This article originally appeared in the CIA (e)Bulletin.
By Michel Simard
CIA Executive Director
Another year seems to have passed by quickly. Perhaps no surprise given the many activities the Institute undertook in 2019.
Implementation of governance changes
January 1, 2020, marked the start of the Actuarial Profession Oversight Board (APOB) era, as the Institute has implemented phase 2 of the governance changes. The APOB, which replaces the Actuarial Standards Oversight Council, has three boards that report to it: the Actuarial Standards Board (ASB), the Professional Conduct Board (PCB), and the Professionalism and Credential Monitoring Board (PCMB), as well as the Tribunal Panel. Two CIA councils have also seen their name changed: the Eligibility and Education Council is now the Education and Qualification Council, and the Standards and Guidance Council is now named the Actuarial Guidance Council. These changes should increase the actuarial profession’s accountability to the public and help us deliver on our promise to put the needs of the public ahead the profession. Thanks to the many people involved in the planning, bylaw, and policy work required to make these changes.
In education, December saw the approval of the revised CIA education syllabus. Updates include material on emerging areas of practice (climate change, cyber risk, blockchain, cryptocurrency), banking applications, IFRS 17, and track-specific additions for the FCIA section of the syllabus. The work that goes into keeping our education syllabus current, including a two-year revision cycle, helps ensure that our ACIA and FCIA candidates are well-prepared for their actuarial careers. A revised syllabus appendix will be forthcoming which outlines how the syllabus is covered, whether through the Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS), Society of Actuaries (SOA), universities, or the CIA’s own programs.
Our University Accreditation Program (UAP) entered its seventh academic year in September. There are 587 candidates using the UAP, and we now have 83 ACIAs and 18 FCIAs via the UAP route.
A new e-learning platform was rolled out in the fall that enables you to complete your new mandatory CPD Professionalism Module at a time that’s convenient for you, in an easy to access format. There’s an introductory course, a selection of case studies to choose from, and an attestation to be completed by December 31, 2020. Francine Pell, FCIA, had this to say about the new tool: “This was a great experience and I learned a lot. Again, loved the experience and found it vastly more educational than the past. Thanks to the team who put it together.”
I am happy to report that the new Practice Education Course (PEC), offered twice this year for the first time in June and December was very successful, and well-regarded by students for being paperless, efficient, and effective.
The brand of the CIA and Canadian actuaries continues to improve internationally. With IFRS 17, we affirmed our leadership role worldwide, as we are recognized as a driving force internationally and nationally on the elaboration of educational material for this new reality. Groups from around the world continue to seek our advice. In fact, delegations from Japan and Korea visited Canada to discuss this and other topics with us.
We continued our commitment to the International Actuarial Association (IAA) with members involved not only in the review of the IAA’s structure, but also taking on roles in the organization and its committees. We are committed to promoting the value of the FCIA designation to the world.
At the IAA meetings in Tokyo, Japan, we leveraged the opportunity to meet with a number of other actuarial organizations, including the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries in the United Kingdom and the Society of Actuaries of South Africa to share ideas and best practices in education, research, and member outreach.
For more on our international outreach, see the article on the International Affairs Council elsewhere in this issue.
It has been a very busy year for CIA communications, with more public statements, the launch of the Seeing Beyond Risk podcast, and an increase in our social media presence.
The Institute made 20 public submissions on topics such as draft amendments on IFRS 17 (International Accounting Standards Board), the draft guideline on E-25 (OSFI), British Columbia’s solvency funding framework (BC Ministry of Finance), and draft regulations published in the Gazette officielle du Québec (Retraite Québec). Both Retire Later for Greater Benefits and Time to Act: Facing the Risks of Climate Change are broader public statements on public policy issues that we published in April and September, respectively, after several years of study and development. We received excellent media coverage and interest from government and other organizations to hear an actuarial perspective on these important issues.
Pharmacare and risk classification are the topics for public statements in 2020, with the goal of being not just a problem identifier but a solution seeker.
Increased research portfolio
The Institute published 18 research papers, with 19 studies currently in the active research stage, and another five in the preliminary stage. A fundamental activity for the Institute, research helps expand the boundaries of the profession, advances knowledge on emerging issues, lines of business, and practice areas, and aligns with the Institute’s strategic priorities. Experience studies gather industry data that assists actuaries in their day-to-day work. CIA research provides a unique Canadian perspective, in both official languages. We have also increased our collaboration with other organizations, including the SOA, the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries, Mitacs, and universities. The National Institute on Ageing’s policy series on the future of long-term care, for which we were one of the sponsors, generated a great deal of media buzz and received a lot of attention from policy makers.
Our volunteer services team undertook new initiatives to increase recognition and support of our dedicated volunteers, as well as implementing systems not only to encourage volunteering but to match those who want to volunteer with suitable roles. These improvements will continue throughout 2020, as we support seasoned and new volunteers while reaching out to those who have never had the opportunity to take a role in the Institute’s work.
We continue to nurture partnerships with key stakeholders and regulators and develop new relationships with actuarial and non-actuarial organizations. We updated our memorandum of understanding on education with the CAS, providing recognition of the CIA Professionalism Workshop and Practice Education Course towards CAS credentials.
Our relationship with the Actuarial Students’ National Association (ASNA), not only connects us with the actuaries of tomorrow, it also helped drive the creation of our new Actuarial Jobs board. Employers can recruit for regular actuarial positions, as well as co-op and internship positions. Students and members can upload their résumé, search for positions, and read career resources tailored to the actuarial professional. Angel Yang, president of ASNA, commented: “Finally, for ASNA and our members, there is an open, free, and efficient platform that is dedicated to providing students with actuarial internship opportunities, regardless of their school and program.”
Customer relationship management (CRM)
The Head Office was pleased to see the successful implementation of several components of our new customer relationship management (CRM) system and accompanying website updates. We launched the online payment portal, enhanced event registration features, continuing professional development (CPD) activity tracking and compliance, and volunteer management components, which should improve member and staff experience in these areas. Thank you to the staff for their work in helping to make this happen and to our members for your patience and support as we implemented these changes.
All in all, the Institute had a successful 2019. With many activities on the horizon, including work by the Task Force to Review the CIA Discipline Process and continued exploration of emerging areas of practice, 2020 promises to be just as busy, productive, and rewarding.
Michel Simard is the CIA’s Executive Director.