CIA (e)Bulletin/(e)Bulletin de l'ICA
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January 2016

January's Video Update

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To view the video, click on the image above, or click here. Below is a transcript. 

Hello. I am Rob Stapleford and I am President of the Canadian Institute of Actuaries. I want to share with you some high-level details of the recent strategic planning retreat in Toronto where the CIA Board invested its time, ideas, and creativity on planning for the future of the profession in Canada. I also want to provide you with additional notice of a proposal to update the Institute’s Bylaws, Rules of Professional Conduct, and polices at the Annual General Meeting in St. John’s in June.

Jacques Tremblay will be producing the French version of this video . . . Merci Jacques.

As discussed in previous communications, the Board is working to update the Institute’s strategic plan. Over the last year, the Board has been working on a number of components of the CIA’s future direction including

  • The vision, mission, and values statements;
  • A solid value proposition statement for members;
  • An impression audit that was conducted with politicians, government officials, and business decision-makers to get an external perspective on the CIA; and
  • A Board presentation by Dr. Diane Girard on the public interest and ethical decision-making.

At the January retreat, Don McCreesh, an expert on strategic planning, led the Board through a powerful process keyed to our three strategic focus areas, with careful thought given to the work being done under our current strategic plan. Many thanks to the members who helped us prioritize these focus areas.

Please keep in mind that this is the start of an extensive plan. More work will be done in the next few months and we are planning to complete a new strategic plan by the Annual Meeting.

The three focus areas identified by the Board and confirmed by the member survey are

  • Education;
  • Emerging practice areas; and
  • Influencing public policy.

Several weeks ago, the senior staff assembled a list of the CIA’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (or SWOT), for which the Board reviewed and provided comment. Don led us through a thorough SWOT analysis, which added depth and common understanding to the work that we then started on the focus areas.


Education of the actuaries of today and tomorrow remains a strategic issue for the CIA. The International Actuarial Association has proposed a new syllabus which full member associations such as the CIA must follow. Topics such as data analytics and predictive modelling will need to be incorporated into our education process. The CIA will work with our education partners in our accredited universities, the Society of Actuaries, and the Casualty Actuarial Society to maintain today’s high standards and proactively prepare for the future.

A key strategic endeavour will be to update the Practice Education Course (PEC) to better prepare candidates for actuarial work in Canada. The PEC is the last step for fellowship in the CIA for candidates who have completed their education through the traditional examination process, as well as those who seek fellowship in Canada through a mutual recognition agreement or affiliate membership. The PEC will be enhanced to place greater emphasis on business, communications, and professionalism skills and more effectively recognizing the examinations already achieved by candidates.

The new PEC will also help actuaries who want to transition into a new area of practice without full requalification and with the acceptance of employers. Some very creative ideas emerged from this strategic discussion. A new PEC might enable academics to more readily achieve fellowship within their area of expertise. Watch for updates over the next 12 months as transition plans are announced for a new PEC in 2017. The CIA has developed a syllabus for Canadian actuaries. The syllabus will require regular review and modification to prepare actuaries for the future. The CIA is committed to ensuring that our education system is forward-looking and preparing actuaries for new and varied careers in the future. We will work to achieve this objective by looking at both the content and structure of the CIA’s education system.

Lastly, we intend to enhance our continuing education system with more emphasis on helping actuaries build communication skills and business acumen, in addition to traditional technical offerings.

Emerging Practice Areas

The CIA identified emerging areas of practice as a priority in its current strategic plan. Some progress was made but more is needed.

The Institute, along with the SOA and the CAS, authorized a project on the supply and demand for actuaries in North America. The work was conducted by the research branch of The Economist, the well-respected UK journal. Their analysis identified challenges and opportunities facing the profession in North America and the report also has a specific section on Canada. The report discussed future skills and identified predictive modelling as a way of the future. Actuaries need to be leaders in this field.

A recommendation arising at the retreat was the formation of an Emerging Practices Committee that would consider

  • Consolidating the CIA’s efforts to identify emerging areas of practice. Non-insurance organizations such as banking were identified as possible areas to consider;
  • Developing a strategy for the CIA to expand its presence in these areas;
  • Conducting a member survey to seek input from those already active or considering emerging areas; and
  • Building upon our strengths in emerging areas such as healthcare and climate change and sustainability. The work that our Climate Change and Sustainability Committee is doing is a good launch point, as is the intense effort on the Actuaries Climate Index and the Actuaries Climate Risk Index. These two projects have proven that actuaries and climate scientists can work together and produce valuable tools, in the public interest. There are already a number of actuaries in the field, and more are getting interested every day.

Emerging areas of practice will be a longer-term activity and will require a coordinated effort with our education resources. We plan to identify gaps and educational needs and develop content for a continuing education module for this area, perhaps in collaboration with other professions and associations.

We will also need to make a stronger effort to reach out to employers to understand their future needs.

Influencing Public Policy

Canada faces large, complex, and long-term problems. These require the skills, talents, and abilities of actuaries to help governments successfully address them. We plan a first principles review led by a blue ribbon task force, of our approach to public policy that will consider

  • An ongoing review of what issues the profession should consider;
  • A better alignment of research to support the CIA’s public position strategy;
  • More effective ways to engage the CIA membership and seek their input; and
  • More effective ways to communicate our messages in an independent and unbiased manner.

We expect this work will also involve the Public Positions Committee, which has done an excellent job in enhancing the Institute’s skills in public positions and submissions. This work will likely lead to changes in the public positions policy.

Governance Review

Finally, one group looked at what we do now. They proposed

  • A review of governance practices, with emphasis on overlaps, ambiguities in roles, responsibilities, and mandates; and
  • Streamlining key decision-making and consultation processes.

This was a very challenging but exciting meeting and one which crystallized the thinking of the Board on the future of our great profession. I hope I have shown you the excitement, commitment, and confidence that your Board has in these plans. Assignments arose from the strategic retreat and these will form the basis for discussion at the March Board meeting and ultimately, a new plan for release to the membership.

I want to update you on additional activity that you will be seeing in the next few weeks. Over the past two years, the Institute has completed a review of continuing professional development, and how the Institute protects the public in the area of the reporting of criminal convictions. This work has been conducted by the Eligibility Committee, the Eligibility and Education Council, the Governance Committee, and ultimately the Board. These proposals require changes to our Bylaws which require membership approval at the Annual General Meeting in June.

The final details of each initiative and a communications plan were presented to the Board at its meeting in November. A spirited discussion followed and changes were suggested. The materials have been updated and subsequently approved by the various working groups. I think we have an excellent package to send to the membership for their review and comment. Before final approval, the Board will consider input received from the members. We expect that this process will require discussion at the March Board meeting and a special Board meeting, likely in early April, to finalize and prepare for the AGM, where members will vote on the proposals.

Thanks to everyone who has worked on these projects over the past two years. Please watch for the release of this material and provide your comments.

It is an exciting time for the CIA. I want to thank the many volunteers who are so committed to our profession’s future. Have a great day et bonne journée!

Rob Stapleford, FCIA, is President of the Canadian Institute of Actuaries.


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