From the Leadership Council

By Karen Smith on behalf of the Leadership Council • January 14, 2016 • 0 Comments
In December 2015, Judy Miller, Kurt Piper, Lynn Young and I went to Scottsdale, Ariz. to attend several actuarial inter-societal meetings.

First, there was a meeting of the Council of U.S. Presidents (CUSP) meeting. CUSP used to be a committee of the American Academy of Actuaries and is currently an informal group for dialogue and exchange of information. Immediate past presidents, presidents, presidents-elect and executive directors of four of the five U.S. actuarial organizations attended this meeting. Two highlights from the CUSP meeting:

  • The leadership of the actuarial organizations are interested in learning more about how the Actuarial Standards Board (ASB) functions. While some of the CUSP attendees had a deep understanding of the ASB, many of us did not. There was a feeling that if we understood the ASB better, we would be able to represent our members better.
  • We discussed reputational risks for the actuarial profession. The risks were different for each practice area, but it is important that the profession consider all of these risks so that the profession can remain self-regulating. Some of the pension reputational risks we discussed were underfunded public plans and multi-employer plans.
Second, Kurt and I attended a meeting of the Joint Discipline Council. In the future, it is anticipated that these meetings will be by phone, but this meeting was in person because there were some organizational issues that needed to be resolved. At this meeting, the U.S. organizations drew straws to determine the order the JDC chairmanship would rotate between the organizations. For the 2015-2016 year, the SOA president will be the chair and for the 2016-2017 year the ACOPA president (Kurt Piper) will be chair.

Third, we attended the North American Actuarial Council (NAAC) meeting. NAAC includes the five U.S. actuarial organizations, the Canadian Institute and three Mexican actuarial organizations. NAAC provides an opportunity to network with other actuarial organizations, and some NAAC participants join together to do joint research. Some of my takeaways from the NAAC meeting were:

  • The Casualty Actuarial Society has established a subsidiary to provide education and credentialing for both actuaries and non-actuaries in the field of predictive analytics. In the future, actuaries will have increasing opportunities in the fields of data science and predictive analytics, but actuaries need to be open to these developments.
  • Due to new legislation in Mexico, every actuary who wanted to sign certain actuarial statements had to go through an examination process again. There was no grandfathering for individuals with experience. Another interesting point from Mexico was that there is incredible interest in becoming an actuary from current university students. 
  • There was an interesting discussion about the proposed International Actuarial Association (IAA) education standards. Some organizations shared ACOPA’s concern that the proposed standards were too prescriptive to be mandatory.

It would be reasonable for an ACOPA member to ask, “Why does ACOPA participate in CUSP and NAAC?” A lot of the issues discussed at CUSP and NAAC do not directly relate to the retirement arena, and participation in CUSP and NAAC is not required. Before serving as ACOPA’s president, I might have asked why ACOPA participates in these meeting, but I have learned that ACOPA’s participation in CUSP and NAAC is crucial. First, participating in CUSP and NAAC allows us a chance to build relationships with the leadership of the other actuarial organizations. These relationships are key for us when we have to interact with these organizations on issues that are important to our members. Even for actuaries, relationships matter. Second, CUSP provides us a forum to discuss certain issues with other organizations. Without CUSP, no forum would exist for some issues. And third, it is helpful for ACOPA’s leadership to hear what is happening in the broader actuarial practice so that we can reflect upon how those trends may affect ACOPA in the future.