Inside Story: Dick Rae

Dick RaeWhat volunteer role(s) do you do for the IFoA?

I’m currently chair of the Finance & Investment Board and chair of the Banking Member Interest Group. I’m also in a new working party that is looking at banking education for actuaries.

What’s involved in your role(s)?

Working with the members of the F&I Board and the Banking MIG to agree and implement their strategies for the year ahead. This covers research, education, international, communication, consultations and diversity.

What motivates you to volunteer for the IFoA?

It’s my way of paying back the benefit I have received from past volunteers. The then Institute of Actuaries had a strap line that quoted Francis Bacon: “I hold every man a debtor to his profession”. I think the IFoA must be unique in the extent to which it is a member-led profession reliant on its volunteers.

What do you currently hope to achieve in your volunteer role?

To promote and serve the interests of the finance and investment community. Actuaries should be more involved in banking – members need to have a 
better understanding of banking and how we can benefit it, which means the IFoA needs to provide an appropriate level of education.

Has volunteering assisted your lifelong learning and helped you in your day job?

At times of change, involving myself in the right working party has kept me at 
the leading edge. It’s helped build my credentials and reputation in those fields.

Have there been any memorable moments?

Discussions at the sessional meetings held in London and Edinburgh on a paper that I co-authored entitled ‘A review of Solvency II: Has it met its objectives?’ It was a terrific experience to have something I authored debated by the best in the profession.

How do you relax away from the office?

Walking with my wife and family or skiing with friends. As a season ticketholder I watch most of West Ham United’s home games, but I’m not sure if that counts as relaxation!

What would you say to others considering a volunteer role?

Absolutely do it. Once you’ve volunteered it’s important you support your colleagues and provide good quality input on time. I would suggest you dip your toe in the water first. Start on something light that you know you can commit to and learn from the experience.

Who is your role model – in life or in business?

My role model is a montage of many people whom I have admired and respected – usually aspects of their behaviour or the way they manage situations. Obviously a disproportionate number are actuaries!

If you were locked in a famous building for one night...which would 
it be and why?

I’ve done it already! I stayed the night at Upton Park before it was demolished and West Ham United moved to their new ground at the London Stadium.

What would you consider to be the most brilliant time of your career to date?

My time at Deutsche Bank before the financial crisis. We put in place some huge market risk hedges with life offices to protect their balance sheets against falling interest rates, high inflation and adverse stock markets. To develop our opportunities further we started investing in insurance companies, culminating in the purchase of Abbey Life, at which I became CEO for a short time. Without the hedges that we and others put in place, many insurers and their policyholders could have found themselves far worse off.  

To share your volunteer involvement or find out about volunteering for the IFoA, contact: debbie.atkins@actuaries.org.uk

Dick Rae At the end of an executive career, principally in life insurance; now contemplating non-executive work. Based near London. 

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