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Making the Institute More Relevant to New Actuaries

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By Jim Christie, FCIA
CIA President

I am amazed by how fast my time as CIA President is passing. As we move into March, my term of office is more than half over, yet it seems only weeks ago that I assumed office. We have begun to make plans to celebrate the Institute’s fiftieth anniversary in 2015, and if any members have suggestions for something we might consider as part of these festivities, I urge you to drop me a note about your ideas.

The Institute typically plays a significant role in the professional lives of actuaries in Canada from mid-career onward but is often not an important factor in the early stages of their actuarial development. For many, their introduction to the Institute comes after they have obtained Fellowship in another actuarial organization. We would like to change that, and so the Institute has taken several steps to enhance its status among actuaries and candidates as they begin their careers.

We have dramatically changed the concept of Associates within the CIA. Beginning in June 2012, individuals who meet the qualification criteria—typically Associateship in the Society of Actuaries (SOA) or Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS)—will be able to join the CIA and formally use the designation ACIA. Moreover, those Associates with more than five years’ membership will be able to vote in Institute ballots. Our Task Force on Associateship Implementation has been working hard since last June to make sure this new concept has a smooth launch.

Starting in September 2012, students in actuarial programs at eight accredited Canadian universities will be able to enrol in classes offering the potential to earn credits for up to four of the early exams (2/FM, MFE, 3L/MLC, 4/C) in the Associate syllabus. The courses will have to cover the syllabus of each exam, and the student will have to achieve a sufficiently high grade in the course. This is an ambitious project for the Institute and will certainly make many students much more aware of the CIA early in their actuarial careers. Both the CAS and SOA are currently reviewing our University Accreditation Program and we hope they will ultimately decide to accept credits awarded by the CIA toward their designations.

The mandate of our existing Committee on Academic Relations is being expanded to encompass the expected additional interest from academia that will result from the University Accreditation Program.

We have just created a New Members Committee whose membership will be composed of recent members. The committee’s mandate will be to promote education and networking opportunities specifically targeted to new Fellows and Associates. This committee will be responsible for ongoing measurement and monitoring of the value of Associate status in the Institute.

We are also close to establishing an Actuarial Networking Group which will be targeted at actuarial students in universities and those working in actuarial jobs who do not yet meet the criteria to be Associates.

In all we have many initiatives underway that should dramatically increase awareness of and involvement in the Institute among those who are just beginning their actuarial careers.

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to write me at president@actuaries.ca.

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

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