CIA Practice Education Course – 20 years in

This article originally appeared in the CIA (e)Bulletin.

By Alicia Rollo, CHRL

The original version of this article mentioned June 2020 as the next PEC offering, but it has since been deferred to September 2020.

Many of you will fondly remember the CIA Practice Education Course (PEC) for its gigantic binder full of colourful post-it notes with your carefully organized sections that helped you successfully complete the three-hour, open book exam required prior to 2018. Others who became an FCIA prior to 2000 might not even know what the PEC is, let alone how it might have changed. And more recently, some of you have experienced what we affectionately call PEC 2.0, either in the 300-ish cohort who attended the first edition without an exam in June 2018, or one of two editions offered in 2019.

Here we are 20 years after the first offering of the PEC that was initially created to replace the nation-specific exams removed from the Society of Actuaries (SOA) curriculum. The PEC has evolved significantly, along with the CIA’s position as an educating body.

The CIA values its relationships with the SOA and Casualty Actuarial Society, who provide high-quality examinations, courses, and modules recognized towards achieving ACIA and FCIA designations, while also leading to the respective credentials of those organizations. However, it is equally valuable and important for the CIA to have one-on-one interactions and touchpoints with candidates, our own programs, and courses. In fact, I would say that this is a critical component of being a professional actuary in Canada.

At the pre-Associate level, we meet candidates at the CIA Professionalism Workshop. At the pre-Fellowship level, we meet candidates at the PEC. These courses give us the necessary interaction with candidates to introduce them to the CIA and the Canadian professional and regulatory environment. We of course address the Rules of Professional Conduct and Standards of Practice, but at the PEC specifically, we dive deeper into the practical application of the technical knowledge acquired throughout the examination process. We do this through curated track-specific streams in property and casualty, retirement, individual life, finance, investment, and enterprise risk management.

Many CIA volunteers help us to deliver these high-quality courses, both behind the scenes and at the front of the seminar room. They are inspiring role models for the next generation of actuaries, and their generous contribution of their time and expertise are invaluable to aspiring FCIAs. What’s more, the diverse viewpoints expressed in the room, both by presenters and candidates make for a rich and rewarding experience for all. The PEC supplements and expands on employer in-house training to broaden perspectives and stimulate new thinking.

We’ve enhanced this technical content with a world-class keynote speaker on communications and leadership to give FCIA candidates a valuable edge. We’ve also leveraged some outstanding professionalism videos courtesy of the UK’s Institute and Faculty of Actuaries, moderated by an expert panel to challenge assumptions and explore all grey areas that professionalism topics present.

Finally, the networking and CIA best-in-class meetings management ensure that candidates have a memorable experience and strong connection to the CIA. Why wouldn’t you send the aspiring actuaries in your company to PEC 2020 this September?

Alicia Rollo, CHRL, is Director, Education and International Affairs, at the CIA.

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