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Exciting Times Ahead

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By Simon Curtis, FCIA
CIA President


I am very excited to begin my year as President of the Institute. The past year as President-elect has reminded me how many enthusiastic and talented members we have in the CIA volunteering for the Board, councils, committees, and other roles in the Institute. It has also reminded me what a dedicated team we have within the CIA Head Office.

I am particularly excited to become President at a time when the CIA Board, following its meeting in June, has adopted a set of four specific long-term objectives. These objectives—which were developed using a 10-year-plus look-forward perspective—are designed to provide more specificity around the goals the CIA would like to achieve on a longer-term time frame than we traditionally use in our operational and strategic planning process. They are an important bridge between our mission and vision statements and our planning processes. The intention is that these objectives be actively used to provide context and criteria for our strategic/operational planning processes. We would expect to consistently validate our plans and activities for alignment with these objectives.

So, what are these objectives?
  1. Being a member of the 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).
  3. Building on its research on financial welfare and risks, the CIA is widely recognized by the Canadian public as the leading contributor to dialogue, analysis, and solutions in all areas related to understanding and quantification of future financial contingencies and risks.
  4. Building on their extensive role in existing practice areas, CIA members are viewed as key contributors in non-traditional fields such as health care and banking.
Of these objectives, the second has the most potential to be misunderstood. Let me assure you that the CIA is not signalling its intention to become an end-to-end provider of actuarial education. Rather, we are recognizing that it is important that the CIA takes responsibility for identifying what education and training is needed to become an actuary in Canada—and then map how different paths can satisfy this. We fully expect that traditional paths involving FSA/FCAS qualifications will remain a key path to achieving the FCIA, but, in the increasingly complex and changing environment in which we work, we need to recognize the potential for alternative paths to be a key part of our criteria. A great example of this is the University Accreditation Program (UAP), where the CIA has taken the step of allowing students to satisfy certain early exam requirements through achieving specified grade levels in specified courses in CIA-accredited actuarial programs at universities in Canada. The UAP has now been recognized by the Casualty Actuarial Society (see the separate story in this (e)Bulletin).

Through initiatives such as the UAP and the recently-introduced Associate designation, the CIA has put in place key foundations that will both increase our engagement with younger students entering the profession and with the excellent university infrastructure which educates them. Both of these are very important to the profession.

Finally, I’d like to invite you to send me comments on these objectives, or any other issues related to the CIA or our profession that are on your mind, at president@actuaries.ca.

Simon Curtis, FCIA, is President of the CIA.  

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