Skip to main content

Inside story: Edwin Sheaf, Willis Towers Watson, Pensions

Published on: 6 Oct 2021

Edwin SheafWhere are you based?

Currently a home office in Hertfordshire, but more usually in central London.

What volunteer role(s) do you do for the IFoA?

I am a member of the Regulatory Board and of the Practising Certificates Committee, and have previously served two terms on Council, as well as periods on the Management Board, Nominations Committee, DC Advisory Committee and various working groups dealing with regulatory and educational matters.

What’s involved in your role(s)?

My role on the Regulatory Board involves helping to steer the IFoA’s regulatory and disciplinary functions, as well as regulatory aspects of the education system. My role on the Practising Certificates Committee involves reviewing and commenting on  Scheme Actuary Certificate application and renewal forms.

What motivates you to volunteer for the IFoA?

I find the work interesting, and it provides a nice contrast to my day job advising trustees and sponsors of occupational pension schemes. It also gives me a far broader perspective of the IFoA than I had before. In addition, I enjoy the chance to meet and work with a broad range of IFoA members and other volunteers, as well as members of the IFoA Executive. Last, but not least, it is nice to give something back to the profession and to feel that, in a small way, I am making a difference and contributing to its future success.

What do you hope to achieve in your volunteer role?  

To make a positive difference to the health of the profession, and to leave it better positioned to address the challenges of the future.

What new skills or knowledge do you think you have developed?

Having come to volunteering mid-career, I’m not sure I have developed any new skills (with the possible exception of speed reading, given the length of some of the meeting packs!). However, it has enabled me to extensively practise a wide range of skills including strategic thinking, presenting, listening, debating and arguing my point of view.

Have there been any memorable moments?

Attending the New Qualifier Ceremonies, which I did as a member of Council, was always memorable and hugely enjoyable. Playing a part in the development of the new examination structure was also rewarding.

How do you balance your day job and your volunteer role?

I am lucky enough to have an understanding employer, and I work quite long hours!  

How do you relax away from the office?

Spending time with my wife and daughter. I like going to the theatre and cinema but obviously I haven’t done much of that recently. I have managed a lot more reading!

What would you say to others considering a volunteer role?

Do it! You gain a huge amount, you work with some great people and it gives you a different perspective on the profession.

What was your earliest dream job?

A singer. Unfortunately, I am tone deaf.

Do you prefer a staycation or holiday abroad?

I don’t recall what a holiday abroad is!

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

The London Palladium. I’ll be able to fulfil my ambition to be a singer, and no one will have to listen to me.

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

Being elected to Council twice by my peers was pleasing and very humbling.

Edwin Sheaf, Willis Towers Watson, Pensions