these examples relate to financial
services, it is not difficult to think of nonfinancial examples where societal structure
would crumble for want of an essential
service such as hospitals or transport.
During the preparations for Y2K, before the
year 2000, all types of scary scenarios and
their remediation were being thought of, in
a bid to prevent a meltdown. It is clear that
those who thought Y2K was a real risk were
concerned about systemic implications.
In APRA’s risk-rating system, PAIRS,
the entity ratings depend upon size and
potential impact of failure on the market.
While the major banks are represented here,
non-banks (insurers and super funds) are
not ignored either.
Recently, the International Association
of Insurance Supervisors (IAIS) has been
engaged in formulating a methodology to
identify risks of systemic importance for
insurers. To this extent, the incidence of
systemic risk beyond banking appears to
have been acknowledged by those who set
international rules for insurers. It has moved
from the ‘if’ (does it apply?) into the ‘how’
(how should it be addressed?) phase.
As global convergence of regulations
has not yet occurred in superannuation
to the same extent as in banking (BASEL)
and insurance (IAIS), it is to be expected
that the relevant supra-national body –
the International Organisation of Pensions
Supervisors (IOPS) – will be concerned with
this aspect, before long.
Granted that deposit-taking, the
traditional source of systemic risk, will
continue to feature prominently in
identifying this risk, it would be unwise to
ignore how systematic risk is now a reality in
other types of economic activity.
Actuaries with the new CERA designation
seeking to operate as risk experts in the
wider industry beyond financial services
should be the first to recognise the reality.
As they say, identification is the first
essential step in addressing risk.
This article is intended to provoke
discussion in the profession on this
important topic, to better prepare ourselves
and thereby serve our customers.
Ramani SG Venkatramani, the Principal of
Ramani Consulting Pty Ltd, is one of the
experienced actuaries awarded the CERA
designation under the Actuaries Institute’s
LEPAP (the Leading and Experienced
Practitioners and Academis Pathway).
1
2
3
What Is Systemic Risk? Does It Apply to Recent
JP Morgan Losses? Edward V. Murphy, May 24,
2012 Congressional Research Service 7-5700
www.crs.gov R42545
See 1 above
Well explained in Andrew Sorkin's ’Too big to fail’
© magcom–Shutterstock.com
The responses, in such cases, are not unlike
those that follow typical bank runs. In some
cases, national governments had to step in
to counter panic.
There are a number of policy responses
to systemic risk. Greater transparency
can prevent uncertainty from magnifying
panic and permit regulators to monitor
the system as a whole. Lenders of last
resort can prevent markets from becoming
illiquid or healthy firms' credit being cut
off. Deposit guarantees can reduce the
incentives for a firm’s counterparties to
cause a run. Prudential regulations and
capital requirements can reduce the chance
of failure and the costs of the failures that
nonetheless occur. However, policies to
address systemic risk can themselves create
risks of their own, such as moral hazard, in
which firms that believe they will be rescued
take additional risks.
During the Global Financial Crisis (GFC),
a number of non-banks threatened the
viability, indeed the existence, of the US and
world economic order. The policy response
in respect of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae,
AIG, Bear Stearns (an investment bank
that relied on wholesale funding) was for
the US Treasury to step in with massive
bailout plans or to arrange state-sponsored
acquisitions. The aim was to restore
confidence so that counterparties were
protected and trading could continue.
In Australia’s own HIH failure, the
Government had to provide funding to
protect policyholders so that insurance
cover could continue for essential
economic activity such as building and
trade services. At that time, there was no
assurance that the funding or any part
of it would be recovered by the taxpayer,
YAP Event Report
Nick Li
Nick.Li@quantium.com.au
Better Public Speaking
I
t was fantastic to see registrations at
capacity for the first Young Actuaries
Program (YAP) seminar of 2013. Fast
becoming our favourite speaker, Barry
Rafe, a high profile actuary and former
President of the Actuaries Institute,
returned to present for the second time
and certainly lived up to expectations.
This time, we asked Barry to present on a
topic he is well known for: public speaking
skills. Using examples from his vast
experiences in presenting at professional
seminars and competing in stand-up
comedy, we were taught the following.
Do your preparation
Find out beforehand:
• the theme of the event;
• expectations of the audience; and
• how long you are expected to present for.
Know the contents of your slides well if
you expect to use them. Do not go over your
allocated time limit as this is unprofessional,
and throws off the timing for everyone else
if you are not the only speaker. If you are
speaking on a panel, make sure you speak
to the other members prior to the event so
your content doesn’t overlap.
Get to the venue early
Familiarise yourself with the stage so you
know how you will get on and off, and where
you will be most comfortable standing. Try
not to stand behind the lectern if possible as
this generally makes your presentation less
engaging. Make sure you speak to the MC to
find out how they intend to introduce you,
and ensure they know how to pronounce
your name correctly. Then check that your
presentation loads (if you have one) and
learn how to use the clicker. Don’t be the
presenter who has no idea which buttons
to click.
Create a great first
impression
Your audience’s first impression is formed
within a fraction of a second when they first
see you, not after you start speaking. So walk
and stand with confidence and dress smarter
than the audience, so they think you’re great
before you’ve even opened your mouth.
And don’t drink alcohol
beforehand. You might think
this helps you present better,
but that’s precisely the problem
– only you think so.
Break the ice
If there is something unusual
about you or the venue, you
can bet it will be the first thing
the audience notices. So don’t
try to avoid or hide it (e.g.
spilt sauce on your shirt)!
Instead, crack a joke to break
the ice. Acknowledging what your audience
is likely to be staring at or thinking will help
break the ice and make both speaker and
audience more comfortable.
Speak slower and include
jokes
It’s natural for presenters to be nervous
which often makes them speak faster.
Obviously, speaking too fast is less
engaging for the audience and increases
the chances of your important points being
overlooked. So it’s important to practise
speaking slower beforehand. Also slip
in jokes throughout your presentation
to attract and retain your audience’s
attention. A good rule of thumb is to make
your audience laugh every five minutes.
Put yourself out there
Acting and stand-up comedy classes
are great ways to improve your public
speaking skills as they take you out of
your comfort zone. In Barry’s first acting
class, participants had to crawl around
on the floor pretending to be snakes for
the first half hour. It might be weird and
embarrassing, but you don’t have to worry
about how you look because you’ll never
see those people again. Well, at least Barry
has never seen his classmates again.
Just do it
Becoming great at public speaking takes
a long time and you will only get there if
you practise. Maximise your stage time by
taking every opportunity you get to speak
publically. Make it a habit to say yes
every time someone asks you to present
(you can worry about what you’re going
to say afterwards). Barry even suggested
that at work you can just spontaneously
stand up and tell everyone you have an
announcement to make. It’s up to you if you
actually have something to say or make
something up. But you probably shouldn’t
do this too often.
Get to a no notes, no slides
and no lectern default
Over time, work towards a stage where
you are comfortable presenting without
notes, slides or the lectern. This is the goal.
While slides are appropriate in certain
circumstances, they should serve more as
a reminder for the presenter than for the
audience to read.
Remember, public speaking doesn’t just
refer to addressing large groups of people, it
also encompasses one-on-one interactions
and speaking to small groups such as
Boards or committees. We are required to
draw upon our public speaking skills in our
roles as actuaries every day. And as Barry
argues, being able to public speak is at the
core of every professional. Or in other words,
you cannot call yourself a professional if you
cannot public speak.
I hope everyone took something away
from this session and I look forward to
seeing you all at the next YAP event.
YAP extends its thanks to Barry for his
presentation and time, the engaged
audience and the Actuaries Institute for
providing a great venue as always.
May 2013 Actuaries
21
Actuaries at play
An Actuary
Producing
a Play
H
© Piyush Bedi
ailing from a Sri Lankan cultural heritage, I have
often been asked by society “aunties” and “uncles”
about what I study, where I work and what I do.
Studying and working the actuarial industry has
generally produced one of two reactions – (1) those who
know what it’s about would say (imagine a heavy Sri
Lankan accent) “You better study hard – you don’t want
to be one of those dropouts with no future prospects, do
you?”; or (2) those who have no clue about what an actuary
is would say with ill-disguised disdain (again, imagine a
heavy Sri Lankan accent), “Well, it’s not engineering or medicine. Kids
these days have no discipline at all! Actuarial studies, she says? Sounds
like acting or something fluffy, I tell you!”
Well, acting certainly has little to do with actuarial studies, but it is
certainly a passion of mine, and as I later discovered, a passion of many
youth in Sydney, who come from a similar background and face a similar
situation in life. However, we could not find an outlet which allowed us to
perform, (just for the love of performing), whilst also juggling our various
other commitments, including study, work and household chores – though
this is where my dad would chime in with “Household chores? You’re
never home in the first place, how can you do household chores! You think
you live in a hotel, and have you seen your room for goodness sake?!”
But, I digress. To address this lack of a medium, our dream of MAYA
Youth in Performing Arts (MAYA) was born. MAYA is now a not-for-profit,
non-political and secular theatre cooperative, aimed at bringing together
22 Actuaries May 2013
Maathu Nirmalendran
maathu.nirmalendran@finity.com.au
PLAY Details
a diverse network of youths, from any
background, who are interested in any facet
of the performing arts; whether it be acting,
directing, dancing, script writing, stage
management, lighting, sound and music,
front of house or even those who are simply
talented at lying to their parents about what
time they came home the night before!
Together with a highly motivated
production team, I directed our inaugural
production in 2012, “To Be Arranged”, a
light-hearted romantic comedy with a
Bollywood twist that focused on the need
for relationships as well as the friends
and family who are constantly around
us – something we found that most of us
could relate to. In true Bollywood fashion,
the show incorporated the acting, dancing
and musical talent of over fifty youths
from various professional backgrounds,
in what was a first of its kind for our
Sydney community. In the process we also
managed to raise funds for the Children’s
Hospital in Westmead and Annai Saratha
Children’s Home in Sri Lanka and also
garner a decidedly positive response from
our community.
With this success, we have now
embarked on our second production,
“About a Brown”, a stage musical comedy
performed with the accompaniment of a
live orchestra and dance ensembles. The
musical follows the real life creative journey
of two individuals who are struggling
with the process of writing a script whilst
masterfully dodging the demands of
time and production team expectations.
Alternating between the world of the
writers’ imagination and that of the real
world, the production explores the real life
issues of second generation youths through
an artful fusion of music, dance, drama
and stage display. We guarantee you will
enjoy a few hours of laughter from start to
end and the satisfaction of supporting the
International Medical Health Organisation’s
rehabilitation program for paraplegics.
We would love to have your support, so
feel free to get in touch for tickets and/or to
get involved!
Production Title: About a Brown
Show Times: 8:00pm Friday
12 July 2013
3:00pm Saturday 13 July 2013
7:00pm Saturday 13 July 2013
Venue: Parade Theatre, NIDA
215 Anzac Parade, Kensington, NSW 2033
Charity:
International Medical Health Organisation
Contact:
Maathu Nirmalendran
M: 0413 036 962
E: info@mayaarts.com.au
Ticketek:
W: http://premier.ticketek.com.au/
P: 132 849
What have you been up to lately?
Care to be featured in Actuaries at Play?
Share your story via:
ActuariesMag@actuaries.asn.au
May 2013 Actuaries 23
Comment
How Does
Government
Work in Australia?
How much do you know
about our government?
In this Federal election year,
before delving into the
issues or parties, it might
be a good idea to ask, how
much do you really know
about our government?
If you are interested in
finding out, then you have
found the right place!
View to Parliament House flagpole, Canberra
24 Actuaries May 2013
Chao Qiao
chaoqiao@hotmail.com
© kirk palmer design|Phillip Minnis–shutterstock.com
W
HAT’S THE DIFFERENCE
BETWEEN STATE AND
FEDERAL GOVERNMENTS?
There are three levels of government in
Australia, the Federal government, State
governments and local government councils.
They are responsible for different things,
and operate differently.
The Commonwealth government is
based in Canberra. Our Head of Government
is the Prime Minister, who along with
the Executive Council has the exclusive
privilege of advising our Head of State
the Queen represented in Australia by the
Governor General. As the Governor General
is bound by convention to follow all such
advice, the Executive Council consisting
mostly of Cabinet Ministers controls the
government. The Commonwealth has its
own courts, such as the High Court and
the Federal Court. Laws are made by
Parliament, consisting of the House of
Representatives and the Senate. The Federal
government is responsible for areas such
as defence, foreign affairs, commerce,
trade, immigration, marriages, air and naval
transport, and meteorology.
There are six States in Australia. The
Head of Government in each State is the
Premier, who again has the exclusive
privilege of advising the Queen represented
by a Governor. States possess vast powers
and are responsible for everything that
the Commonwealth is not. This includes
hospitals, schools, police, water, land
transport, town roads, land use, town
planning, emergency services, environmental
planning, law and order, and community
safety. Because the Queen of each State
and the Queen of Australia are separate
legal entities, the Premier of one State
has no power to advise the Queen in her
capacity as the Head of another State or
the Commonwealth. This ensures that
our Premiers and Prime Minister operate
independently of each other. However,
Premiers and the Prime Minister do
cooperate on many things. The Council of
Australian Governments (COAG) is a forum
where such cooperation is coordinated.
The territories’ legal status is somewhat
different from the States. Their powers are
delegated from the Commonwealth. This
means territory laws can be declared void by
the Commonwealth, while the same thing
cannot be done to the States. For example,
the ACT Civil Unions Act 2006 was repealed
by the Commonwealth.
Local governments are the lowest level
of government in Australia. Their powers
and responsibilities are regulated by the
States. Local governments, or Councils,
take care of rubbish, local parks, zoning,
parking, libraries, local roads and bridges.
Some Councils are given more powers and
responsibilities by their State. For example,
the Brisbane City Council also runs buses,
which in most other States are operated by
the State governments directly without input
from Councils.
HOW DOES THE GOVERNMENT
AFFECT ACTUARIES AND OUR
WORK?
The Federal government is directly
responsible for trade, insurance, banking
and commerce. It has the power to legislate
and regulate on all of the above areas.
The Federal Parliament legislates the
legal framework around how insurance
works. APRA, a government department,
has legal powers to regulate insurance
companies. The government can also decide
to change the tax environment around
banking and insurance. All of these have
subtle consequences on our daily work as
actuaries.
Recently, our government has embarked
on many initiatives, such as the National
Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), and
activity based funding in our health system.
Besides enriching our lives as citizens,
these initiatives all require actuaries to
ensure sound financial management.
Actuaries also have a lot to contribute in
public policy areas, especially on retirement
protection. Likewise, the government can
also create opportunities for actuarial
work, especially if major action is taken
to mandate retirement insurance.
State governments are responsible
for the maintenance and enforcement
of civil and criminal codes. Translating
this into insurance, it means everything
involving liabilities. Changes in legislation
or government management can greatly
influence what is liability and hence what
is insured. Examples include the tort
reforms in the early 2000s and the recent
workers compensation changes in NSW. The
government can also regulate CTP insurance
if it is privately underwritten. For example,
the Motor Accidents Authority of NSW, a
government agency, reviews CTP premium
filings. In these States, the government can
also control the rating factors on which CTP
premium can be set.
Australian Government coat of arms, Parliament House, Canberra
May 2013 Actuaries 25
Comment continued
WHAT DOES THE PARLIAMENT DO?
Most Parliaments in Australia have two
houses, the upper house and the lower
house. The upper house is the Senate on
the Federal level, and Legislative Council
on the State level. The lower house is the
House of Representatives on the Federal
level, and Legislative Assembly on the State
level. Traditionally, the Head of Government
comes from the lower house, which provides
the government with confidence and
supply (approval of budget). Queensland
is an exception where its upper house
was abolished in 1922, making it the only
unicameral State Parliament in Australia.
Both the ACT and Northern Territory
Parliaments are also unicameral.
The lower house is known as the people’s
house, where most legislation proposals, or
Bills, are initiated. The upper house functions
as a house of review, where significant
scrutiny is often applied to intricate details
of Bills tabled. For example, the Senate
often refers Bills to Committees, where
people can make submissions and attend
hearings to help Senators better understand
citizens’ concerns. If you wish to contribute
to how our governments make laws, try
making a submission next time to a Bill that
26 Actuaries May 2013
interests you. For example, in 2012, the NSW
Legislative Council held a review into coal
seam gas where many concerned citizens
made submissions on what they thought.
Bills have to pass both houses, or
one house in the case of Queensland, to
become law. Technically, it will only become
law once the Governor General or State
Governor gives Royal Assent on behalf of
the Queen. The Governor General has the
power of refusing assent, and return the
Bill for amendments, or reserve the Bill for
the Queen’s pleasure. These powers are not
used by convention.
The Parliament decides its own program.
This means that any member can raise any
issue at any time. Some of common motions
used in Parliament include reading a Bill,
suspension of Standing Orders, procedural
motions, extending working hours, censure
a member and dissent a ruling. There is
usually a time of the day where Parliament
stops whatever it is doing, and holds a
questions and answers session known
as Question Time. For both houses of
the Commonwealth Parliament, it is 2pm
on sitting days. During Question Times,
questions without notice can be asked to
Ministers in relation to their portfolios. On
HOW DO ELECTIONS WORK?
Elections are held regularly in Australia.
Members of Parliament are elected at these
elections.
Federal elections occur every three years,
where the exact dates are determined by
declaration of the Governor General upon
the exclusive advice of the Prime Minister
of the day. Usually, all seats of the House of
Representatives and half of the seats of the
Senate are up for election. This means that
members of the House of Representatives
serve for three-year terms, while Senators
from States serve six-year terms.
Members of the House of
Representatives represent a local electorate.
Electorates contain roughly the same
number of electors. This means a citizen
residing in the electorate of Brisbane
can only elect the member for that area.
Senators on the other hand represent
their entire State. Each State has twelve
Senators, half of whom are up for election
every three years. Each mainland territory
has two Senators whose terms expire at
the point of general elections for the House
© max blain/Tatiana Popova/Martin Darley–Shutterstock.com
House of Representatives, Parliament House, Canberra
sitting days, the ABC usually broadcasts
Question Time on ABC1 at 2pm; from the
House of Representatives on Monday to
Thursday, and from the Senate on Friday.
Our Parliaments are open to the public,
and in Australia, both houses are located
in one building. If you are interested in
watching Parliament proceedings, why not
go to your nearest Parliament and sit in
the public galleries to watch our elected
representatives at work? All capital cities
have Parliaments. For example, the South
Australian Parliament is in Adelaide.
Another way to participate in the political
process is to sign a petition. Citizens can
petition Parliament on any issue they like.
Usually it makes sense to petition the
relevant Parliament on relevant issues.
Parliaments can debate petitions. Some
Parliaments automatically debate a petition
if it is signed by a sufficient number of
people. For example, in New South Wales,
a partition signed by 10,000 electors will
attract an automatic debate in Parliament.
of Representatives. Traditionally, elections
for the House of Representatives and the
Senate are held on the same day. However,
this is not required by law. A referendum to
enforce this tradition was narrowly defeated
in 1984.
Elections can occur following the
dissolution of a government following a no
confidence motion. There is also a unique
type of election in Australia called a doubledissolution election. This occurs when the
two houses of Parliament repealed disagree
over the same Bill in a short period. At a
double-dissolution election, all members of
all houses are up for election. For example,
in 1974, a double-dissolution election was
held after the House and Senate disagreed
repeatedly over the establishment of
Medibank, precursor to Medicare.
For those who are mathematically
inclined, vote counting differs for the
Senate and the House. For a House seat
or electorate, the winner needs to attract
50% plus one vote after preferences. For a
Senate seat, a winner needs to attract 1/
(no. of available seats + 1) *100% plus one
vote after preferences. In a normal general
election, this is 14.3% plus one vote within
a single State. At least mathematically,
it is much easier for small parties and
independents to be elected to the Senate;
while others maintain that to attract
such a sizable vote across an entire State
is as challenging as winning a House
seat on 50%. On the other hand, some
mathematical pundits observe the House
method of vote counting is a specific case
of the Senate method, where the number of
available seats is always one.
A referendum is where a proposal is
put to the people. Most of these proposals
concern amendments to the Constitution.
A Commonwealth referendum requires
approval by a majority of voters in a majority
of States, as well as an overall majority
across Australia including territory voters.
This condition is very difficult to achieve.
Sometimes, other proposals can also be put
to the people. For example, in 2009, there
was a referendum in Western Australia on
whether it should adopt daylight savings.
WHO ARE THE MAJOR PLAYERS IN
POLITICS?
There are many political parties in Australia.
At Federation, three parties dominated
Australian politics, the Protectionist Party,
the Free Trade Party and the Labour Party.
Today, major parties include the Liberal
Party, the National Party, the Labor Party and
the Greens Party. There are also a number of
other parties that consistently enjoy support
on a State level. For example, the Shooters
and Fishers Party enjoys considerable
support in New South Wales. Historically,
the One Nation party from Queensland
and the Australian Democrats from South
Australia also held considerable influence in
Australian politics.
Australia is a constitutional monarchy.
This means we are headed by a Queen
or King, whose powers are limited by
constitutional constraints. Our current
Queen is Elizabeth II. The Queen of
Australia also happens to be the Queen
of the United Kingdom, despite these
being separate legal entities. As such,
Government House, Canberra
the Queen resides in London, and is
represented in Australia by the Governor
General. Our current Governor General is
Quentin Bryce. The Queen visits Australia
on some occasions. During such visits, the
Queen may perform some of her duties
herself, such as granting assent to Bills.
An alternative form of government is
a presidential republic, such as India and
Singapore. Some people prefer a monarchy,
while others prefer a republic. These debates
can be found everywhere in most liberal
democratic countries, including Australia.
In Australia, there is also a debate among
republicans on how the President is to
be chosen. Some favour appointment by
Parliament such as in Israel, while others
prefer direct election such as in Singapore.
In 1999, a proposal was put to the Australian
people on whether the Queen should be
replaced by a President appointed by a
two-thirds majority of the members of the
Commonwealth Parliament. This proposal
achieved minority in all States as well as an
overall minority across Australia.
?
May 2013 Actuaries 27
Actuaries taking the lead
The Resilient Actuary
“The leaders I met, whatever walk of life
they were from, whatever institutions
they were presiding over, always
referred back to the same failure –
something that happened to them that
was personally difficult, even traumatic,
something that made them feel that
desperate sense of hitting bottom–as
something they thought was almost a
necessity. It's as if at that moment the
iron entered their soul; that moment
created the resilience that leaders need.”
– Warren Bennis
R
Resilience is most important for risks that are difficult to predict
and/or where there is little knowledge on how to handle such
risks. The majority of global risks identified in the Global Risks
2013 Report fall into this category.
Resilient systems have three key attributes – the ability to
(1) withstand, (2) recover from and (3) reorganise in response to
a crisis.
To meet this definition of resilience, a system requires
three core characteristics (robustness, redundancy and
resourcefulness) and two performance criteria (response
and recovery).
28 Actuaries May 2013
© ArTono–Shutterstock.com
esilience is a core leadership attribute and a critical
determinant of long term sustainability in the face of the
myriad complexities life serves up. The Global Risks 2013
report (the report), issued by the World Economic Forum
Risk Response Network, includes a special report: Building National
Resilience to Global Risks.
From the perspective of actuarial practice, resilience offers
some interesting possibilities in grappling with the dilemma of
dealing with the unknown.
To explore resilience, the report categorises risks through two
questions:
1. How predictable is a risk’s likelihood and potential impact, and
2. How much do we know about how to deal with it?
Andrew Brown
andrew@leadfirst.com.au
A. Robustness
Robustness describes the ability to reliably absorb and withstand
disturbances and crises. Examples include:
• monitoring system health: regularly monitoring and assessing
the quality of the subsystem ensures its reliability;
• modularity: mechanisms designed to prevent unexpected
shocks in one part of a system from spreading to other parts
of a system can localise their impact; and
• adaptive decision-making models: networked managerial
structures can allow an organisation to increase or decrease its
level of centralised control depending on circumstances.
B. Redundancy
Redundancy involves having excess capacity and back-up systems,
which enable the maintenance of core functionality in the event of
disturbances. Examples include:
• redundancy of critical infrastructure: designing replication of
modules which are not strictly necessary to maintaining core
function day to day, but are necessary to maintaining
core function in the event of crises; and
• diversity of solutions and strategy: promoting diversity of
mechanisms for a given function. Balancing diversity with
efficiency and redundancy will enhance systems' capacity
to adapt.
C. Resourcefulness
Resourcefulness means the ability to adapt to crises, respond
flexibly and – when possible – transform a negative impact into
a positive. To do this, industries and communities must be able to
build trust across networks and self organise when bigger systems
you are part of fail. Examples of resourcefulness include:
• capacity for self-organisation: this includes the relationship
between social networks and relevant systems, and the existence
of institutions that enable face-to-face networking;
• creativity and innovation: in countries and industries, the ability
to innovate requires spare resources, and the flexibility to cross
boundaries between disciplines, organisations and social groups;
and
• safe fail experiments: in Nicholas Taleb’s recent book, “Antifragile,
Things that gain from disorder”, the central theme is that many
things grow and get stronger through stress. Allowing many small
safe fail tests allows learning and refining that builds resilience.
D. Response
Response means the ability to mobilise quickly in the face of crises.
Examples include:
• communication: effective communication and trust in the
information to ensure cooperation and quick response from
the audience;
• Inclusive participation: building a shared understanding of the
issues underpinning global risks in local contexts, reduces the
possibility of important interdependencies being overlooked, and
strengthens trust among participants.
E. Recovery
Recovery means the ability to regain a degree of normality after
a crisis or event, including the ability of a system to be flexible
and adaptable and to evolve to deal with the new or changed
circumstances after the manifestation of a risk. Examples include:
• active “horizon scanning”: critical to this attribute are multistakeholder processes tasked with uncovering gaps in existing
knowledge and commissioning research to fill those gaps; and
• responsive feedback mechanisms: systems to translate new
information from horizon-scanning activities into action – for
example, defining “automatic policy adjustments triggers” – can
clarify circumstances in which policies must be reassessed.
Implications for Actuaries
There are many examples of where actuarial practice and the
actuarial profession embody the resilient attributes and create
resilience systems. Capital standards, resilience testing (for asset
liability movements) and cross profession working groups link in to
industry and regulatory bodies. Monitoring a system’s health is in the
blood stream of the actuary. Modularity is practised through separate
statutory funds in life insurance.
Yet in the interests of continuous improvement, I wonder if
there are areas that if we were to bring in to our practices would
enhance the resilience of the systems we work in even further. Some
questions to consider:
• Robustness – how well do we practice modularity? What are
areas that we could apply modularity further? How well do we
share information and methods across other professional groups?
How could we improve this further?
• Redundancy – do we actively promote diversity of approaches and
solutions? From what other fields can we draw on approaches?
• Resourcefulness – what examples are there of safe fail
experiments in actuarial professional practices. What could the
applications be? How well do we innovate across boundaries,
co-developing solutions with other fields or professions?
• Response – are actuaries perceived as communicating effectively
to ensure cooperation and quick responses in times of crisis? Is
there a learning there?
• Recovery – how well do we apply the actuarial control cycle
to refine our policies, processes and models? If we applied the
actuarial control cycle to itself, what refinements might that
suggest?
If we are to be resilient as a profession, grow and become stronger
through challenging times, then continuing to build the notion of
resilience in to our practices will be a core leadership attribute for
actuaries.
May 2013 Actuaries 29
Insights Review– Super Policy Forum
Colin Grenfell
colin.grenfell@supereasy.com.au
Super in the New World:
Benefit Projections and Member
Disclosure under Stronger Super
(1)13 December 2012, communication from
the Superannuation Practice Committee
to Actuaries Institute members.
Superannuation Projections
and Disclosure Sub-Committee
Bill Buttler
Jackie Downham
Ian Fryer
Colin Grenfell
Glenn Langton
David Orford
Richard Starkey
Ray Stevens
Brnic Van Wyk
30 Actuaries May 2013
ASIC Class Order 11/1227 – Relief for
Providers of Retirement Estimates
There are a number of situations where
actuaries and trustees feel that benefit
projections based on Class Order 11/1227
may be misleading. The SPD discussed
these with ASIC representatives last
June and the December communication
records the matters discussed at the
meeting. The main outcome was that
ASIC representatives confirmed that
compliance action would not be pursued
if trustees varied from the Class Order
requirements to deliver a more accurate
projection of benefits, for the situations
identified in the Institute’s April 2012
submission, provided the variation
is disclosed.
(2)19 November 2012, submission from
the Actuaries Institute to the Australian
Prudential Regulatory Authority (APRA).
Reporting Standards for
Superannuation
APRA is proposing to collect and report
extensive data for all MySuper products
and for “select” choice investment
options. The Institute submission argued
that:
• “fees” should be “fees and “costs” i.e.
indirect fees should be reported;
• the regulators should encourage Net
Investment Return targets based on
AWOTE (wage inflation) but should
permit CPI (price inflation) based targets
in the short term, because of conflicts
with existing investment targets and
objectives;
• the proposed Net Return should not be
calculated or reported because it can
potentially mislead members to make
incorrect investment and fund choices;
• reported fees should include specimen
annual dollar administration fees
and costs per member (and not be
expressed as a percentage of assets);
and
• reported investment returns should
be “Net Investment Returns” i.e. not
crediting rates which often include
non-investment related amounts and/
or reserve movements.
Since the above presentations, ASIC has
issued Consultation Paper 203 “Age
pension estimates in superannuation
forecasts: Update to RG 229”. Pleasingly,
this consultation paper addresses the
issues identified in the Institute’s April
2012 submission and also proposes that
Class Order retirement benefit estimates
can include the age pension – which is
a change that both the Institute and the
Association of Superannuation Funds of
Australia have been seeking for nearly
three years.
© Robert Kneschke–Shutterstock.com
I
n February the Actuaries Institute held
Insights sessions in Sydney (presented by
Glenn Langton and Jackie Downham) and
Melbourne (presented by Bill Buttler and
Richard Starkey). Material for the sessions
was prepared by the Superannuation
Projections and Disclosure sub-committee of
the Superannuation Practice Committee
(“the SPD”).
At the briefings members were advised
about the evolution of the SPD from the
previous Benefit Projections Working Group.
Issues that the SPD has been working on over
the last twelve months were explained and
an overview was given of some of the many
submissions that the SPD has prepared on
behalf of the Institute.
Both presentations emphasised that
significant changes have been proposed
to the information to be provided to
superannuation members. The discussions
focused on the Institute’s desire for
retirement benefit estimates (and projections)
to allow for the age pension, and on the
following two letters from the Institute:
Event Report
Abhimannyu Narenthiran
a.narenthiran@gmail.com
Commercial Actuarial Practice
(CAP) Course
R
CAP Course pictorial
ecently, I attended the four-day
Commercial Actuarial Practice
residential course at the Macquarie
Graduate School of Management
in Sydney. The course attracted students
from different parts of Australia as well as
from overseas.
Having arrived from Wellington the
night before the course, needless to say
that I wasn’t the only person who was
feeling slightly jet lagged on the first day
of the course. The residential course was a
mixture of lectures and interactive sessions,
where the students in small groups worked
through case studies on traditional and
non-traditional areas of actuarial practice.
The major part of the first day of the
course focused on teaching the concept
of contextualisation to the students. The
importance of this was drilled into our minds as
David Service, Colin Priest and Bruce Thomson
emphasised the importance of considering the
actuarial issues in the context of the business,
the key stakeholders, the broader environment
and the client; thus enabling the technically
competent actuaries to become more business
focused and be able to provide advice that is
both relevant and practical to their client. The
session on contextualisation was followed up
by an interesting and interactive discussion that
was facilitated by Andrew Brown on the highly
relevant topic of communication for actuaries.
Looking back at the course, not only did
the course teach us valuable lessons on
contextualisation and communication, it also
provided the actuarial students with the
opportunity to work together in small groups to
solve the questions posed by the case studies
and to present the results to a larger group of
students for the purpose of generating further
discussion of the issues. The latter proved to
be a great catalyst for learning. Apart from the
educational aspect of the residential course,
the course provided the perfect setting for
attendees to meet other fellow actuaries and
the Institute’s HQ members, as well as providing
a golden opportunity for budding actuaries to
expand their professional network.
May 2013 Actuaries
31
Prizes and Awards
2012 Taylor Fry LEPAP
Silver Prize
Awardees
T
C
he 2012 General Insurance Seminar Taylor Fry Silver Prize is awarded
to the authors of a paper considered by the judging panel to have:
• effected significant advance in the profession's understanding or
knowledge of a specific subject or sphere of knowledge; or
• collected or presented existing material in such a way as to raise the
awareness of the profession regarding an important contemporary issue.
The 2012 General Insurance Seminar Taylor Fry Silver Prize was awarded to
Francis Beens, Stephen Lee and Geoff Atkins for their paper Gauging the
Tort Temperature and the Tort Temperature Scorecard.
Stephen Lee, John Newman (President) and Francis Beens
Geoff Atkins
32 Actuaries May 2013
ongratulations to the following Leading
Experienced Practitioners and/or Academics
Pathway (LEPAP) awardees for the CERA
designation. These candidates were approved
by the LEPAP Review Panel as having met the LEPAP
criteria and are eligible for the CERA designation after
their completion of the CERA requirements.
Gayle Adams
Mark Baxter
Tim Clark
Tony Coleman
Josh Corrigan
John B Evans
John R Evans
Phillip Everett
Sai Cheong Foong
Tim Gorst
Kent Griffin
Matthew Hodson
Nick Kulikov
Jennifer Lang
Ian Laughlin
Jasmine Lee
Susan Looi
Gregory Martin
Kerrie Noonan
Chris O'Hehir
Ian Perera
Fred Rowley
Angela Tatarow
Annie Tay
Michael Thornton
Senthamangalam Venkatramani
Andrew Wallace-Barnett
Andrew White
Joseph Wong
The following criteria must be met to formally obtain
the CERA designation via LEPAP:
• Fellow or Associate;
• LEPAP Review Panel approval;
• attend an Actuaries Institute ERM workshop; and
• CERA application approved by CERA Treaty Board.
New Members
Welcome to
New Members – April 2013
New Members – Australia
Daniel James BARRY
Brett CARTER
Oliver CHAMBERS
Chun Ho Patrick CHAN
Nikita CHELANI
Bo CHEN
Chaoran CHEN
Hantong CHEN
Leonie Nastasia CLARKE
Secilia ERWANDA
Yichao GAO
Michael Liam HERLIHY
Nyasha Clive JENA
Jeffrey Ryan LAI FAT FUR
Nicholas Wang-Yip LAU
Meeline LI KIM KHIOOK
Zhiheng LIAO
Li LIN
Kiyara Prabha MUNAWEERA
Marcello NEGRO
Jun-Hyun OH
Jenny PHUNG
Dali REN
Gregory SHIPP
Yin SUN
Samantha Jane TAYLOR
Alan Boyu WANG
Ran WANG
Andy Jung Wai WONG
Justeen Kay Hin WONG
Melanie WUONG
Xing ZHAO
Yinghui ZHU
VIC
NSW
VIC
NSW
NSW
NSW
NSW
NSW
VIC
VIC
ACT
SA
WA
VIC
NSW
NSW
VIC
NSW
VIC
VIC
NSW
NSW
VIC
ACT
NSW
QLD
NSW
ACT
NSW
VIC
NSW
ACT
ACT
New Members – Overseas
Shing Chi Emil CHUNG
Robert John GIBBS
Kah Choong HO
Adrian Mah Weng KEONG
Zhao LIU
Simbarashe Stu George MURAHWI
Ying Jie Ryan TONG
Kelly Tarrin WILKINSON
China
New Zealand
New Zealand
Malaysia
China
Canada
Malaysia
New Zealand
May 2013 Actuaries 33
Staying Ahead
eLearning: Expanding CPD Opportunities
A
bout eLearning
Good teaching is good teaching no matter how it’s done. This
old adage still rings true and eLearning brings with it new
dimensions in learning.
Some of the unique features of eLearning include:
• self-paced, giving learners a chance to speed up or slow down as
needed;
• self-directed, allowing learners to choose content and tools
appropriate to their differing interests, needs and skill levels;
• accommodates multiple learning styles using a variety of delivery
methods;
• geographical barriers are eliminated, opening up broader learning
options;
• 24/7 accessibility makes scheduling easy and allows a greater
number of learners to attend;
• a great way to give employees tools and skills to enhance their
performance; and
• enables the global learning community to be included in learning
opportunities that they have previously been unable to access.
eLearning has definite
benefits over traditional
classroom delivery. While
the most obvious are the
flexibility and the cost
savings from not having
to travel or spend excess
time away from work,
there are also others that
might not be so obvious.
34 Actuaries May 2013
Some benefits for learners of eLearning are:
“The organisation’s ability to learn and translate that
learning into action is the ultimate competitive advantage.”
– Jack Welch, CEO General Electric
• Real-time access – learning does not have to be scheduled as
courses can be accessed anytime, anywhere on the internet,
intranet, mobile devices or CD.
• Freedom to fail – real learning requires some failure. No one likes
to fail in a classroom full of others. eLearning lets you fail without
fear. This encourages exploration and the testing of ideas as well
as using feedback to start over.
• Improved retention – the use of multimedia in learning can
produce a very rich learning experience that uses practice
activities with feedback that is repeatable to help learners retain
course content.
• Personalised learning – learners want and can have more
control of their learning through an eLearning experience that
classroom learning does not provide.
“We need to bring learning to people instead of people to
learning.” – Elliot Masie, Masie Center
• Motivation and engagement – the quality of interaction and
collaboration in an eLearning environment provides the learner
with the motivation to participate and engage in the learning
experience. The immediate feedback and personalised attention
built into an eLearning application enables the learner to take
an active approach to learning and encourages them to be
responsible for their own learning development.
“The ability to learn faster than your competitors may be
the only sustainable competitive advantage.”
– Peter Senge, The Fifth Discipline
YOU said…
As outlined in the March 2013 edition of Actuaries magazine, both
the 2012 CPD Survey as well as Capability Assessment Tool data
confirm that Professionalism and Risk Management professional
development are priority development needs for Members across all
geographic locations.
we heard…
The Practice Risk Management eLearning Course is coming!
As part of the Institute’s Strategic Plan to increase and improve the
CPD opportunities for Members no matter where they are based,
an eLearning course – Practice Risk Management – will soon be
launched as the first of a planned series of eLearning courses on
professionalism topics.
© Kheng Guan Toh/ tavi–Shutterstock.com
“You can’t teach people everything they need to know. The
best you can do is position them where they can find what
they need to know when they need to know it.”
– Seymour Papert, MIT
Sue Wetherbee CPD Consultant
sue.wetherbee@actuaries.asn.au
Practice Risk Management eLearning course sample snapshots.
The objectives of the course are for learners to:
• demonstrate an understanding of different practice risk
management techniques and tools;
• demonstrate an awareness of failures in practice risk management
and consequences of such; and
• be able to identify practice risk management techniques and tools
for implementation in their own practice.
Who would benefit from the course?
• Members working at a lower level of seniority and interested in
learning how to self-manage the practice management risks in
their role.
• Members at a higher level of seniority interested in learning how to:
- self-manage the practice management risks in their own role;
and
- manage the risks across the broader practice of the firm or
employer.
• Members of other associations (both in Australia and overseas)
seeking relevant CPD options for compliance with their
association’s CPD rules.
The course includes:
• eight units and approximately three to four hours of study;
• study pathway options of “Learn it” and “Apply it” which cater for
individual Member needs;
• links to industry best practice;
• case study driven learning including the ability to personally apply
learning in a work environment;
• ongoing learning checkpoints; and
• CPD credit for both the completion of the course and evidence of
the application of its learning.
Launch
The Practice Risk Management eLearning Course will be launched
soon. Look out for launch communications:
• in the Bulletin;
• on the Institute website; and
• in a dedicated email.
Other planned courses
Future topics for further planned eLearning courses include
whistleblowing and conflicts of interest.
If you have a particular topic you’d like to suggest, or would
like to volunteer to be part of a course development team,
please contact anne.peters@actuaries.asn.au or
sue.wetherbee@actuaries.asn.au
May 2013 Actuaries 35
In the margin
Genevieve Hayes
inthemargin@actuaries.asn.au
“I have discovered a truly marvellous proof of this, which this margin is too narrow to contain” – Fermat.
Stop Reading This and Get Back to Work
T
here is much debate over whether
or not open access to technology
such as the internet causes
productivity to increase or decrease.
A 2011 study conducted by market research
firm uSamp found that 53% of Americans
waste at least one hour a day dealing with
various types of distractions and that 60%
of those distractions involved the use of
tools such as email, social networks and text
messages. In spite of the advantages that
this technology brings, including improved
communications, in response to statistics
such as those given above, many workplaces
have banned the use of websites such as
Facebook and Twitter during work hours,
and according to Fair Work Australia, 91
Australian businesses have even gone so far
as to include such a ban in their workplace
agreement. All of this makes you wonder
how people ever managed to procrastinate
at work before the internet?
Back in the 1990s, for many people, the
answer to that question was Solitaire and
Minesweeper. Solitaire has been included
in every version of Windows since Windows
3.0 and Minesweeper in every version since
Windows 3.1 (although neither are included
in Windows 8). Inclusion of these games in
Windows was blamed for billions of hours
of lost productivity, and in 2006, a New York
City worker was fired from his job after his
boss, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, caught
him playing Solitaire at
1
work. This month’s puzzle
is for all those people
2
3
who contributed to these
statistics.
1
In Minesweeper, players
start with an empty grid and
must uncover the squares
on the grid one at a time
to reveal either a mine (in
which case the player loses),
a blank space or a number.
1
Numbers tell you how many
2
3
mines are located in adjacent
grid squares, while a blank
3
indicates that there are no
mines in adjacent squares.
3
The aim of the game is to
clear the grid (i.e. to uncover
all of the numbers and blanks) without
touching any of the mines.
Above right is a partially completed
Minesweeper game, with 25 mines hidden in
the grid. Some squares (the white squares)
have been revealed, but the majority (the
blue squares) have not.
2
2
2
3
2
2
4
4
4
3
3
2
2
2
1
2
3
3
2
4
2
2
5
1
2
3
Are You Smarter Than Your
Boss?
(Answers below)
1.Richie Sambora is guitarist for
which band?
2. What is the currency of the
Philippines?
3. Yemen is bordered by which country
to the North?
For your chance to win a $50 book
voucher, locate all 25 mines and email
your solution to:
inthemargin@actuaries.asn.au
4.In The Three Musketeers, the
Comte de la Fere is better known
by what name?
5. What is the longest river in Victoria?
6. Titania is a moon of which planet in
our Solar System?
Actuaries 177 Solution
7. How many red balls are used in a
game of snooker?
The solution to the
nonogram puzzle
presented in
Actuaries 177 is >
8. Up until late 2012, which actor was
also a co-owner of the South Sydney
Rabbitohs NRL club?
9. What is the symbol for the chemical
element tungsten?
16 correct answers were
submitted. The winner
of this month’s prize,
selected randomly from
among the correct entries,
was Bruce Dawkins,
who will receive a $50
book voucher.
10. Who is the Greek equivalent of the
Roman goddess Diana?
36 Actuaries May 2013
Answers: 1. Bon Jovi 2. Philippine peso
3. Saudi Arabia 4. Athos 5. Goulburn River
6. Uranus 7. Fifteen 8. Russell Crowe 9. W
10. Artemis
Paint by Sudoku
Ask Gae!
Gae Robinson
gae.robinson@finity.com.au
Gae answers serious and not-so-serious questions about life in the office, career, study and coping as an actuary in the real world
283 Habits of Highly Popular Actuaries
What to Do?
W
e’ve talked in the past about what NOT to do in the office.
But what are the best ways to impress and delight your
colleagues in the modern workplace?
✌Quality work. Just sayin’.
✰Take your turn in the coffee run. And, when working late, the
dinner run.
Praise in public, criticise in private (an oldie but a goodie). Praise
whenever you get an opportunity.
✰Join the office sports team(s). Skills/experience are usually
optional. If you’re a female in a mixed team, there will almost
certainly be no female subs – your fitness will be tested!
Be dressed well enough to go into a meeting at any moment.
That doesn’t mean (guys) you need to wear a tie 24/7, but look
smart! Keep a spare tie in the drawer.
✰Got leftover birthday cake at home? We can take care of that.
Ditto for other baked goods, and chocolate. More generally, any
food that is transportable.
Think before using “Reply all”. Please.
✰Volunteer. Overworked colleagues, R&D projects and worthy
committees may be in need of help!
Admire photos. Colleagues’ babies, weddings, craft projects,
sporting triumphs, birthday parties, school reunions – you will
enjoy them all.
✰Share what you learn. Always popular: Excel tips – there are
approximately 4,000 time-saving Excel shortcuts, and it is close
to mathematically impossible that you and your work neighbours
will have accumulated the same set.
Got a good doctor, dentist or physio? Recommendations are
always needed.
✰Equip your workstation with an ‘office emergency kit’: spare
towel for wiping up spilt drinks (mine’s got Batman on it –
somehow the superhero motif seems right), safety pins for
wardrobe malfunctions, permanent marker, masking tape
for a multiplicity of occasions (including serious wardrobe
malfunctions), paracetamol, sunscreen.
Communicate on projects: when you’ve completed your part of
the work, let the team know.
✰Build your noticing skills. These can be applied to workmates’
moods, new hairstyles, clothes, glasses, desk decorations. Never
underestimate the happiness you can bring to a colleague by
noticing they have lost 5kg.
Sense of humour. Deploy frequently, always with tact.
✰Take negative feedback on the chin. If you’ve disappointed
someone, far better to hear about it and find out how to do better
next time.
Start a study group with other students doing the same subject.
✰Arrive at meetings on time – without needing to be reminded,
hunted down, or called by the meeting organiser. If this catches
on, we may yet see the day when the initial stages of a meeting
need to happen only ONCE!
Smile.
✌
✌
✌
✌
✌
✌
© Julija Sapic–Shutterstock.com
✌
✌
✌
✰Coach your junior colleagues. As you work together, explain your
thinking, so they can learn from it. If you need to correct their
work, make sure they know why.
Be a willing sponsor. Your colleagues will be walking 100km,
swimming impossible distances and shaving their heads. Their
children will be reading books and doing walkathons. Sponsor to
the level you feel comfortable. The rest of your spare cash will be
needed for buying charity chocolates for childcare centres.
✰Greet your neighbours every morning – please.
Exercise tolerance. On a daily basis, the lunchroom will be full
of people hogging newspapers, not covering their food in the
microwave, chewing with their mouth open, reading trashy novels
and expressing political opinions.
✰Prepare for your performance review. Spend 15 minutes on selfassessment.
Head to a meeting room or corner of the office for loud phone
conversations. Unless they’re genuinely entertaining.
✰Entertain visiting children. Toddlers appreciate rides on the twirly
chairs, and what teenager doesn’t want to talk about what they
want to be when they grow up? Remember (all ages) to point out
how much they’ve grown since you last saw them.
When a colleague drops by your desk, look up from your
computer and make eye contact. Only in dire emergencies is it
permissible to keep staring at the screen and grunt your replies.
✰Share shopping tips, restaurant tips, holiday tips. Limit sharing of
holiday photos to 50 per sitting and, even then, be alert to eyeglazing.
Record your workmates’ birthdays and celebrate spontaneously
when they come around. And the birthday boy/girl’s age? “Don’t
ask, don’t tell”, I always say!
✰Keep your desk clean enough to not attract vermin. Tidiness is
optional.
✌
✌
✌
✌
✌
Of course the workplace would be a boring, drama-free zone if we
were all model citizens day-in day-out. So allow yourself, and others,
the occasional lapse.
May 2013 Actuaries 37
CEO's Column
Shades of Grey
H
ow do we want actuaries to
be perceived by our employers
and clients? A key element of
our strategy is that “Actuaries
are in demand as trusted advisers and
partners to business.” But what does
that mean?
What do businesses want and how
can we deliver it?
One thing I think businesses want
that actuaries can provide is help in
making difficult business decisions
where the path may not be clear or
obvious. Where there are many shades
of grey, where the fog of uncertainty is
obscuring the decision-making – that is
where actuaries come into their own.
But we won’t get key business
decision-makers’ attention by talking
about uncertainty or shades of grey.
“It’s either black, or it’s white”. So
said Rob Morrison, Creative Director
from OgilvyOne at the recent member
consultations on Reputation of the
Profession.
Now obviously the world is full of
shades of grey, so what does this statement
mean? President John Newman articulated
this well at the sessions when he said that
ultimately businesses want a black and
white answer: given all of the risks and
uncertainty – should we do this or not?
At the end of the day a business decision
has to be made. They need to press “go” or
decide “no”. And sometimes the decisions
are difficult and the path is not obvious.
There are risks both ways. For example:
Do we develop our MySuper product now
before the legislation is finalised, or do we
wait? What is our risk appetite? Given that
appetite, how much reinsurance should we
put in place and what will the impact be
on our capital? Given a recent large event
just prior to balance date and we don’t yet
know what the claims will be, what should
our outstanding claims reserves be? Should
we launch this new product and be first to
market, or wait until the appeal is clearer
and be a close follower?
I think that what our clients want is to
be guided through the uncertainty. Sure
38 Actuaries May 2013
they need to be aware of all the risks and
uncertainties around the issue, and making
sure clients understand that is a key part of
the actuary’s skill and the value we can add.
But we need to do more than this. We should
be providing strong recommendations, not
just analysis. We should be in the room
when the decision is made, not just be there
to present some data then asked to leave.
There is a great temptation for
actuaries to hide behind uncertainty and
complexity, to live in the grey areas when
the reality is that clients want black and
white. I would argue that some of our
training pushes us towards the grey. We
are risk averse and are trained to provide
the analysis. Many actuaries are happy
to give their clients (whether internal or
external) advice that goes a bit like this:
“on the one hand, but then again on the
other hand… you make the decision!”
They do not give a firm recommendation.
Is that how we want to be perceived?
Is that what our customers want?
Our skill set is articulated by OgilvyOne as
follows: “Where others wander through a fog
of grey, the actuary will find the most likely
path.” And another, “the actuary 'sculpts fog'”–
i.e. we provide clarity out of uncertainty.
Many actuaries are very good at
providing clear advice and are already seen
as valued business advisers. The growth in
actuarial consulting roles, where being a
valued adviser to business is a necessary
survival skill, shows that our advice is valued.
There are also many actuaries in corporate
roles that are seen as valued business
advisers across a range of issues both
technical and strategic. But many actuaries
don’t do this. In a competitive world, our
future survival depends on the majority of
actuaries being capable of doing this.
Training the actuary of
tomorrow
Does the way we train our young actuaries
equip them to be able to do this?
My training as an actuary in the 1980s
and 90s did not recognise or emphasise
the need to gain business acumen or to
become an adviser to the whole business.
I was one of the lucky generation that was
© kirk palmer design
Melinda Howes
melinda.howes@actuaries.asn.au
granted a scholarship by a Life Office to
attend university. During my uni holidays,
and then for four years after uni, I worked
for that company in life insurance and then
group superannuation.
I was trained to do careful analysis,
and to present my findings to the actuary
who would then draw conclusions and
write the necessary report. I received
valuable technical training in data
programming, valuation and pricing,
and I even had a stint in the claims area
which did go some way to broadening
my understanding of the business.
However I think it’s fair to say that the
end result of three years of university and
four years of work was that I was taught
to analyse and not recommend; to not give
answers on the spot but to go away and
research then return later with the answer;
and I was not given much exposure to other
parts of the business so I didn’t gain much
business acumen.
Later jobs (outside actuarial teams) filled
in the gaps for me. To succeed in my next
job in product development I had to make
recommendations in very short timeframes
and then defend them against conflicting
opinions, based firmly on my broad business
knowledge. I found this tough! But once I
realised it was important, I worked hard at
building this skill.
Vice President Estelle Pearson is leading
a strategic review of our education program,
looking at what we teach young actuaries
– what skills we want them to have. I hope
that we see things come out of this like
teaching some new knowledge areas to
keep us up-to-date in the data decade, in
business acumen or the framework on which
to build it, and training in the skills and the
courage required to “put yourself out there”
and make recommendations.
Our Capabilities Framework (http://
www.actuaries.asn.au/Library/
Education/Other%20Education/2012/
ActuarialCapabilitiesForTheFuture.pdf) already
includes some of this with a capability group
around “Contribution to Business Strategy”
and an emphasis on communication skills
throughout each of the capability groups.
Our point of difference
What has always distinguished a good
actuary from any other professional
a business could use? It’s our deep
understanding of the business, its risks
and what drives its profits. It’s our ability
to see the big picture and connect
disparate sources of information. It’s
our ability to work with the C-Suite
and the Board and give them fearless,
practical advice which shows them a
path of action through the grey areas
enabling them to make a decision.
The way we promote the profession
and build our reputation needs to
draw people's attention clearly to
this unique skill-set of actuaries. I
think ‘No grey areas’ is aspirational; it
will get attention and let us start the
conversation about what we can do.
Feedback from members on the proposal
to promote the profession will be reviewed
by Council at its next meeting on 11 June.
Council had approved this proposal in
December 2012 for member consultation.
Watch this space for an update on
that discussion.
May 2013 Actuaries 39
Student Column
Jonathan Choi
jchoi@mqassoc.org.au
The Definition of a 21st Century Actuary
40 Actuaries May 2013
or economic crisis using their extraordinary
mathematical and statistical techniques. This
evolution begs the interesting question, did
Mores envision the actuarial profession to
be as it exists today?
In my opinion, actuarial studies has
become more than just preparing a student
to be an actuary, but rather equipping
them with the skills and tools to apply
actuarial techniques in places that need
its assistance. The emerging demand for
actuaries from industries such as consulting,
investment banking and data analytics
reflects the value an actuary can add to
any company.
Having learnt all of the things that
an actuary can do, I am still perplexed
by the opportunities that lie ahead after
graduation. However, I believe that using
the skills and techniques from an actuarial
degree in a broader context and in ways
that will add value to the community is
a rewarding pathway for an actuarial
graduate. If more actuarial students adopted
a similar psyche, they would see that there
are more doors open ahead of them than
they once thought. My advice to other
actuarial students is that whether you prefer
the more traditional actuarial roles in life
insurance or the emerging non-traditional
areas such as data analytics, you need to
find the direction that you want to go
because the title ‘actuary’ now has a much
broader definition.
It is common that university students will
not be sure about what they actually want
to do after their studies. Perhaps this is
because it is much easier to pick 100 things
that they don’t want to do rather than pick
one thing that they want.
What roles should an aspiring actuarial
student adopt? I believe that it is important
to be proactive and to take that extra step to
find out what interests you and to apply for
any opportunities that will give you a taste
of what each role offers.
In the 21st Century, a fresh perspective
of actuarial studies as a broad study of
business and statistical skills rather than
just an avenue to becoming a professional
in a specific field of work has emerged. The
ever-changing actuarial profession poses
both benefits and difficulties for aspiring
actuaries and it is up to the new generation
of actuaries to decide whether they want to
take charge and gain the advantages from
all the budding career opportunities or sit
back and let the overwhelming evolution of
the actuarial profession come to them.
© Digital Storm–shutterstock.com
A
s an actuarial student, the recurring
question which comes with the
square academic cap is, "What will
I do after I graduate?" The most
straightforward and obvious response is
"Work as an actuary." But are actuaries only
limited to actuarial work? Are there other
options available?
In 1662, a draper named John Graunt
created the first life table from the data in
the London Bills of Mortality. It was a pivotal
moment for all actuaries as it marked the
start of this ever-growing profession. In
1693, mathematician Edmond Halley was
able to estimate the probability a person
will survive for a certain period, which gave
rise to the well known tPx formula used by
actuaries today in many incarnations.
The term “actuary” finally made its
debut in 1762 when the first life assurance
company, The Equitable, associated
their CEO Edward Rowe Mores with this
professional title. Historically, an actuary
was only required to understand life tables
and know how to calculate premiums.
How have the skills required by actuaries
evolved overtime?
By observing the modern day syllabus
of the CT subjects, it seems that little has
changed over the past three and a half
centuries with respect to the skills that
actuarial students must adopt. Modern day
actuarial students still look at the AM92
life tables, still calculate risk and gross
premiums, and most importantly, still try
to find the perfect model to predict life
expectancy.
But all of these foundations make up
only a fraction of the work and capabilities
of a 21st Century actuary. Despite being in
a society surrounded by the foundations
established by our actuarial ancestors
(from the obvious insurance businesses, to
the general financial sector and even the
environmental sector), the most frequently
given response when informing someone
that 'I am studying actuarial studies' is still
'What is it?’
Actuaries nowadays are no longer just
crunching numbers but can be seen as the
guardian angels that protect the world from
the terrible consequences of natural disaster
Congratulations
Anne Peters
anne.peters@actuaries.asn.au
Happy birthday… to us!!
27 May 2013 marks the 50th birthday of the Institute’s incorporation under the then Companies Act. Of course, its lineage is far older
– from 1897 to 1918, it was The Actuarial Society of New South Wales, from 1919 to 1959 it was The Actuarial Society of Australasia and
from 1960 to 1962, it was The Actuarial Society of Australia and New Zealand. Although incorporated in 1963 as The Institute of Actuaries
of Australia and New Zealand, its name was changed to its current form on 3 June 1977.
A walk down memory lane…
© Jezper–shuttersTOck.com
The profession
The Institute’s President was
Mr E H Templeton FIA who gave his
Presidential Address on the functions
of the Institute, forecasting, design
of superannuation plans, life office
superannuation, interest rates by year
of investment and capital appreciation
There were a total of 281 members on
27 May 1963 – 114 Fellows;
26 Associates, 62 Students and
79 lay members
The AM Parker Prize Fund was
established with the donation of £2,000
by Mr Parker
The Life Offices Association offered
to (and did) provide the Presidential
Medallion
Surplus for the four month period
from incorporation to end of financial
year (30 September) was £195. 15. 5
($5,038.92 in 2012 dollars – $17.93 per
member)
Income for the period was derived from:
− subscriptions (£299. 5. 0)
− convention fees (£368. 0. 0)
− tuition fees (£11. 0. 0)
Australia
Robert Menzies was Prime Minister
British nuclear tests at Maralinga
ceased
Indigenous Australians given the right
to vote in Federal elections on the same
basis as other electors
John Eccles shares the Nobel Prize in
Physiology or Medicine for his work
on the synapse – he is announced as
Australian of the Year
International Direct Dialling became
possible with the opening of the
Commonwealth Pacific Cable – part
of a scheme to connect the British
Commonwealth by telephone
The top song of the year was I want to
hold your hand by the Beatles
Margaret Court becomes the first
Australian to win the Ladies’ Singles at
Wimbledon
Population: 10.95 million
The world
The Lamborghini (car) was born
Martin Luther King Jr delivers his
famous “I have a dream” speech
President John F Kennedy is
assassinated, as well as his accused
assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald
Author C S Lewis dies, as does Pope
John XXIII
France and West Germany sign treaty
of cooperation ending four centuries of
conflict
British Secretary of War, John Profumo,
resigns in the wake of an affair with
Christine Keeler, a teenage showgirl
who was also involved with a Soviet
naval attaché
Washington to Moscow “hot line”
communications link opens, designed to
reduce risk of accidental war
Population: 3.205 billion

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