General Insurance Article - IFoA secures major sponsor for Thought Leadership series

The Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (IFoA) has secured a major sponsorship agreement with Dr Patrick Sun Cheong Poon to support its newly conceived Thought Leadership Programme.

 The new programme seeks to re-position the IFoA at the centre of key societal debates, providing a forum and voice for actuaries in addressing the pressing social issues of our time and the strategic issues which confront the IFoA and the profession. This is in keeping with the IFoA’s strategy and its vision for actuaries to deploy their skills, expertise, and influence in new and wider areas.

 The programme will encompass thought leaders and past Presidents of the IFoA, external policy makers, academics and thinkers like Dr. Helen Wright (education specialist and NED), Professor Herminia Ibarra of London Business School, Dr Andy Haldane of the Bank of England, and Professor Sir Adrian Smith, President of the Royal Society. The agenda will be wide ranging and will cover Covid-19, finance in the public interest, mathematical futures, transformation of the profession, and behavioural science and sustainability topics. All these speak to actuarial thought leadership or to the transformation agenda of the IFoA. More information on the Thought Leadership Programme is attached in the Notes to Editors.

 Dr Patrick Sun Cheong Poon will also be providing a generous donation to the IFoA Foundation. The Foundation is the independent charitable arm of the IFoA. It’s mission is ‘Actuaries Supporting Others’, with a vision to open doors for the next generation of actuaries and empower the profession to be transformative in addressing global challenges. The Foundation gives opportunity to actuaries and future actuaries from all backgrounds, celebrates excellence at the cutting edge of the profession and works in partnership to unlock solutions to critical priorities, from pandemics to climate change.

 As a result of Dr. Poon’s generosity, the Foundation will be setting up a GBP 500,000 scholarship fund in Greater China and South-East Asia to provide bursaries for actuarial students at eligible IFoA accredited universities across both regions.

 Dr. Poon has had a career spanning over 40 years in the insurance industry in Greater China and South-East Asia. In 1975, he became one of the earliest Chinese-born citizens to become a Fellow of the IFoA. Dr Poon is also a Member of the American Academy of Actuaries and many Asian-based regional actuarial societies. He has served as a board member of the International Insurance Society and is a Past President of both the Actuarial Society of Hong Kong and the Actuarial Society of Malaysia.

 Tan Suee Chieh, IFoA President, said: “I first met Patrick at the age of 17 in 1977 to seek his advice as he was one of the earliest qualified actuaries practising in Malaysia at that time. He is one of the IFoA pioneers and legendary actuaries in the region and has generously supported the pursuit of actuarial science over many years.

 “We are deeply appreciative of Patrick’s kind generosity and look forward to a productive philanthropic partnership.”

 Kartina Tahir-Thomson, IFoA Foundation Chair, said: "On behalf of the Trustees of the IFoA Foundation, I would like to express our sincere thanks to Dr Poon for his extremely generous support that will create real momentum towards our goals. As a visionary philanthropist and actuary, Dr Poon lights a trail that follows centuries of tradition as part of a profession that has always given back.

 We look forward to welcoming Dr Poon as a valued peer and partner who shares our passion for unlocking the power of the actuarial profession for positive, transformational change in our global society."

 Dr Patrick Sun Cheong Poon said: “The actuarial profession has an important role to play in the financial sector as well as addressing society’s wider social, economic and health issues. As a profession, we can be more influential in helping to address some of society’s big issues. In this regard, I am delighted to support IFoA’s inaugural Thought Leadership programme and Presidential Speaker Series – which seeks to address the big sustainability issues of our time.

 “The IFoA Foundation’s China and South-East Asia Fund aims to provide bursaries to actuarial students in the region. IFoA’s educational approach and influence in this part of the world has progressed well in the last three decades. I hope this initiative will go some way to make IFoA programmes even more accessible to students in their early careers and enhance IFoA’s presence in this region.”

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