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  #1  
Old 10-03-2014, 09:39 PM
actuary21c actuary21c is offline
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Default Is your personal freedom of speech restricted by being an actuary?

(written in a personal capacity)
You may be interested in the following

See
https://twitter.com/actuary21c/statu...85984132124673 and earlier related tweets.

Brief background: following a variety of incidents in recent years in which I was told that as a person identifiable as an actuary I should not criticise any religion (even though i was doing this in a personal capacity), I asked the IFoA for clarification.

Eventually I got a reply saying that the IFoA was committed to freedom of speech for its members on a personal basis, subject to the Actuaries' Code requirement not to reflect badly on the profession.

I thought it would be useful to share this information with fellow members of the IFoA, so I asked the editor of The Actuary magazine (the one for IFoA members, not the magazine for SOA members which I believe has the same name) if they would be interested in a short letter on this topic, and I outlined what I would say in the letter. Yes came the reply, and I duly sent the letter off (very much on the lines I had indicated).

A few days later I was very politely informed by the editor that the editorial team had declined to publish my letter, although I was free to submit a letter on a different topic.

See the tweets for what happened next.

(I'd be interested to hear whether anyone has any similar [or indeed very different] experiences, either as an IFoA member, or SOA or CAS).
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a21c is one of the better posters on the AO. That's not saying he's good.

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  #2  
Old 10-03-2014, 10:28 PM
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....whut? (and obviously, I know what particular writings these are, b.c I read them)

dear lord, one notorious guy here on the AO (no longer here) wouldn't shut up about how evil the Catholic Church was. That's not what made him persona non grata on the AO.

I mean, sorry you're a Brit and all that means re: lack of speech freedoms, but that's just weird. Next thing you know, IFoA members will not be allowed to be members of specific political parties.
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  #3  
Old 10-03-2014, 11:27 PM
Arlie_Proctor Arlie_Proctor is offline
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The current interconnected environment of the internet is thorny for actuaries. It is very difficult in today's world to separate one's personal and professional lives, and that is very unfortunate. At least in the US, the unified Code of Conduct applicable to all US actuaries is at best vague when it comes to private and professional conduct. I would be interested to see what the IFoA Code says in that respect. It really does make an actuary run scared in that ANYTHING you say can and will be used against you.
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Old 10-03-2014, 11:45 PM
actuary21c actuary21c is offline
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Originally Posted by Arlie_Proctor View Post
The current interconnected environment of the internet is thorny for actuaries. It is very difficult in today's world to separate one's personal and professional lives, and that is very unfortunate. At least in the US, the unified Code of Conduct applicable to all US actuaries is at best vague when it comes to private and professional conduct. I would be interested to see what the IFoA Code says in that respect. It really does make an actuary run scared in that ANYTHING you say can and will be used against you.
The relevant parts of the Actuaries' Code (dating from 1 Oct 2013, see http://www.actuaries.org.uk/regulati...actuaries-code) seem to be

Quote:
Scope: The Code applies at all times to members’ conduct in their work as actuaries, but will also be taken into consideration where their conduct in other contexts could reasonably be considered to reflect on the profession.

Status and Purpose: The Code consists of principles which members are expected to observe in the public interest and in order to build and promote confidence in the work of actuaries and in the actuarial profession. The Code will be taken into account if a member’s conduct is called into question for the purposes of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries’ Disciplinary Scheme.

Also from Principle 1 (Integrity):
Integrity: Members will act honestly and with the highest standards of integrity.
1.1 Members will show respect for others in the way they conduct themselves in their professional lives.
I have been told in the past that although someone identifiable as a member of the IFoA may condemn acts of violence by individuals, they may not criticise Islam or any other religion, and they may not associate violence with any religion in general.

I think that goes far beyond the Actuaries' Code, and indeed I think the IFoA by its recent answer(privately to me - members at large are unaware of it, and are unlikely to know of it given The Actuary magazine's refusal to publish my letter, unless the IFoA informs members in a newsletter or similar) makes that clear.

But what do others think? Are you subject to similar restrictions in your private speech, either from the SoA/CAS/AAA, or from your employers, irrespective of what the laws of your land are (including the US's admirable 1st Amendment)?
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a21c is one of the better posters on the AO. That's not saying he's good.

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Old 10-03-2014, 11:53 PM
actuary21c actuary21c is offline
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Default SOA, CAS & AustralianInstitute all declined to answer a question on Freedom of Speech

You may be interested in the following:
https://twitter.com/actuary21c/statu...31822682796032

Quote:
.@SOActuaries @actuarynews @CASact @ActuariesInst
is it your view that someone identifiable as an actuary should not criticise Islam (or any other religion) on Twitter or other public media, even in a personal capacity? If so, why?
I did eventually get a reply from the IFoA, but possibly only because I pressed the point via emails.
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a21c is one of the better posters on the AO. That's not saying he's good.

UK software developer, actuary, musician, atheist. All posts in a personal capacity (unless explicitly stated otherwise in the post).

Last edited by actuary21c; 10-03-2014 at 11:54 PM.. Reason: shortened slightly for tidyness
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Old 10-04-2014, 12:26 AM
actuary21c actuary21c is offline
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Default The Actuary DOES seem to be official mag for SOA, but IFoA one is NOT...

Looking at https://www.soa.org/actuarymag/, it does seem to be the case that the magazine "The Actuary" published for SOA members is the official magazine for the SOA, because it doesn't have a separate website, the SOA President and staff contacts are listed prominently in the front cover of the magazine, which is also marked as Copyright The Society of Actuaries.

This contrasts with "The Actuary" magazine published for IFoA members, which currently holds itself out as if it is the official magazine for IFoA members (it uses the words "the UK actuarial profession"), but is actually published by a separate organisation, The Staple Inn Actuarial Society (SIAS), with 3 organisations involved: the IFoA, SIAS and Redactive (a publishing company).

If a SOA member wrote a short letter on freedom of speech to the SOA's The Actuary magazine, do people think it would be published? If it was declined, would anything happen?
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a21c is one of the better posters on the AO. That's not saying he's good.

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  #7  
Old 10-04-2014, 12:53 AM
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Look, the actuarial professional internationally is not known for taking difficult stances.

if you didn't notice that already

separately, from direct knowledge, it is difficult to get an article published in the SOA's mag. And while they do run letters, generally they are in response to items published in that mag previously.

I think it would be difficult to get a letter run re: free speech in the US Actuary magazine.
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Old 10-04-2014, 12:30 PM
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I don't believe that being an actuary limits my personal freedom of speech - maybe it would if I were a "well-known" actuary.
In any case, this is not to say that I have unlimited freedom of speech. One is not free, as they say, to shout "Fire" in a crowded theater when there is no fire. The question of hate speech is more difficult. Where is the line between inciting to riot and just being a nasty hateful person?
I haven't read the link, just a few words from my personal philosophy, which may or may not relate to the particular incident.
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Old 10-04-2014, 01:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JMO View Post
I don't believe that being an actuary limits my personal freedom of speech - maybe it would if I were a "well-known" actuary.
In any case, this is not to say that I have unlimited freedom of speech. One is not free, as they say, to shout "Fire" in a crowded theater when there is no fire. The question of hate speech is more difficult. Where is the line between inciting to riot and just being a nasty hateful person?
I haven't read the link, just a few words from my personal philosophy, which may or may not relate to the particular incident.
Hate speech should not be a crime in the USA, provided it is the expression of one's personal beliefs (no matter how misguided) as opposed to a direct attempt to instigate violence. The difference between shouting fire and conducting hate speech is that shouting fire is not an expression of one's ideas or beliefs, but an attempt to cause a dangerous commotion. Publishing cartoons of Mohammed, for example, would be legal in the US because even though they may lead to violence, they are still presumably the expression of someone's political, social, or religious beliefs.

That being said, professional bodies and employers generally have wide latitude in determining acceptable standards of behavior. I believe that freedom of speech applies mainly to criminal law and seldom provides protection from ostracism or expulsion from private entities.
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Old 10-04-2014, 01:26 PM
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We should distinguish between (1) a person writing something and identifying himself (or herself) as an actuary in order to gain some additional credibility, and (2) an actuary writing something as an individual without in any way claiming actuarial expertise or identifying himself (or herself) as an actuary. In the first case, the actuarial profession has some interest, perhaps trivial but non-zero, in what the person says. In the second case, I believe that the individual has every right to speak out, and the actuarial profession should mind its own business. I didn't lose my rights as an American citizen when I became an actuary 40 years ago.

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