First ever female appointed to lead Government Actuary's Department

Fiona Dunsire makes history by becoming first woman to be government’s top pensions adviser
Fiona Dunsire. Photo: GOV.UK

By Jonathan Owen

03 Aug 2023

Victoria Atkins, the financial secretary to the Treasury, has appointed Fiona Dunsire as the new government actuary.

Dunsire will take over from Martin Clarke, who retires later this year, and will be the first female government actuary since the creation of the role in 1917.

She will report to Beth Russell, second permanent secretary at the Treasury, and is on a five year fixed term contract paying at least £206,000 a year.

It is Dunsire’s first role in government after a 35-year career in the private sector where she held a variety of roles across pensions and investments, including being the UK chief executive of pensions and investment consultancy Mercer. She is also a fellow of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries.

In her new role she will lead the 233-strong Government Actuary’s Department which is tasked with providing actuarial advice and support to the government and public sector in relation to financial risk affecting areas such as pension valuations, insurance and social security.

Actuaries compile and analyses statistics and uses them to calculate insurance risks and premiums. The GAD assesses the impact of climate change, disaster risk financing, nuclear decommissioning, health and social care, pensions, and investments.

Dunsire said: “GAD has a long and proud history of producing high quality actuarial analysis across the public sector for over 100 years. I am delighted to be appointed to the role of Government Actuary. I look forward to leading the department over the coming years and continuing to broaden its impact in helping to address the multigenerational issues we face as a society”.

Clarke, the outgoing government actuary, said: “It has been a privilege to lead the Government Actuary’s Department for over nine years. I warmly congratulate Fiona on her appointment as the new Government Actuary and wish her well in the role”.

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