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Drive to Attract Younger Members

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By Jim Christie, FCIA

CIA President

Over the last year the Board of Directors has spent considerable energy articulating a clear and succinct vision of what we want the Institute’s future to be. At the June 2012 Board meeting we expect to put the finishing touches on that vision. Even before it is finalized there is sufficient consensus to allow the Institute to better align and coordinate our extensive and diverse volunteer efforts. In particular there was clear agreement on two directions for the Institute, namely:
  1. Being a member of CIA is regarded as essential for all actuaries practising in Canada. All actuaries practising in Canada are active members of the CIA and view the CIA as their primary actuarial affiliation and the body with which they are most engaged.
  2. The CIA is viewed as an educational body, not just an accreditation body. It takes full accountability for the educational path to FCIA (which may involve outsourcing) with the FCIA recognized as being a high quality stand-alone educational designation (i.e., not having to be aligned to another designation).
This consensus in turn has helped to focus the Institute on a number of initiatives designed to increase the emphasis on attracting members and actuarial candidates much earlier in their actuarial careers. To that end we have launched the following initiatives:
  • The University Accreditation Program (UAP) gets underway in September 2012, and will provide an exciting new alternative approach for candidates to earn credits for certain of the early actuarial examinations by achieving superior grades in specific university courses offered by Canadian universities with very strong actuarial programs. The Institute will be responsible for ongoing monitoring of the high standards set during the initial accreditation process. One additional benefit of candidates applying directly to the Institute to receive UAP credits will be much earlier recognition of the role the CIA plays in the careers of all Canadian actuaries.
  • A new concept for Associates comes into force in June 2012. Dues have been lowered for new Associates and the initial qualification criteria aligned with other actuarial career milestones to encourage qualified individuals to become members of the Institute. The new ACIA designation will allow actuarial individuals to become members of the Institute much sooner and will help make the Institute more relevant during the formative stages of their actuarial careers.
  • The chairs of all committees and task forces have been asked to intensify their efforts to recruit younger members where and when appropriate.
  • We have created a new electronic forum, the CIA Network, to allow those interested in pursuing actuarial careers to establish a formal link to the Institute before they qualify as members, and particularly while they are still in university.
  • The CIA is now on Twitter, so that members will be able to follow the Institute through a familiar social network.
  • This year the Institute conducted its first full membership survey since 2005. The information gathered was valuable in assessing both member satisfaction and identifying where additional efforts are most needed. We now intend to conduct full member surveys every five years.
  • For more immediate and regular feedback the Member Services Council will be establishing the Member Listening Group, consisting of a cross-spectrum of members who will be asked via short electronic polls to provide a sense of what the membership feels about topical issues. We expect to roll this initiative out in the coming month.
  • To better understand what actuarial employers want from the Institute and from the actuarial education system, the Past President, President-elect, Executive Director, and I have undertaken a series of interviews with a cross-section of Canadian-based actuarial employers.
If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to write to me at president@actuaries.ca.

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

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