Catching Up with… Annie Brown
How is Vermont? Love Vermont. Proud to be a Vermonter even though I am away now during a lot of the year. Too dang cold! I spend a good part of the year in Las Vegas, where I am now.
I have not seen you too often recently on the listserv – what have you been doing? Well just back from 9 weeks in New Zealand (!), but workwise, a lot of OPEB work, perhaps more than half of it now. I am getting back into the listserv – at least reading it – because I need to keep current. Plus I miss the chit chat!
What was your role in the American Academy of Actuaries? Most recently I was a “Regular Director” vs. “Special Director,” which is what I was as ACOPA President. Special Directors were reps from each actuarial organization, but the Academy no longer has them. I was on various committees, including the Committee on Qualifications (COQ). There were regular meetings in Washington, which I attended. I found the meetings challenging, to be honest.
What was special about your time as ACOPA President? I felt I was part of a great team with the Leadership Council – and I was! As I recall, we were unified in terms of our mission, providing a forum in which Enrolled Actuaries can network, while at the same time being connected with the larger ASPPA organization which supported our interests at the government level.
What type of clients do you have? My practice is split pretty evenly between pension and OPEB (retiree medical), with OPEB work generally done for accounting purposes – GASB or ASC. I like the challenge of OPEB work, but I welcome any new cash balance plans that come my way, particularly as I have some larger plans that have been frozen for many years that are (finally) terminating. I like working in both areas even though Academy ASOPs are challenging for small practitioners like me, particularly in the retiree medical area. Wouldn’t an ACOPA listserv for OPEB actuaries be a great idea? I miss that when dealing with OPEB, but I do have an excellent health/OPEB actuary who provides peer review and actuarial support, which I really need even though I have been doing OPEB for many years. It has been an evolving practice area, which I was lucky to have gotten into when FAS 106 was first issued.
How long have you been working for yourself? Were you ever a small fish in a big pond? I went out on my own in 1994. I was a small fish in a big pond, but only briefly. I worked for National Life of Vermont just after I became enrolled in 1985, but after my first child in 1987 I wanted to work part-time, so that year I went to work for a mid-sized regional accounting firm which had a Vermont office. It was an excellent fit, particularly as I saw pension plans from the audit view point (company audit and 5500) and I was there when FAS 106 was issued, which started me on that path. After 6 years, when it looked like the Burlington office would close (which it did), I went out on my own.
Is the rumor true – you will be attending the ACOPA Symposium? Yes, can’t wait! Really looking forward to it. Last summer was just too busy, but this summer I am going regardless of “busy-ness”!
Are you currently involved with any actuarial activities (volunteering, etc.)? Not presently. I was on the Education Committee of TAF until last spring, when I decided I would take a break from volunteering. Last summer was a sell-my-house-and-downsize-to-condo and go-paperless summer, so I put everything else aside. I am very glad to be done with all of that!
What about non-actuarial activities? Family time has been high on my list. I am lucky to have two siblings here in Las Vegas and two siblings in Vermont! Biking, racquetball and going to the gym are my activities at present. Being out of Vermont, the ice hockey has slowed down… I do miss that, but the Las Vegas Knights’ training facilities are nearby so I am hoping to do that here too – if I can find some other women to skate with!
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