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

Actuarial Clubs Tour

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By Sharon Giffen, FCIA

One of the most pleasant duties of the CIA President-elect is to visit with actuarial clubs across the country. The purpose is two-fold: first, to talk about CIA priorities and help members to understand what we are up to and why; and second, to hear from members—what they think about our priorities, and what else we should be doing.

Most of my visits were done in April and May. I had the opportunity to speak to the Independent Actuaries Network in Milton, Ontario, and clubs in Winnipeg, Calgary, Vancouver, and Waterloo.  My June visit to Regina is upcoming. Add to those the Live Mic event that the CIA conducted in Toronto, and I think I have spoken to and/or heard from more than 300 actuaries, associates, and students. Dave Dickson covered the questions that we had from the Live Mic in Toronto in last month’s (e)Bulletin; many of the same comments arose across the country, so I will not cover those again.

Mission, Vision, and Values of the CIA

I started my remarks by reviewing these important statements. They are on the CIA’s website, and I encourage every member to read them once in a while. I find them inspiring, and they underlie the purpose behind our strategic priorities.

I next provided a brief update on each of the CIA’s four main strategic priorities.


It was mid-tour when the CIA and Society of Actuaries (SOA) signed a memorandum of understanding defining our engagement with the society’s examination system. This was the culmination of a long negotiation process and forms a solid basis to ensure our relationship with the SOA will continue to fulfil the needs of the CIA.

Work continues on Practice Education Course (PEC) 2.0, as we move towards eliminating duplicative examinations on Canadian practice and adding more business acumen skills, especially communication and presentation abilities.

Emerging Practices

It is still in the early stages, but the CIA is developing practices for actuaries in non-traditional areas such as predictive modelling and banking. This is not to replace what is already competently being done by others, but is rather about how to apply our special skills to these issues—for example, how will the results of predictive modelling change life, pension, and P&C practices? How can actuaries’ skills enhance the work of bankers to lift their results? And how do we get more actuaries interested and involved in these areas? Stay tuned . . . There is bound to be more on this.

Public Statements

You will have seen the proposed bylaw changes that will be before the membership for a vote in June. These changes will clarify the situations in which the CIA should formally express an opinion, along with the requirements to ensure we are listening to the views of members. This is open for proxy voting, and I encourage everyone who cannot attend the Annual Meeting in Québec City to consider the proposal and to vote.

Governance and Engagement

Governance is not solely about hierarchy and bureaucracy—in fact, good governance will assist an organization to have clarity about decision-making, enabling efficiency and effectiveness in operations. At the CIA, we are undergoing a review of governance, including the structure of committees. This is critical to our volunteers, whose efforts drive results for the CIA. At the same time, the Board must have appropriate oversight, to ensure volunteer work drives forward the Institute’s strategic agenda. I am deeply involved in this project. Consultation with our volunteer leaders has begun, and will undoubtedly shape the next generation of thinking about what changes will benefit the CIA.

Linked with the opportunities we have in governance is a significant opportunity to broaden the CIA’s appeal to engage with members. Engagement and volunteerism are cornerstones of our profession. The CIA is working on measuring engagement, including “points” for voting, attending a CIA event, volunteering, signing in to the website, and other activities. This work has yielded some interesting, although preliminary, results and we are considering how to further develop our measures and what to do with the results.

We are also looking at the experience of volunteering with the CIA. Today, most volunteer positions require a three-year commitment. If we focused more of the work in task forces, we could perhaps engage with more members on a short-term basis. We also have opportunities on task forces; the commitment required for them may be more intense, but is time-bound by the delivery of the product. Volunteering should fit within your idea of work-life-volunteering balance.

My Priorities

Although neither particularly glamorous, nor very actuarial, my priority has been in the governance review, and this project will definitely continue into the next year. I believe that improvements in governance will allow the great efforts of our many volunteers to truly achieve our goal of advancing actuarial practice in Canada. And that will attract and engage an ever-increasing number of members who are interested in the work of the CIA; they will be willing to serve on committees and councils, and will ultimately want to run for election to the Board of Directors or an officer position.

Sharon Giffen, FCIA, is President-elect of the Canadian Institute of Actuaries.


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