CIA (e)Bulletin/(e)Bulletin de l'ICA
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January 2017

Actuarial Titles and Designations

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By Chris Fievoli, FCIA

"What is an actuary?" This is a question that most of us have had to face at some point, primarily when we get into discussions about our choice of career. That being said, it may interest you to know that the CIA has a position on who can refer to themselves as an "actuary". This is one part of our Policy on the Use of CIA Membership Titles and Designations presented in this article.

Rule 10 of the CIA’s Rules of Professional Conduct deals with titles and designations:

Rule 10

A member shall make use of membership titles and designations of a recognized actuarial organization only in a manner that conforms to the practices authorized by that organization.

Annotation 10-1 "Title" means any title conferred by a recognized actuarial organization related to a specific position within that organization. "Designation" means a specific reference to membership status within such organization.

The CIA has, for over 50 years, granted the FCIA (Fellow of the Canadian Institute of Actuaries) designation, and more recently introduced the ACIA (Associate of the Canadian Institute of Actuaries) designation. The CIA is also an award signatory for the CERA (Chartered Enterprise Risk Analyst) designation. CIA members who have earned any of these designations and continue to be a member of the CIA in good standing may use them in any situation and are entitled to append the corresponding initials after their names.

Exceptions to the Rule

The one exception to this privilege is if the designation is being used in conjunction with an activity that violates the Rules of Professional Conduct, particularly rule 1, which requires all members to uphold the reputation of the actuarial profession. It is difficult to come up with specific examples of this, but suffice it to say that if you wanted to use your FCIA designation while promoting a blatantly illegal activity, it would not be allowed.

Also note that rule 10 requires CIA members to follow the practices authorized by any recognized actuarial organization. Most CIA members also hold membership in either the Society of Actuaries (SOA) or the Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS), so you will need to ensure that the use of your designation meets the requirements of those organizations as well.

Finally, it is important to note that a designation is not like a university degree that once earned, stays with you for life. It must be maintained through continuing professional development and annual payment of dues, unless a member qualifies for an exemption from either obligation.

What is a Title?

A "title", on the other hand, refers to a position that a member may hold in the CIA, such as the chair of a committee or a member of the Board of Directors. In this case, the use of titles is a bit more restrictive. You can certainly use your title in any official CIA correspondence and it can be included on your résumé. On the other hand, CIA titles cannot be used to promote commercial interests or to express opinions that are not official positions of the CIA. So if you want to write a letter to the editor of your local paper to express a personal opinion, you cannot mention your position on a CIA committee, but you are free to use your designation (provided your letter does not violate rule 1!).

What is an Actuary?

Now we come to the question that we opened this article with—what is an actuary? For many years, the CIA has held the position that only a qualified Fellow can refer to themselves as an actuary. The rationale for this position is that the Fellowship designation is representative of having achieved full qualification—a combination of education and professional experience. As a result, CIA members are requested to avoid use of the term "actuary" to describe someone who does not meet that criterion. This should be kept in mind when employers designate job titles for non-Fellows, or when recruiting advertisements seek candidates who do not have Fellowship status. Either of these instances would be an inappropriate use of the term actuary, but the term "actuarial professional" could be a suitable option

Note that numerous pieces of legislation and regulation recognize the FCIA as the sole designation that meets the definition of what an actuary is. For example, the very first definition in the Insurance Companies Act (thanks to the alphabetical arrangement) states that an actuary is an FCIA. That being said, the term actuary is not a professional title protected by provincial professional legislation, which means that, unfortunately, a non-member of the CIA could refer to themselves as an actuary for commercial purposes, and would not be prevented from doing so. The CIA hopes that by promoting the designations that we offer and the high standards required to achieve them, users of actuarial services will recognize that CIA designations are the mark of quality professional actuarial work.

All of which is to say that you should use your titles and designations properly, but also use them proudly—you have earned them!

Chris Fievoli, FCIA, is staff actuary, communications and public affairs, at the CIA Head Office.


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