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Frederick Forrest Innes (1892–1962)

by Clare Bellis

This article was published:

Frederick Forrest Innes (1892-1962), actuary, was born on 23 May 1892 in Hobart, son of Robert Russell Innes, civil servant, and his wife Mary Augusta, née Forrest. Educated at The Hutchins School, Frederick joined the Hobart branch of the Australian Mutual Provident Society in 1909 and began actuarial studies. In 1916 he transferred to head office in Sydney to enable him to sit the examinations of the Institute of Actuaries, London. He was sent to the A.M.P. Society's London branch in 1919 to further his studies and qualified as a fellow of the institute in 1924. At St Paul's parish church, Beckenham, Kent, on 12 July that year he married Flora Ethel May Knight; they were to remain childless.

Returning to Sydney in 1925, Innes was promoted joint assistant actuary in 1931, associate actuary in 1938 and actuary in 1945. He helped to guide the A.M.P. through the Depression, coped with staff shortages during World War II, and came to terms with the rapid changes to the Society and its unprecedented expansion in the postwar years. There were few independent actuaries in Australia before the 1960s and it was common for those employed by the large life-insurance offices to perform consulting work. Innes advised a number of institutions, including the State Superannuation Board; he and Hubert Vaughan conducted quinquennial valuations of its fund. Innes's most notable task was to prepare, with Samuel Bennett, cost estimates for the Commonwealth's national insurance scheme which was proposed in the mid-1930s but subsequently abandoned.

Innes was competent and conscientious rather than brilliant or innovative. It is possible that he achieved promotion to the most senior actuarial rank because the A.M.P.—which did not believe in recruiting from outside—had no other actuaries in his age group. Precise and somewhat old-fashioned in character, short statured and with bristly hair, he was very respectful towards his elders. He expected the same deference from his subordinates, and was inclined to be resentful when the careers of some of his talented juniors progressed more rapidly than he felt was proper. None the less, he was a kindly man. He was an enthusiastic gardener who invited junior staff to his home at Manly and presented them with his Kurume azaleas.

Between 1925 and 1943 Innes served for more than ten years on the committee of the Actuarial Society of Australasia (president 1937) and was president (1940) of the Insurance Institute of New South Wales. After retiring in July 1953, he continued as consulting actuary to several large superannuation schemes and was a director of Coal Mines Insurance Pty Ltd. He was a Freemason and a member of the New South Wales Club. Suffering from coronary atherosclerosis, he died suddenly on 18 June 1962 in the A.M.P. Building, Circular Quay, and was cremated. His wife predeceased him.

Select Bibliography

  • AMP Society, News and Views, Sept 1953, and Amicus, 1, no 1, 1962
  • W. C. Balmford, Three Score Years and Twenty (manuscript, 1976, privately held)
  • Actuarial Society of Australasia, minute books, 1915-62 (Institute of Actuaries of Australia Archives, Sydney)
  • AMP Society Board minute, 2 July 1931 (AMP Archives, Sydney).

Citation details

Clare Bellis, 'Innes, Frederick Forrest (1892–1962)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1996, accessed online 13 July 2024.

This article was published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 14, (Melbourne University Press), 1996

View the front pages for Volume 14

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