In Memoriam: Ken Seng Tan

Thursday, January 19, 2023

Ken Seng lectures

We are very greatly saddened to announce that our beloved friend and colleague, Professor Ken Seng Tan, passed away on January 1, 2023. 

Ken Seng Tan completed his BMath, MMath, and PhD in Actuarial Science at the University of Waterloo. His 1998 doctoral thesis won an award for Oustanding Achievement in Graduate Studies. It also marked the beginning of a lifelong friendship and collaboration with his supervisor, Phelim Boyle. 

Ken Seng joined the Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science as faculty in 1998. He held a Canada Research Chair in Quantitative Risk Management from 2005 to 2010, and a University Research Chair from 2010 to 2015. From 2006 to 2015 he was Associate Director of the Institute for Quantitative Finance and Insurance and its successor, WatRISQ. Ken Seng also held a longterm visiting position at the Central University of Finance and Economics in Beijing, where he was active in supporting Chinese actuarial education and research. 

Ken Seng speaks at a podium

Between 2015 and 2020, Ken Seng was the Chief Actuarial Advisor of the Risk Management, Economic Sustainability, and Actuarial Science Development in Indonesia (READI) project. This was a major venture, based in Waterloo and largely funded through Global Affairs Canada. The project worked with universities, regulators, and insurers to develop actuarial science education, research, and practice throughout Indonesia. The success of the READI project was a direct result of Ken Seng's tireless leadership. In 2017, Ken Seng was awarded the Sun Life Fellowship of International Actuarial Science, in recognition of his work in Indonesia and China. 

In 2019, Professor Tan joined the Nanyang Business School in Singapore as Professor and Director of the Insurance Risk and Finance Research Centre. In 2021, he was awarded the President's Chair in Actuarial Risk Management at NTU. In his short tenure at NTU, Ken Seng built a thriving centre of excellence in actuarial science and risk management. 

Ken Seng gives a talk

Ken Seng was a brilliant scholar. He published over 140 research papers and book chapters. He was active on the editorial boards of several major journals. He was awarded both the Hachemeister and the Redington Prize by the Society of Actuaries (SOA), who also named him as one of twenty-four inaugural Chartered Enterprise Risk Analysts for his thought leadership and pioneering achievements in the field. 

Above all, Ken Seng was a compassionate human being, with a unique capacity to form lasting friendships with people from all walks of life throughout the world. He was an inspiring mentor and role model to hundreds of students and colleagues. 

Ken Seng loved Waterloo and continued his connection after moving to Singapore, as an adjunct professor and frequent visitor. His wife Jennifer, and his sister Yuki, are both UW alumni. A memorial event to celebrate his life will be announced later. 

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