Inside Story: Ben Stroud
What volunteer role(s) do you do for the IFoA?
The most significant role has been as secretary of the Value of With-Profits for Consumers Working Party. I am also CPD co-ordinator and student employer contact (SEC) for my employer, and volunteer with the 400 Club.
How long have you been volunteering?
I became a career ambassador in 2011.
What’s involved in your role(s)?
As secretary my role included organising and minuting regular meetings, liaising with the IFoA and keeping the group organised. I also carried out research, constructed surveys, contacted firms and drafted reports. CPD co-ordinator and SEC are similar roles as a point of contact between the IFoA and members at your employer; you are facilitating colleagues’ development. Engaging with your firm’s learning and development team, or regional societies, can uncover great opportunities.
What motivates you to volunteer for the IFoA?
Volunteering provides access to members with different approaches but a common passion for making a difference. Celebrating this diversity of thought and reaching a shared objective can be very rewarding.
What have you/do you hope to achieve in your volunteer role?
My hope is that the final Value of With-Profits for Consumers Working Party report will prompt further thought on how firms manage with-profits funds and engage with policyholders.
What new skills or knowledge do you think you have developed?
Obtaining useful results from a survey requires more work at the survey design stage than you might think!
Has this assisted your lifelong learning?
Definitely. Volunteering is a superb way to expand your horizons and interact with experts outside your firm.
Have there been any memorable moments?
My working party highlights included presenting at the 2017 Life Conference, being published in The Actuary and sharing our final report at the end of 2019.
How do you balance your day job and your volunteer role?
Most employers put time aside to support personal and professional development, so the CPD co-ordinator role has been possible within working hours. For the working party, it helps to be involved in a topic you feel passionate about.
How do you relax away from the office?
In a trendy bar or beer shop, in between trips to Belgium for all the best beer.
What would you say to others considering a volunteer role?
‘Just do it’. Find an opportunity you feel passionate about and put yourself forward.
Do you prefer a staycation or holiday abroad?
I enjoy a city break abroad, observing the local culture and finding hidden gems.
If you were locked in a famous building for one night, which would it be and why?
The windmill De Arkduif in the Netherlands. This houses Brouwerij de Molen’s Brouwcafé – a beer-focused restaurant, beer shop and tasting room.
Ben Stroud Life actuary for the Financial Regulator, based in London, UK
To share your volunteer involvement or find out about volunteering for the IFoA, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org