From the President

By Bill Karbon • November 15, 2017 • 0 Comments

I want to thank the ACOPA membership for providing me with the opportunity to serve as President for the next year. As I begin my term, I wanted to share some thoughts regarding my priorities for ACOPA.


I think that it is important for all ACOPA members to take a step back and focus on the fact that ACOPA is the only actuarial organization lobbying to preserve and enhance the employer-based retirement system, particularly the defined benefit system. It is through these efforts that changes have occurred that encourage growth in cash balance plans as well changes to coverage and nondiscrimination rules. Without ACOPA’s lobbying efforts, we would not have seen the growth in cash balance and cross-tested plans.


Membership growth is critical! We cannot continue our successful lobbying efforts without a strong and vibrant membership. Our members are passionate about their work and supporting ACOPA; however, we need more such members supporting our efforts. It is becoming increasingly difficult to protect the defined benefit system (especially cash balance plans) without the support of all actuaries that benefit from our efforts. I am sure that we all know actuaries who are not employed by large firms and who are not members of ACOPA. I challenge all of you to reach out to at least one non-ACOPA actuary who is not employed by a large firm and strongly encourage them to join ACOPA so that we can continue to be their voice in protecting the defined benefit system and the interests of their practice. Furthermore, we must make every effort to make sure that all credentialed actuaries in our own firms are ACOPA members.


Expanding our membership is also crucial to having a strong voice within the U.S. actuarial community. A strong, expanding membership will allow us to more effectively promote the position of the small plan pension actuary in the selection of actuaries for the Actuarial Standards Board and Actuarial Board for Counseling and Discipline. We can potentially have greater influence in the actuarial community if we can expand membership.


To continue to be a strong, vibrant organization, we must plan for the future. Therefore, ACOPA leadership will be focusing on succession planning.  We will not only focus on developing a pipeline of future leaders, we will also develop succession plans at the committee level. We cannot advocate for our members, remain a preeminent educator or support the Joint Board examination process unless we have a plan to develop new leaders of the committees supporting these efforts or have a pipeline of members willing to join our committees or support our efforts on an ongoing or ad hoc basis. In order to successfully implement our succession plans, we will be reaching out for new volunteers. If you have interest in joining a particular committee, I encourage you to reach out to the committee chair. You can also reach out to me at if you would like discuss potential ACOPA volunteer opportunities.


I look forward to working with all of our membership as we take on the challenges that may impact our practices. Whether the challenges come from tax law changes, changes to professionalism standards or regulatory guidance, we need a growing, vibrant membership to meet the needs of our membership.