Selecting an Actuary

13 Dec 2021

Setting the scene

Our client had two schemes, each with a different actuary. This wasn’t a problem, but it was time for a review and they wanted to consider the benefits and downsides of sharing an actuary across the two schemes.

We were appointed to support the selection process. The client needed our knowledge of the market, and experience of managing tender exercises, to ensure they were seeing the most suitable candidates and running a robust process. The fact that we are completely independent from suppliers, and had no prior involvement with the schemes, meant that we would bring a fresh perspective to the process.

Finding what’s right

There isn’t any great secret to a selection process, so the key is how you focus on getting the right candidates, and finding the right cultural fit whilst meeting your service requirements. The shortlisting is critical in this, and a knowledge of the market really helps to identify a broad range of firms and consulting styles.

Our client landed on a shortlist of eight firms, knowing that there was a risk that some would not bid. In practice, two declined to bid. The remaining six responded to an RfP, which we had structured and written to provide candidates with a good understanding of the client. This allowed candidates to put forward the most appropriate person and adapt their proposal accordingly.

Bidders met with the selection panel for an initial briefing as well as final presentations. The process honed in on the aspects the client had identified as being important: the commitment of the actuary to them as a client, demonstrating an ability to get up to speed on the client’s specific schemes, and showing innovative approaches and thinking relevant to the specific circumstances of our client.

But it’s also important that the “softer” aspects are given consideration. Does the actuary understand you as a client? Will they be able to challenge you and present complex ideas simply? Will you get on well?

The results

Through an exercise that really sought to test the key criteria for our client, whilst not neglecting the “hygiene” factors, our client decided on an actuary with who they are very happy with.

Our market knowledge identified the most appropriate candidates, and our process drove candidates to demonstrate the characteristics, and skills, required to meet the needs of our client.

Key Learnings

  • Market knowledge is critical in ensuring the right candidates, and a broad range of candidates, are included on the shortlist.
  • Whilst having a detailed idea of the more measurable aspects of the service that carry greater weight in any decision, it is also important to consider the “softer” side too. Will you be able to work with the actuary?
  • Providing the candidates with the information they need to put forward their best proposal, and the individual best suited to the client’s ways of working helps to ensure you receive the best proposals.