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Past Reflections and Future Hopes

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By Jim Christie, FCIA
CIA President

As this is my first article as your President, I thought I would use this space to reflect upon what the CIA has accomplished in the past year and my hopes for what we can achieve in the coming year.

Perhaps the most significant change for the CIA in the last year was the approval of the changes for our Associate members which will come into effect June 1, 2012. These changes were based on recommendations of a special task force that considered the value proposition for our existing and potential Associate members. The changes will bring the requirements for an Associate of the CIA in line with the requirements for Associates of the SOA and CAS, and allow for the formal use of the ACIA designation. In addition those Associates with five or more years of enrolment as an Associate will be entitled to vote in Institute elections. As well as these changes, the CIA will be undertaking a number of other initiatives to encourage university actuarial students to become involved with the Institute much earlier in their careers.

This summer, the CIA was granted the right to award the Chartered Enterprise Risk Analyst (CERA) credential by the CERA global board. This will help position the Institute in the Canadian risk management space. I hope to see our first Canadian cohort of CERAs awarded in 2012.

Changes to Rules of Professional Conduct 6 and 13 were approved in March. The changes to Rule 13 engendered spirited debate, showing that our members are both passionate about and deeply interested in how our actuaries act in their professional lives.

In June the CIA Secretariat moved new office space at 360 Albert Street, Ottawa. The new quarters provide a more pleasant work atmosphere and a more efficient floor plan with no increase in annualized occupancy cost.

I would now like to shift to my personal goals for the upcoming year.

First, I want the CIA Board to enhance its focus and actions on strategic issues and push the actuarial aspects of running CIA activities to the Education and Eligibility Council, the Practice Council and the Member Services Council.

I will encourage the Secretariat to continue their initiatives to find ways to work collaboratively with our councils, committees and task forces to increase the effectiveness of their volunteer efforts.

Last year the CIA Board took a major step toward expanding the process for actuarial qualification in Canada by opening an option that will formally utilize the excellent actuarial programs that exist at many Canadian universities. This option, previously known as the Future Education Methods (FEM) project, is now called the University Accreditation Program. In November the CIA Board will consider the recommendations of its Accreditation Committee regarding which Canadian universities have sufficiently well-established actuarial education programs to allow the CIA to grant exam credits to those students who achieve sufficiently high grades in university courses that map to the SOA/CAS syllabus for the early technical actuarial exams: 2/FM, 3/MFE, 3/MLC and 4/C. If all goes well, universities will introduce this into their September 2012 calendars and our first exam credits will be issued in June 2013. At this point these credits will be valid only for ACIA and FCIA qualifications. We will encourage the SOA and CAS to consider allowing similar credits, since no promises on SOA or CAS recognition can be made to students at this time.

At the other end of the qualification process we need to consider the future of the Practice Education Course. Passing the PEC was added to the criteria for an FCIA about 10 years ago, when the SOA removed country-specific material from its syllabus. Shortly thereafter the CAS created a Canadian-specific exam track and consequently FCASs were exempted from the PEC requirement. Now the SOA has added country-specific material back into its syllabus, though the extent of additions varies significantly by practice speciality. If the PEC is to continue, we need to determine if it should be transformed.

Having taken steps to address the value proposition for Associates, we now need to address the value proposition for Fellows. While many Fellows need an FCIA designation to sign specific actuarial reports, many of our members have no formal need for an FCIA designation. We must ensure that the CIA offers sufficient value to actuaries practising in Canada, so that we attract all of them in Canada to become members of the CIA.

One way of enhancing the stature of the actuarial profession is by taking on issues in the public eye, e.g., health care, retirement funding, demutualizing P&C insurers, and pension legislation reform. I believe we can best do this by acting in an honest broker role, i.e., by providing fact-based commentary on each issue and objectively critiquing potential options, and presenting an optimal solution in the public interest.

Last, but by no means least, we need to monitor and, as much as possible, influence international actuarial and accounting developments. With the recent adoption of IFRS as Canadian GAAP, we have moved into an era where international accounting and actuarial standards may directly affect the activities of actuaries practising in Canada.

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to write me at

Jim Christie, FCIA, is President of the Canadian Institute of Actuaries.

360 Albert Street, Suite 1740, Ottawa, ON K1R 7X7
Tel.: 613.236.8196 Fax: 613.233.4552