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SOA CPD Requirement and What It Means for CIA Members

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By Roger Allen, FCIA, and Angelita Graham, FCIA

As members of the Canadian Institute of Actuaries (CIA), you might be familiar with the Institute’s continuing professional development (CPD) requirements, having filed a statement of compliance for each of the last two years. The Society of Actuaries (SOA) has adopted its own CPD Requirement, effective January 1, 2009, and its members will be required to certify compliance for the first time as of December 31, 2010. This includes CIA members who are also SOA members, which may result in additional work and/or reporting for some CIA members, in particular ASAs, new Fellows and those claiming an exemption from the CIA CPD Qualification Standard (QS).

This article looks at how the SOA CPD Requirement may impact CIA members.

Who is subject to the SOA CPD Requirement?

Effective January 1, 2009, all SOA Members, including those who are also CIA members, are subject to the SOA CPD Requirement upon attainment of their first SOA credential, usually the ASA designation. However, members are not required to begin earning CPD credits until the calendar year following attainment of their first credential and are not subject to reporting until the end of the second full calendar year following attainment of their first credential. For example, if a member qualifies as an ASA in 2011, he will first certify compliance as of December 31, 2013.

With the exception of retired members who are eligible for waiver of dues, an SOA member who elects not to comply with the SOA CPD Requirement will be shown as non-compliant on the SOA online directory, and must inform any person relying on his actuarial expertise, such as his employer, that he has not met the SOA CPD Requirement. Members who comply will be shown as compliant.

Retired members who are eligible for waiver of dues will be shown as retired on the SOA online directory and will not be required to attest to compliance under the SOA CPD Requirement unless they choose otherwise.

What is the SOA CPD Requirement?

As is the case with the CIA, at the end of each calendar year, members of the SOA will be required to attest to CPD compliance over a two-year rolling cycle. The first two-year cycle commenced on January 1, 2009 and ends on December 31, 2010.

The SOA recommends that members, where possible, comply with the SOA CPD Requirement by meeting the CPD basic requirements of another actuarial organization (approved by the SOA) of which they are a member. The CIA is one of the approved actuarial organizations under the alternative compliance provision. As a result, members of the CIA who are also members of the SOA may elect to meet the requirements of the CIA CPD standards as a means of complying with the SOA requirement. However, there may be cases where a member is considered to be in compliance with the CIA CPD standards but is not in compliance with the SOA CPD Requirement. See How am I impacted? below.

For SOA members who are not subject to, or can elect an exemption from meeting, an alternative compliance standard, the SOA has defined a basic set of requirements those SOA members can follow:

  • Complete 60 units of professional development every two years ending December 31. One unit is defined as 50 minutes, and a full hour can be converted to CPD units at the rate of 1.2 units per hour. Credit will be given for fractional hours;
  • At least 30 units per cycle must be earned in structured activities. At least 7.5 of those units must be from a source other than your employer;
  • At least 45 units per cycle must be in job-relevant skills (structured or self-study). At least three of the 45 must be earned as structured credits in professionalism;
  • No more than 15 units per cycle may be in business and management skills (structured or self-study);
  • FSA examinations that are considered an "effective attempt" (score >0) earn job-relevant structured CPD credit for the year in which the examination was taken; and
  • Successful completion of FSA modules also earn job-relevant structured CPD credit for the year in which the module is completed.

What are the main differences between SOA CPD and CIA CPD requirements?

Although CIA members are allowed to attest to compliance with the SOA CPD Requirement by meeting the CIA CPD standards, there are some notable differences between the two standards that members need to be mindful of. These include:

  • The SOA CPD does not recognize exemptions of any kind from CPD compliance, including ASAs writing exams;
  • The SOA CPD allows specific job-relevant structured CPD for effective attempts at examinations and successful completion of modules;
  • The definition of structured CPD credits may differ in some circumstances between the CIA and the SOA. For example, unlike the CIA, informal meetings between colleagues are not considered structured CPD credits under the SOA CPD standards;
  • The SOA CPD requires a minimum of 50 hours every two years whereas the CIA requires a minimum of 100 hours every two years; and
  • Unlike the CIA, where some members (those acting in a reserved role1) are required to file their CPD activities log with the Institute, there is no such requirement under the SOA. Under the SOA CPD Requirement, members are not required to file a log of their CPD activities with the society. However, members need to make sure they have their log of activities in case they are audited. Failure of an audit can result in disciplinary actions.
How am I impacted?

While most CIA members should easily meet the SOA CPD Requirement, there are a few pockets of the membership who may not. These members might be required to do additional work and/or reporting to ensure that they are in compliance with the SOA CPD standards:

  • An ASA who is also a member of the CIA and is actively writing exams will need to meet the SOA 50 hours minimum basic requirements. He cannot attest to compliance under the SOA CPD standards by stating that he complied with the CIA’s CPD standard if his compliance was by exemption. However, in meeting the SOA CPD Requirement the ASA will be able to count exam credits, module credits and time spent studying as well as all the usual activities that can be used for CPD purposes towards meeting his requirement;
  • The same holds true for new FCIAs. While under the CIA standard it is sufficient to indicate as a means of compliance that you have written an exam in the last two years, new FCIAs are expected to keep a log of their CPD activities in those two years following qualification. This will not be acceptable under the SOA CPD Requirement;
  • Retired FCIAs who are not eligible for waiver of dues as defined by the SOA will also be required to comply with the SOA CPD Requirement. Failure to do so would result in these members being shown as non-compliant. Those retired FCIA members who are classified by the SOA as eligible for waiver of dues would be shown as retired on the SOA’s online directory; and
  • Any CIA member that receives an exemption from compliance with the CIA’s CPD standards will need to comply with the SOA CPD Requirement. Otherwise they will be shown as non-complaint on the SOA online directory.

The SOA notes that any member of the CIA may elect to meet the SOA CPD Requirement by following the provisions of the CIA CPD standard or they may elect to follow the basic provisions (the 50-hour requirement outlined above), or any other CPD standard for which they may be eligible (e.g., the UKAP CPD Scheme).

In general, all members are subject to an audit of their records. If selected for audit a member who complies with the CIA CPD QS will be asked to show how they met the minimum 100 hours. Members’ records should show the amount of time spent in self-study, webcasts, meetings and seminars attended, what type of credit was earned and how many hours or units of credit were earned. This means that CIA members not acting in a reserved role and who do not track their 100 hours minimum under the CIA’s CPD QS, using the online tool provided by the CIA, should ensure that they keep proper records of their CPD activities in case of an audit by the SOA.

What do I need to do?

  • To attest to compliance with the SOA CPD Requirement follow these simple instructions:
  • Go to the SOA Member Directory;
  • Enter your user name and password;
  • Once logged in, click the button on the bottom right corner, SOA CPD Attestation;
  • You are now on the View CPD Attestation page. Click on the Update Info button at the bottom of the page;
  • If you have fulfilled the SOA CPD Requirement
    • Click on the first button ("I certify that I have fulfilled the SOA Continuing Professional Development Requirement...") certifying that you have fulfilled the requirement;
    • Then, click on at least one of the next five buttons to identify your method of compliance; and
    • If you met the requirement by multiple methods, click all that apply.
  • If you have not fulfilled the SOA CPD Requirement
    • Click the last radio button, certifying that you have not fulfilled the SOA CPD Requirement; and
  • Click the Save button and you’re done.

Technically, for those FCIA who are attesting to compliance under the SOA by virtue of satisfying the CIA CPD minimum requirements, you shouldn’t attest until you have filed your CIA compliance statement beginning on January 1, 2011, or have met another of the SOA requirement alternatives. The results will not be published until March 1, 2011 so if you have met your minimum CIA CPD requirements for the 2009–2010 period, including the inside limits, you could complete the SOA form with the expectation that your CIA compliance will be met.


The SOA has put in a number of resources to educate members on the new SOA CPD Requirement. Below are some of the resource materials. You may also call the SOA customer service number with any additional questions you may have: 1-888-697-3900.

SOA CPD Requirement: http://www.soa.org/files/pdf/current-cpd-req.pdf
Fact sheet about complying with the SOA CPD Requirement by following the CIA CPD standard: http://www.soa.org/files/pdf/cpd-cia-qualification-standard.pdf
An article on attestation: http://www.soa.org/library/newsletters/the-actuary-magazine/2010/june/act-2010-vol7-iss3-kessler.pdf
Frequently Asked Questions: http://www.soa.org/files/pdf/cpd-faqs.pdf

Roger Allen, FCIA, is Chair of the Continuing Professional Development Compliance Subcommittee of the Committee on Continuing Education. Angelita Graham, FCIA, is Chair of the Committee on Continuing Education.

 1 Reserved role is a role that legally requires an FCIA, usually pursuant to provincial or federal legislation or regulation.

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