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August 29, 2005

Business profile: Actually, this actuary is far from being dull

Kate Rankine finds Donald Duval's too busy booting the Pension Regulator to look at his shoes

How can you tell an extrovert actuary (as the old joke goes)? He's the one who looks at your shoes when he's talking to you instead of his own.

Donald Duval, 47, manages to look me in the eye - once or twice - which must put him off the actuarial charts. In fact, it's only his long, bushy beard that is slightly off-putting, though perhaps that's just me.

Apparently his wife, Nancy, has threatened divorce if he ever shaves it off. "When I go to a Black Tie dinner, I wonder whether I should bother with a bow tie," he teases. "No one can see it."

Then he adds: "I can't drink a cappuccino unless I have a napkin handy."

His beard has become his trade mark in an industry notorious for its dullness. "Do I think there are people far more interesting than me? Yes," ponders the man, known as "The Don" because of the initials MA FIA on his business card. "I read mathematics at Cambridge and so qualified as a Master of Arts before becoming a Fellow of the Institute of Actuaries," he explains.

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Posted by Tom Troceen