CIA and SOA Partnering to Conduct Relevant Research for Canadians

By Dave Dickson, FCIA

A couple of years ago, the Society of Actuaries (SOA) launched an initiative to better support its Canadian members; one of its objectives is to partner with the CIA on Canadian research projects.

The SOA extends its research capabilities to provide expertise, resources, and funding to assist in bringing valuable research to Canadian actuaries and the public. To support this initiative, the SOA has a staff dedicated to Canadian membership. Émilie Bouchard was hired in this role in October, and part of her role is to identify relevant research projects and promote them within the SOA to obtain funding and support. Émilie has joined the CIA Research Committee to gain a better understanding of the types of research the CIA currently undertakes, and to contribute research topics otherwise contemplated by the SOA, for which it might make sense for both organizations to cooperate.

Over the last couple of years, this initiative has resulted in a number of joint projects, including papers on health care and climate change. Below I’ll highlight three that have recently been discussed:

  1. We have contracted with a consultant to review the last 12 months of the Globe and Mail publications, looking for significant events affecting companies and categorizing them under risk management categories. This will give us a better understanding of what types of events affect Canadian companies and how enterprise risk management can play a role in helping them manage these risks. A paper will be produced that will be of interest to our members and Canadian companies, and will be available soon.
  2. An analysis will be done of policyholder behaviour under segregated fund products such as fund switches and redemptions. This will give our members and Canadian companies a better understanding of the activity under these types of products. In the U.S., Limra was hired to complete a similar project, and it will be involved in conducting the Canadian study; the Segregated Fund Experience Subcommittee of the CIA Research Committee will help gather the data and manage the project.
  3. The third initiative is one that will bring a different approach to research. Typically, a need is identified for research, the project plan is put together, the data are gathered, and the study is conducted. This can often take one or more years. With all of the interest in defined benefit (DB) pension plans, there is a need for a model that will predict the impact on Canadian DB plans of different stimuli, such as changes in regulations, changes in demographics, and changes in economic conditions. A model will therefore be developed to analyze the impact of various stimuli and potential scenarios on private DB plans in a very quick and efficient manner.

The above examples are projects that were successfully completed in the U.S. and then adapted for Canada. In these particular initiatives, the SOA brings expertise, internal resources, and partial or full funding. The CIA provides Canadian expertise, resources, and connections with key Canadian stakeholders. The Institute also translates documents for French members. In addition, it will take the lead on making sure that the results of these studies are distributed in the most impactful and useful manner, to serve Canadians and to promote the actuarial profession in Canada.

How can you help?

Please contact Émilie (at 613-402-4118 or at or myself if you are aware of any research which would serve Canadian actuaries and the public. We are always looking for research ideas.

Dave Dickson, FCIA, is Chair of the Research Committee.

Canadian Institute of Actuaries/Institut canadien des actuaires