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Stop being the professional: the most professional thing to do

Stop being the professional: the most professional thing to do

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For the first time in 15 years, my calendar year will start differently next month. I will not spend the first working day of the year completing my application to renew my Scheme Actuary practising certificate. Instead, I have let the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (IFoA) know that I will not be renewing my certificate and have worked with the remaining Buck clients that I have been privileged to act as Scheme Actuary for, to ensure alternate and extremely capable candidates can successfully take on the roles with our clients’ full support.

It has been quite a leap to make this decision. This has been not only my professional role for the majority of my career, but also one which I have enjoyed immensely and one which I have never stopped learning from.

In truth though, I have reconciled myself firmly that this is the right thing to do for our clients, my profession and for Buck. Let me explain.

Firstly, and very rightly so, the IFoA is keen to ensure that Scheme Actuaries are spending the great majority of their time performing reserved work. It is a complex and fast paced professional role, and clients are served best by professionals who are constantly learning and advising on the full range of matters impacting DB pension scheme trustees and sponsors.

Secondly, as I have taken on the UK Managing Director role, in a time when Buck has embarked on an exciting new chapter as a standalone organisation, my wider responsibilities to all of Buck’s clients and people have grown and equally deserve great care and attention. I am privileged to lead 660 UK & European professionals who I am proud to not only call my colleagues, but also my friends. It is a huge responsibility to look after and support our fantastic people, and to represent their views and needs as a bold, confident and nimble consulting, technology and administration firm, so they in turn can continue to do what they do best: provide an outstanding service to the clients we partner with. As I have come to realise, that is where I am needed the most.

Thirdly, but very importantly, the clients we serve are a driving force behind my decision. They always deserve the best, and in such a competitive marketplace, it is important Buck delivers. Let’s be clear, I have had the privilege of representing a number of our clients and I always felt I was working hard to deliver a great service. Many successful and very positive outcomes from some extremely tricky exchanges with corporate advisers and The Pensions Regulator over recent years have provided me with the comfort that this was indeed the case. However, I do feel that as my responsibilities within the new and rapidly growing Buck expand, I would have to question myself in future as to whether this was still true.

So, with a heavy heart, it is time for me to step aside to respect the standing of the practising Scheme Actuary role. I have made my decision to stop being the professional, which I sincerely believe is the professional thing to do.

I wish all continuing practising Scheme Actuaries the very best in holding up the beacon of what it means to be a client-focused serving professional long into the future.  And, for the avoidance of doubt, I will still keep a keen eye on developments and stay close to the issues that matter to our Scheme Actuary appointments, as demonstrated at Buck’s recent actuaries’ forum event.

After all, I am still an actuary, and a proud one at that.

 

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