UK - The merger of the UK's two actuarial profession bodies received has significant support from members of both organisations, however the plans have been delayed as a vote by the Institute of Actuaries fell short of the required majority to continue with the merger.

At separate special general meetings held yesterday, 73.5% of members of the Faculty of Actuaries, based in Scotland, and 71.6% of members of the Institute of Actuaries voted in favour of the planned merger.

However, in a statement following the result of the votes, the Profession noted while Faculty members achieved the required two-thirds majority - 721 out of 981 - in favour of the merger, the Institute vote was 175 votes short of the necessary three-quarters majority with 3,662 votes of 5,116.

The proposed merger, which would result in a single UK body called the Chartered Actuarial Profession, was developed in an attempt to address the confusion created by the fact that the profession is jointly governed by the Faculty and the Institute.

It also claimed the merger would improve efficiency and enhance support and services to its members. But in a 'rationale' booklet explaining the move, the profession warned even if the votes did not reach the required majority and the merger fails "it has become increasingly obvious to those dealing with the merger that, if the merger vote were to fail, the status quo cannot continue".

Following yesterday's vote, Nigel Masters, president of the Institute, said although it "didn't quite make the threshold" for the majority it is clear the majority of its members did support a change.

"We have to consider why our proposals didn't command enough support and so the Institute Council will consult with members and look at which elements of the proposal need further improvement," he added.

Meanwhile, Ronnie Bowie, president of the Faculty, said: "I am delighted that Faculty members have supported the merger and are keen for change. We will honour this desire while continuing to improve member support and building on our increased engagement with the membership."

A spokesman for the Actuarial Profession said the hurdle of 75% majority was always going to be high, but the final 71% figure demonstrated a "desire, mandate and will for change" which the profession "will have to act on", albeit admitting a "substantial minority" at the same time felt the package put forward was not quite right.

Although it is said to be "early days", the Profession said going forward it will listen to the reasons for the rejection of the proposal and try to build a new consensus, emphasising that any new plans would not be rushed into and would be looked at with the same level of diligence as the original merger proposal.

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