The Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (IFoA) is introducing a new mandatory Actuarial Profession Standard (APS) in relation to review of actuarial work. The existing requirements in the APS applying to scheme actuaries will be withdrawn.
APS X2 Review of Actuarial Work will come into force on 1 July 2015 and is accompanied by a detailed, practical Guide. One of its key requirements is that actuaries, for any piece of work they wish to have reviewed, will need to consider the need for that review to be independently carried out, ie by someone not otherwise involved in the work in question.
I should declare straight away that I have a conflict of interest about this new standard, having set up a business because I felt scheme actuaries should have access to peer review services from an experienced scheme actuary outside their organisations. I am delighted that an idea which seemed a little odd to some when I first started offering these services in 2013 should now be regarded as sufficiently mainstream by the IFoA to prompt a revision of peer review guidelines.
Under APS X2, review processes are defined as either work review or independent peer review. Whereas work review is a general term covering all forms of review processes, the term independent peer review can only be applied to review processes involving reviewers not otherwise involved in the piece of work under review.
There are many reasons why you might want to have your work independently reviewed, for example:
- Work reviewed within a firm might be influenced by the respective positions of the actuary and his/her reviewer within the management structure of the organisation;
- Even if the work is reviewed by a colleague completely objectively, it might not be seen to have been;
- There is a risk of group think in any organisation. Review from outside can significantly reduce this risk;
- An independent reviewer may have a different range of experiences to draw on from those within your organisation. This can be particularly useful when reviewing work where there are potential conflicts of interest or concerns over how best to communicate a piece of work.