Plenary Speakers

NZSA is pleased to announce the following plenary speakers.

Grant Spencer 

Grant Spencer is Deputy Governor and Head of Financial Stability with the Reserve Bank of New Zealand.  He chairs the OECD's Committee on Financial Markets, and the EMEAP working group on financial markets, a cooperative organisation of 11 East Asia and Pacific central banks.

Grant has held executive positions with the ANZ Banking Group and the IMF.  He has also been Head of both the Economics and Financial Markets Departments within the Reserve Bank.


Mike Allsop

Airline pilot, Everest mountaineer, adventurer and extreme marathon competitor Mike Allsop is an ordinary family man proving that anybody can accomplish extraordinary things.

Mike Allsop grew up in a single parent home in Auckland. Life wasn't always easy.

But Mike never wavered in his dream of becoming an airline pilot with Air New Zealand. He single-mindedly pursued this goal, breaking it down into smaller parts then focusing on each step in turn. He began by obtaining a pilot's licence and a job with a small commuter airline. Things took a dramatic turn when a flight to deliver a Twin Otter aircraft from the USA to New Zealand led to a crash landing into the sea hundreds of kilometres off the coast of Hawaii in the dark of night. The US Coast Guard colonel who eventually rescued Mike and his crew commented that nobody else had ever survived a crash landing into that part of the ocean!

As well as becoming an Air New Zealand captain, Mike harboured another ambition. One day, he wanted to stand upon the roof of the world and summit Everest. True to form, he broke the goal down and gained the necessary skills and experience by testing himself on difficult and potentially hazardous climbs across 6 different continents. Many were usually only tackled by vastly more experienced climbers. However Mike Allsop is living proof that his philosophy of 'if you believe you can, you will'. He has reached every goal in spectacular fashion, including becoming an international airline pilot with Air New Zealand and ascending Everest in an unguided expedition.

He has since gone on to conquer numerous other mountains, pitting himself against the limits of human endurance and the unpredictable weather conditions that abound at extreme altitudes. He's narrowly dodged a fatal avalanche in Peru, risked being shot in Russia and returned a replica of a stolen Yeti hand to a monastery in Nepal.

Mike is also one of a handful of athletes who have ever run 7 marathons in 7 days on 7 continents. This raised NZ$75,000 for New Zealand charity KidsCan.

Most recently, Mike returned to the Himalayas to run the world's highest marathon around Everest – a feat never before attempted. Backed only by a Sherpa team, he trekked to 5,630 metres above sea level. There he ran a distance of 42.2 kilometres (22.6 miles) in temperatures of -30 degC (-22degF), setting a new world record.

This feat is captured in the documentary 'Chasing Altitude' aimed at young people everywhere, showing that they too can achieve their dreams and ambitions overcoming the fear of failure and breaking each goal into a series of smaller steps.

He speaks from the heart when he tells his audiences about the power of goal-setting to make just about anything possible.

Audiences have described Mike's presentations as "inspiring", "motivational" and "amazing.'

When Mike's not captaining a 737 aircraft or planning his next inspiring adventure, he is at home sharing his stories with wife Wendy and their three children Ethan, Maya and Dylan.



Andrew Patterson

Joining the National Business Review in 2015, Andrew is an experienced freelance business correspondent and broadcaster and the host of NBR's popular weekend podcast Sunday Business.

Before joining MediaWorks in 2006 where he covered business for nine years, Andrew was based in Sydney, Australia as a presenter for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's (ABC) continuous news network, NewsRadio. He previously worked in the finance and tourism sectors before shifting into business media which he describes as "... the best job in the world."

During the course of his media career Andrew has travelled to 55 countries and interviewed more than 1,000 CEOs and business leaders.

He has a particular interest in disruptive innovation, technology, entrepreneurship, and business start-ups.

Recently completing a Master's degree in Business Commercialisation and Entrepreneurship at the University of Auckland Business School, Andrew described the experience as "... a long overdue mental workout." He also holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree majoring in Business Strategy and Economic History.



Tony Alexander

Mr. Alexander has been employed as Chief Economist at the Bank of New Zealand, since 1994 with responsibilities including informing senior management about economic developments and prospects, risks and opportunities, and provision of services for the bank's staff and client base.

He is an accomplished public speaker much in demand and each year delivers between 80 and 130 presentations at bank seminars, conferences, and client functions around the country and offshore. He writes and distributes the monthly NZ Observer directly to 11,000 email recipients with extensive links from other websites.

Prior to joining the BNZ Mr. Alexander worked as principal economist at a stock broking firm in Wellington and before that as Research Officer then Treasury Economist with Westpac Bank initially in Sydney, Australia, then New Zealand from 1987. He holds a Master of Arts degree (first class honours) from the University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand. He is the father of five children, his wife is one of New Zealand's foremost early childcare researchers, and he lives in the countryside north of New Zealand's capital city Wellington.



Diane Maxwell, Retirement Commissioner

As Retirement Commissioner Diane leads the Commission for Financial Capability (previously the Retirement Commission). The Commissioner's goal is building the financial capability of New Zealanders of all ages, with an increased focus on low income and vulnerable groups. The role also includes a three-yearly review of retirement income policies and a monitoring role for the retirement villages sector. 

Prior to becoming Retirement Commissioner in 2013 Diane was at the Financial Markets Authority (FMA) where she worked on the role of regulation post GFC and the relationship between compliance, regulation and education. Before the FMA she spent five years at Bank of New Zealand (BNZ) overseeing government relations, complaints, sustainability, events, marketing, sponsorship and media. During that time she worked on financial literacy and responsible lending, alongside privacy breaches, product development, and legislative and compliance changes.


Maggie Eyre

Maggie Eyre has over 30 years' experience in business, public relations, education and theatre. She is the author of: Speak Easy and has been a published author for thirteen years. Her books sell in India, Indonesia, United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand.

The fourth revision of Speak Easy is being launched in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand in February 2016.

A presentation trainer, stylist, and media advisor to former Prime Minister Helen Clark, Maggie's work has been recognized in Time Magazine and in international media including, the United Kingdom, China and Dubai.

Maggie returned to Auckland in 2012 after eight years working in London, the Middle East and Europe. Prior to travelling, she worked as an account director for top Public Relations firm Acumen Republic - heading up their presentation and media brand, Encore.

Maggie is the Director of Fresh Eyre, a niche training company specialising in teaching presentation and media skills. Her team of journalists, voice coaches, actors and camera operators provide Creating Presence programmes to help transform hesitant speakers into confident communicators.

Key clients are; students, professors, business executives, senior managers, and a few very special not-for-profits. Anyone who needs to overcome their fear of Public Speaking (even if it's a simple speech at a special occasion) will benefit from working with Fresh Eyre.

Maggie brings creativity and business skills to two not-for-profit boards StarJam and TYLA. She is guided by principles of equality, integrity and compassion and lives to make a difference especially for disadvantaged youth. Her motto is: 'never give up on anyone'.




Sunday 20 November


12:00pm  Registration desk opens 
4:00pm AGM
5:00pm Conference opening
5:30pm - 7:30pm Welcome function

Monday 21 November 


8:30am Tony Alexander
9:30am Concurrent session one
  Actuaries and Data Analytics - Positively Correlated?
Adam Follington & Joe and Benbow 


Beyond the limits: Modelling and forecasting longevity
A/Prof Leonie Tickle  


Optimising Pricing Strategy and Process
Klaas Stijnen
Enterprise Risk Management - Do Actuaries really get it?
Scott Lewis 
10:30am Morning tea
11:00am Concurrent session two
  The artificially intelligent actuary: How AI is changing the actuarial landscape
Nicholas Warren & Simon Young 
Rules of thumb – helping New Zealanders DIY decumulate 
Joe Benbow, Catherine Edgar, Daniel Mussett, Alison O'Connell, Christine Ormrod & Kelvin Prisk

Full paper

Mutuality and Solidarity – is it possible to solve the crisis in private health insurance in New Zealand?
Jeremy Holmes

Full paper


12:00pm Andrew Patterson
1:00pm Lunch
2:00pm Concurrent session three
  Risk adjustments: Can life actuaries learn something from GI actuaries?
Ben Coulter 

Full paper

An actuarial model of New Zealand social housing
Alan Greenfield, Eric Judd, Dr Hugh Miller & Daniel Stoner 
Insurance fraud analytics
Dr Jonathan Cohen & Jadon Fox
The Future of Trauma Product Development and Management
Mary Liao 
3:00pm Concurrent session four
  Reserve Bank of New Zealand – Review of the Insurance (Prudential Supervision) Act 2010
Richard Johnson 
Simple Products
Robert Kerr  


Risk in the modelling process
Michael Clarke 

Full paper
A way forward for NZ Superannuation
Peter Cosseboom 

Full paper

4:00pm Afternoon tea      
5:20pm Buses depart for Hobbiton      
6:00pm - 11:00pm Hobbiton social evening
Kindly sponsored by Taylor Fry 

Tuesday 22 November 


8:30am  Maggie Eyre 
9:30am  Concurrent session five       
  Trauma - defining the future
Kris Boundy & Bryan Jones
Reserving for high cost cancer claims
Len Elikhis 

Full paper


Insights from New Zealand solvency returns for the 2015 financial year
Robert Cole & Adrian Allott 

Full paper


Beyond the Bitcoin
Ethan Choi 

Full paper
10:30am  Morning tea       
11:00am  Concurrent session six       
  Back to the Future – Thriving in a World of Digital Disruption
Amy Dongxue You & Jenna Cooke 

Actuaries as better Business Advisors
Richard Beauchamp & Klaas Stijnen
New Zealand Individual Lump Sum Experience Investigation 2008-2014
Winncy Wong & Beata Bronikowska 
The effect of gross versus net of tax discount rates in MoS liabilities and thereby profit reporting for life insurance
David Chamberlain & Hamish Farrar 

12:00pm  Mike Allsop      
1:00pm  Recreational activities      
6:30pm  Buses depart for dinner       
7:00pm - 11:30pm Conference gala dinner
Kindly sponsored by Gen Re 

Wednesday 23 November


9:00am Grant Spencer
10:00am Brunch
11:00am  Diane Maxwell 
12:00pm End of conference 2016