Where are all the specialists needed to implement IFRS 17?

As I continue conversations about IFRS 17 implementation plans with companies across the globe, I can’t help but notice I am being asked the same question over and over: where are all the specialists needed to implement IFRS 17? I can imagine it will be easier to find a Megalodon (a shark which became extinct 100 million years ago) than an Actuary who’s available to help implement Prophet in 2020…

Large, multinational companies have carried out impact assessments and are now moving towards implementing significant global projects. As this happens, the lack of specialised resources is becoming increasingly apparent. But what about the tier 2 companies that are only just starting their impact assessments, or the smaller companies that are still asleep? They too will require specialists, putting even more strain on the limited technical resource available to the IFRS 17 market.

In the time remaining before 2021, this issue needs to be tackled head on. A huge ramp up in resourcing is an obvious solution or securing your resources upfront - we saw some of this in Solvency II, with long term contracts offered to individuals with retainers for the duration of the programme. Other less desirable solutions include the possibility of asking for a delay in the standard, though this is unlikely to bear fruit.

A solution that we are looking at is the idea of redefining on a granular level what is required of a specialist. By this I mean asking the question, what cannot be done by anyone but a specialist? By reducing this list to the absolute necessary, companies may well find that instead of an actuary, who are scarce and expensive, a data scientist may be able to fill the roll. How much of what is needed is simply project management and delivery rather than specialist expertise? Going down this route can open up a number of options, including potentially offshoring or further use of technology. Either way, it’s an area for exploration, and we look with interest at the developing solutions for this very real problem.

Alex Bertolotti

Alex Bertolotti | Partner
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