The Year in Review

By Michel Simard
Executive Director, CIA

There is something unique and special about the Institute, something I think we tend to overlook at times because we often refer to it by its acronym, as simply the CIA. In our brevity, we forget that this is the one organization that unites all actuaries—regardless of practice area—who practice here in Canada. The Canadian Institute of Actuaries is the one place where Canadian actuaries come together, with their individual expertise and experience, and collaborate for the betterment of the public interest and the profession.

While we maintain our focus on serving the public interest, I am keenly aware of ongoing efforts to improve and enhance the CIA’s governance, transparency, services, and communication with members. The CIA must continue to evolve and change to meet the needs of its members and continue to fulfil its mission and realize its vision.

As I look back on 2017, I see that once again it has been a busy year for the CIA—a year of change and progress as we moved forward on new and continuing projects. I would like to present just a few of them.

Education

This year saw the approval of several ongoing CIA projects that improve the CIA’s education and qualification system and advance actuarial education in Canada:

In May, the CIA signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Society of Actuaries providing for future collaboration and cooperation on the education of actuarial candidates. This agreement builds upon and extends the CIA and the SOA relationship of many years. As part of this ongoing agreement, CIA representatives or liaisons will work with the SOA on education strategy and on the development of curricula and exams for components of the SOA education system that are recognized by the CIA. Among other things, the MOU also calls for the establishment of a co-branding strategy to recognize the partnership more formally.

Continuing Professional Development (CPD)

CPD goes hand in hand with education. Throughout the year, the Institute’s numerous seminars, webcasts, and workshops provided excellent opportunities for members to earn their CPD credits. We piloted new formats for our seminars, including half-day local events, and a live-streaming option to make these events more accessible to members.

Research

The CIA commits 9.5 percent of net dues revenue to its research budget. This year saw the completion of a restructuring of the former Research Committee into the Research Executive Committee (REC). The REC’s new structure is designed to help volunteers develop key partnerships to lead research relevant to the actuarial community and in support of general public issues, and to enhance the engagement of academics with related interests. In addition, the CIA hired Shlomit Jacobson as manager, research projects to facilitate the REC’s work.

This year the CIA published five research papers, and has over 18 projects currently underway, many of which will be published in early 2018.  

Member Engagement

As part of an initiative to improve member engagement and communication with members, the Institute conducted a series of focus groups to hear members’ concerns about the Institute and the actuarial profession, and ways to enhance member experience.

We also held two Live Mic events: the first in Toronto, the second in Montréal. Held in relaxed, casual, restaurant venues, both events gave attendees the opportunity to interact directly with CIA leadership (President and Board members) to ask questions, voice concerns, and network with other members. We hope to hold more of these events in the future.

Public Outreach

The CIA made 16 submissions to government and regulatory organizations on a wide variety of topics, including the following:

The Institute, working with marketing agency Banfield, also developed two national advertising campaigns: Actuaries Point the Way, regarding the role actuaries can play with big data, and The Shape of Things to Come, as part of Canada 150, showing how actuaries contributed and continue to contribute to Canada’s development.

On the Horizon

Looking towards 2018, I see more change for the Institute and Canadian actuaries. The publication of IFRS 17 has huge ramifications. The Actuarial Standards Board has been working to determine what changes to actuarial standards may be required as a result of IFRS 17. The Institute itself will work to provide French versions of the IFRS 17 documents, as well as webcasts and other opportunities for members to learn more about the impact of these accounting standards.

The ongoing review of CIA governance will continue, as the Board works towards implementing a new governance structure to help the Institute better fulfil its mandate, vision, and strategic plan.

Volunteers

The Institute is only as strong as its volunteers. We are incredibly grateful for the enormous amount of work our volunteers do to support the Institute and the future of the actuarial profession in Canada. A sincere thank you to those of you who have given of your time—your contribution is invaluable.

All the best for the holidays and a prosperous 2018!

Michel Simard is the CIA’s Executive Director.

Canadian Institute of Actuaries/Institut canadien des actuaires
http://www.cia-ica.ca/