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

Benoit Saucier – Humility, Sacrifice, and Perseverance

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New Fellow Benoit Saucier with
CIA Past 
President Dave Dickson.

1. When and why did you become an actuary?

By the time I had finished CEGEP I was hesitating between actuarial studies and astrophysics. I ended up choosing actuarial studies, since career opportunities in astrophysics were more limited and would have required several years of postgraduate studies. By the way, back then I didn’t know about the actuarial professional exams.

When I asked my professors and the people around me what an actuary does, only a few could answer me. But one thing they all agreed on was that the university program was among the most difficult out there. So I decided to take up the challenge.

2. Who inspired you to pursue an actuarial career?

There were two times when I wanted to throw in the towel, and two individuals stepped in in a huge way: Professor Michel Jacques, when I was going to university, and my friend Jacques Gagné, my mentor early in my career. Without them, there is no doubt I’d have switched to another field.

3. What was your experience of the actuarial exams? Did you experience any particular challenges?

My experience was a mixture of humility, sacrifices, and pride. I think that to make it through the lengthy exam process, you have to be either brilliant or perseverant. I’m the latter. I’m very perseverant.

4. How did you find the transition from being a student to becoming a young professional?

One of the things about a career in the actuarial field is that it can take several years to fully transition from student to professional. But that makes the transition easier.

5. What is your current professional role? Can you describe the type of work you’re doing?

I work for Retraite Québec, the agency that supervises supplemental pension plans. My responsibilities working for this government body are fairly diverse, but can basically be summed up in two categories:

  • Monitoring the actuarial aspects of supplemental pension plans (analyzing actuarial valuation reports, writing documents that explain the various statutes and regulations in clear language, training, and so forth); and
  • Making improvements to the applicable acts and regulations (identifying problems, designing solutions, assisting in the drafting and presentation process, etc.).

6. What do you enjoy most about your job?

I really enjoy problem-solving, especially when the solution isn’t readily apparent. In such instances I have to tap into all the knowledge I’ve gained over the years in order to come up with the best possible solution, which often involves striking a fair balance between the interests of all the concerned parties.

7. What are your short-term career ambitions?

I want to keep getting better and to make my team and my organization better in every respect. To date that approach has made me proud of what I’ve been able to accomplish, and good things have always come my way. I think that this will continue to be the case.

8. Where do you see yourself professionally in 15 years?

I see myself in a job that I love, on a strong, dynamic and well-functioning team. As for the rest, I don’t have any specific plans. I don’t like making too many plans, as that would leave me less open to the opportunities that will lead me to the objective I mentioned earlier.

9. What career would you follow if you weren’t an actuary?

I have a fairly wide range of interests, but if I had to choose a different career, it would probably be in the financial sector. Fortunately, my actuarial career affords me opportunities to dabble in this sector from time to time.

10. What are your hobbies?

My work is very cerebral, so in my spare time I like engaging in physical activities. I downhill ski during the winter and do road and mountain biking in the summer.

11. Where is your dream vacation destination?

I don’t have any set destination. Each place has its attractions; it’s just a matter of discovering and enjoying them. As far as I’m concerned, what makes travel rewarding is the people you share it with and the experiences you engage in.

Benoit Saucier, FCIA, is an actuary for the supplemental pension plans division at Retraite Québec.

If you would like to be featured in Spotlight on New Fellows, please contact CIA English editor Bonnie Robinson at bonnie.robinson@cia-ica.ca.

 

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