Actuaries, the Professionals of the Future

 By Angelita Graham, FCIA

"The present defines the future. The future builds on the foundation of the past" – Lailah Gifty Akita.

As we prepare to meet in Ottawa in June to celebrate 50 years of our profession and look ahead to the next 50, I would like to share with you some of the activities of the Education and Eligibility Council (EEC) over the past nine months that are helping to shape our development.

Creation of a Canadian Education Syllabus – Charting a New Course

One of the CIA’s Long-Term Strategic Goals established in 2012 was to have an education system that is clearly defined in Canadian terms with a structured approach to sourcing and evaluating the appropriate educational means to fulfil the Associate- and Fellowship-level requirements.

We are proud to announce that for the first time, the CIA has created its own education syllabus for the ACIA and FCIA designations. This milestone was made possible thanks to the hard work of the members of the Task Force on Canadian Education and Eligibility, along with staff of the CIA Head Office.

Our syllabus will allow us to take ownership of educating Canadian actuaries and provide us with a road map against which to evaluate our existing and future education partners. This move will also facilitate a stronger and more proactive relationship with the Society of Actuaries (SOA) and Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS), our existing education partners.

While it is important for us to develop our own syllabus, it is also important to maintain and continually evaluate it. As such, the CIA Education Syllabus Committee has been established, in accordance with the recommendations from the education task force’s report.

The committee, led by Mathieu Boudreault and Thomas Hinton, will be responsible for the maintenance and enhancement of the CIA syllabus for Associate and Fellowship qualifications and other general education requirements. It will also be working to implement the more transformational recommendations included in the task force report, such as:

While some question the need for change, we are happy to say that these proposals are not unique to us. The International Actuarial Association, in its draft syllabus posted in February 2015, also identified these concepts as core requirements for actuaries of the future.

As noted by former president Bill Clinton: "The future is not an inheritance, it is an opportunity and an obligation."The creation of the CIA syllabus is not a push to create our own examination system, but recognition of our responsibility to direct the future of our profession.

CIA Graduate Scholarship Program

The Academic Relations Committee, led by Mathieu Boudreault, pioneered the CIA’s Graduate (Master’s) Scholarship Program, which was launched at the end of last year. The program was established to "promote research and/or graduate-level coursework in actuarial science, and to accelerate the transfer of new technology and original knowledge to the industry". It will provide annual scholarships of up to $10,000 to full- or part-time master’s students studying in Canada.

Our first application process, which closed February 28, saw 14 students applying. One successful candidate will be awarded a scholarship later this year. We expect that as the momentum builds, the application level will increase.

Information on the program and how to apply can be found on the CIA’s website.

University Accreditation Program

The University Accreditation Program (UAP) is in its third year of operation and we continue to beam with pride at its success. As part of our commitment to ensuring it is of the highest quality, a first-principles review is currently underway. Peter Muirhead and his team will be looking at all aspects of the program to ensure it continues to meet our expectations, and remains robust.

Members will be consulted on the UAP via a survey in early April, and I urge you to provide feedback.

CPD Compliance Review Project

In 1994 the CIA introduced requirements for continuing professional development (CPD) to take effect January 1, 1997, and they have evolved over the years from an honour system to the detailed annual filing procedures we have today. The Eligibility Committee, under the oversight of the EEC, is conducting a review of the CPD compliance program which is expected to be completed by June 2016. Its aim is to determine the adequacy of the existing requirements, including the mix of structured and unstructured hours, the definition of relevant technical hours, and reporting requirements, and whether changes are required. Should there be any proposed amendments, members will have the opportunity to comment.

CPD Needs Analysis

The Committee on Continuing Education (CEC), led by Deborah McMillan, recently conducted a survey on members’ CPD needs. While the results are still being discussed, it came through loud and clear that you want more webcasts and we’ll be working hard to deliver in the coming year. It was surprising to learn how few members are aware of the free CPD resources on the CIA website through archived meeting material and audio recordings. I encourage you to take advantage of these resources as much as possible.

Kudos to the CEC and the Task Force on the 50th Anniversary Annual Meeting Celebration, led by Gary Walters, who have put together a stellar program.

We are proud of what we have been able to accomplish to date, but are even more excited about what the coming years hold for us as a profession, as we take greater charge over our future. These are exciting times for the CIA and I am pleased to be a part of our various initiatives. As Malcolm X said: "Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today." I look forward to the CIA’s future!

I hope to see you in Ottawa in June!

Angelita Graham, FCIA, is Chair of the EEC.

Canadian Institute of Actuaries/Institut canadien des actuaires