Kenneth “Ken” Clark, Past CIA President, passed away on September 3 at the age of 89. Ken was a guiding light for the profession, playing a crucial role in the development of professional standards for actuaries, being a true gentleman with admirable knowledge and wit, and acting as a role model and mentor for many.
Ken’s journey into the profession started with studying actuarial science at the University of Manitoba, from which he graduated as a gold medallist. He spent the next 10 years in the United States, initially working with the Prudential Insurance Company of America before moving to work with Milliman & Robertson, Inc. (now known as Milliman), the latter being an international practice of consulting actuaries.
Working at Milliman greatly inspired him, with Ken even writing in Our History. Notre histoire., the celebratory book published for the CIA’s 50th anniversary, that Wendell Milliman, one of its founders, “had a tremendous impact on me.” Moving back to Canada, Ken began a similar initiative in Toronto as it was a relatively untapped market.
“It happened slowly,” Ken said, referring to his growing practice. “I had to make a market by making myself conspicuous. I went to all the meetings, got to know the actuaries and insurers.”
Five years after establishing his firm, Ken was approached by Sam Eckler, who had a life insurance and benefits consulting practice and recognized Ken as the best person to lead it. Despite feeling torn over giving up his business and some initial misgivings, Ken accepted the invitation and joined Eckler, Brown, Segal & Company as a partner in 1978.
More than 30 years later and with Eckler regarded as one of the most respected actuarial consultancies in Canada, Ken would see the decision as a good move: “It didn’t work out the way I thought it would; it worked out better.”
Establishing himself as a successful professional in the Canadian actuarial space, Ken was elected as President of the CIA in 1986. While in this position, he was a key player in the development of the CIA’s Standards of Practice for Canadian actuaries.
“I made a start as President-Elect, and when I became President, I persuaded the Council that we needed a committee to work on this.” After his presidency, he was the first Chair of the Committee on the Consolidated Standards of Practice and worked on this project for over 10 years.
After passing the role of chair to Jim Paterson, Ken remained on the committee to do most of the drafting and made strides in convincing the somewhat skeptical membership: “I took every opportunity at meetings to speak on the subject. I made the round of the actuarial clubs and made luncheon dinner speeches after the rubber chicken had been served, and bit by bit we got a consensus.”
Ken had an extensive volunteer history with the CIA. Beyond serving as Chair of the Committee on the Consolidated Standards of Practice, he additionally chaired the Committee on Financial Reporting and contributed nearly 30 years of service volunteering for the CIA. He was recognized with the Award of Excellence (formerly known as the Gold Award) for his volunteer service in 2015.
Members of the Institute have shared their memories of Kenneth Clark:
“One of the actuarial greats.”
“Ken was instrumental in my joining Eckler and became a mentor and a close friend for nigh on 30 years. He was, as many of you know, a consummate professional, but what is most memorable to me are his wit and humour.”
“He was a giant, physically and professionally.”
“I am sorry to learn of Ken’s demise – he was a ‘towering’ influence in my life having known him since he joined the firm.”
“… a legend for his combination of ability and sometimes irreverent humour.”
As we mourn his passing and celebrate his legacy, we encourage you to share your memories of Ken in the comments below.