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

Priorities for 2017–2018

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By Sharon Giffen, FCIA
CIA President

Taking my place as CIA President is an honour; at the same time, I reflect on those who occupied this position before me, and realize that it will be a busy year continuing to implement the many initiatives that will benefit our members. At the Annual Meeting in Québec City in June, I outlined the priorities for my tenure as President:

  • Actuarial education and qualifications;
  • Increase volunteerism; and
  • Governance.

Actuarial Education and Qualifications

  1. Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Education with the Society of Actuaries (SOA)
    The CIA signed an MOU with the SOA regarding our commitment to use the SOA exams as a pathway to Associateship and Fellowship in the CIA. In return, the CIA will participate in SOA development of both curriculum and examinations, with greater influence where content is developed specifically for the Canadian syllabus.

    Without a doubt, this was a major achievement. Bringing the agreement to life over the next year will be important to both organizations. Our early experience has been excellent; Canadian students will see better CIA branding in the exam system and the CIA will have an avenue to ensure that the SOA’s system continues to fulfil our needs. 
  1. Review and Update Learning Objectives
    New work with big data, modelling, and predictive analytics, will, in my opinion, become ever more critical in the actuarial toolkit. We must ensure we stay in touch with what will be needed in these and other areas in the future.

  2. Practice Education Course 2018 (PEC 2.0)
    The PEC fulfils a critical role as the capstone learning event for our prospective Fellows. We have removed the examination aspect of the course; we now need to ensure that candidates and their employers continue to value it, with a shift to include business acumen skills along with professionalism.

Increase Volunteerism

  1. Research Committee
    The Head Office has hired an additional staff member, Shlomit Jacobson (see article in this (e)Bulletin), to support research through improved project management capabilities. As we expand our capacity to undertake research projects, there will be an increasing need for members who are interested in particular projects to get involved in overseeing them.

  2. Public Statements Committee
    CIA volunteers are currently working on three topics, each of which will elevate the profile of actuaries contributing to benefit the public. I look forward to great progress on all three topics. If you are interested in getting involved and having your voice heard, do ensure that you indicate your interest through the Volunteer Applicant Registry (must be logged in to the website to access), and respond to notices of intent (NOIs) on these public statements.

  3. International Matters
    The CIA and Canadian actuaries are well recognized on the international stage for our contribution to developments that impact actuaries around the world. We recently had a call for volunteers who have international experience to get involved with the International Relations Council or one of its committees to continue this valuable work.

Watch for more CIA volunteer opportunities on the website and in the announcements.


  1. Independent Oversight of Regulatory Functions
    The CIA has an oversight role of a self-regulating profession. To ensure these functions are independent and are seen to be so by the public, we need to balance independence in action with Board oversight. External oversight may be beneficial in both our qualification and discipline processes.

  2. Strategic Thinking
    The CIA would benefit from broader and more r egular input into strategic thinking about the future of the profession. While a three- or five-year strategic plan is a good start, we need to review it annually, and identify and plan initiatives to implement considering the capacity we have in our working groups.

  3. Accountability
    We need to provide clarity regarding accountability, authority, and responsibility. Who would ultimately be called to task if things go badly? That is who is accountable. Who will make decisions? That is who has authority. Who will do the work? That is who has responsibility. We can supplement these with other questions. Who needs to be consulted before the decision? Who are the stakeholders? Who is needed to support the decision? Who needs to know about the decision? Clarity in these matters will reduce bureaucracy and the delays that come with the need to refer all decisions upwards.

Please Get Involved

Volunteers help the CIA complete a huge amount of work each year, and yet we can do so much more. I invite you to get involved. We value every contribution.

Additionally, we will be reaching out for your input and opinion on several matters over the year. If you cannot volunteer at this time, take the opportunity to ask questions and provide input. Whether you agree or disagree, it helps us to understand the balance of views.

Thank you for getting involved.

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


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