Public interest, purpose-driven institutions and the actuary as arbiter of the ethical process

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During four sessions from 16-23 March, a group of leading economists and actuaries gathered—virtually—to discuss the public interest, shortcomings of finance and the role of actuaries.

Nico Aspinall argued that the public interest aligns well with public goods, commons and externalities to business; that purpose-driven organisations treat these as external capitals they rely on rather than externalities they can ignore. In terms of the role of actuaries he suggested that they should see themselves as the arbiter of the processes an organisation takes to translate its stakeholders’ objectives into strategy with professional ethics relating to the clarity of the actions an organisation takes and its purpose.

In this guest article, he asks all actuaries to re-examine how they operate to support their clients in holistically considering their strategy; and to support the development of better approaches where required.