votes in ASI elections shocks many
27 June 2002
A concerted voting by around 45 foreign actuaries in favour of
one set of contestants is all set to change the current
composition of Actuarial Society of Indias (ASI) governing
The institutes recently concluded executive committee (EC) saw
intense lobbying by foreign actuarial firms and actuaries
preceding the event.
It is said that a former president of Institute of Actuaries, UK,
too, canvassed actively in favour of one set of contestants. This
is said to have influenced the foreign actuaries tilting the
scales against the incumbents governing body. For instance,
Heerak Basu, a UK national but a person of Indian origin, working
with Watson Wyatt, Singapore, polled the highest number of votes
(155) among the contestants.
ASIs electoral college, consisting of fellow and associate
members, will elect EC, which in turn will choose the
But voting by foreign members in the professional institute
elections is nothing new. "The UK actuarial institute allows
non-British members to vote in its elections. But the non-British
members will be a small percentage of the total electoral college
and will not be able to make any impact," says ASI president
Nalin R Kapadia.
Curiously, the elections bring back Liyaquat Khan with a bang at
ASI polling 148 votes. "I have an unfinished agenda at ASI
and will most probably contest for the presidents post this
year," says Khan. On the other hand Kapadia, the incumbent
president, has decided not to contest for re-election.
Last year around the same time ASIs EC had voted Khan out of
the presidency along with vice-president P A Balasubramanian.
Subsequently, both of them resigned their EC memberships. (The ASI
president was voted out.) They were succeeded by Kapadia and P C
Gupta as president and vice-president, respectively.
This time the numbers seems to be stacked in Khans favour with
six of the new EC members sharing similar views on many issues
concerning the profession and five against. Lobbying is actively
on and anything can happen at the last moment. But what interested
foreigners to participate actively in the elections of a small
Indian professional body? Business interests, say actuaries.
For global actuarial companies like Watson Wyatt the stakes are
high in India. The actuarial profession is slowly picking up. It
is said that for every 10 chartered accountants, there
is potential for one actuary. According to the Income Tax
Act, gratuity valuations of companies are to be certified by a
qualified actuary. Till date this rule was not followed. But
nowadays, chartered accountants are insisting that gratuity, leave
encashment and pension valuations of companies be done by
actuaries. This throws up immense opportunities for actuaries.
Watson Wyatt has two private limited companies in India Watson
Wyatt India and Watson Wyatt Insurance Consulting. While the
former offers actuarial services and consultancy, the later
consults on human resources and works out of three metros New
Delhi, Mumbai and Kokatta. Curiously, Paul Thornton, former
president of UK actuaries institute, is with Watson Wyatt, London.
Watson Wyatt India came into existence when the foreign company
took over the famed actuarial firm M C Chakravarti & Co,
Kolkatta, in April 2002 and converted it into a corporate offering
actuarial services company.
company is lobbying for allowing actuarial consultancy under a
corporate structure in India. The Institute of Actuaries of India
Bill, modelled on the lines of the law governing chartered
accountants institute, allows only individuals and partnerships
to practice. The domestic actuarial profession itself is divided
in the middle on this issue.