Keeping CIA Members Up to Date at the 2017 Fall Seminars

 By Matthieu Landry

In a new format this year, the Pension and Investment Seminars—usually a two-day event, were combined into a one-day event—held on November 7 in Toronto highlighted current and upcoming challenges facing actuaries and their stakeholders. Both seminars offered leading-edge content, quality continuing professional development, and networking opportunities.

The Future of Public Pension Plans

Public pension plans was the key topic at the Pension Seminar, offering members a chance to provide feedback that will help develop the forthcoming CIA public statement on public pension plans.

“The Notice of Intent on [the] CIA Public Statement on Public Pension Plans was an interactive session that allowed our members to collectively discuss important topics on the future of public pension plans,” says Joseph Gabriel, staff actuary, education. “The session underlined key challenges facing public pension plans and their stakeholders. Pivotal issues such as retirement age and the future working lifetime of Canadians were discussed. Ultimately, this will help the CIA develop its forthcoming public statement on public pension plans.”

Other current issues, such as solvency reform in Ontario and increasing collaboration between pension legislators were presented. All these will be taken into consideration as the CIA moves forward with its mission of advancing actuarial science and its application for the well-being of society; in this particular case, making sure pension plans remain sustainable for both stakeholders and Canadians in general.

New Approaches for Investors

The Investment Seminar focused on contemporary topics, such as machine learning and big data, to help CIA members understand new tools stakeholders are using to assess and analyze markets.

"Machine Learning in Asset Management was a fascinating session that demonstrated the human element needed for this innovative process to work—in other words, that alpha won’t be generated by machines," says Mr. Gabriel. “Of course, the session had a focus on big data as well, such as the customized, non-linear dynamic approach to investment.

"At the end of the day, many of our stakeholders are investors. Understanding what their needs are—and tools they are currently using and planning on using in the future is important to us as actuarial professionals," he said.

Why Are Fall Seminars Important?

Mr. Gabriel adds that fall seminars, indeed any CIA event, are important, as attending allows "members to keep abreast of the latest industry trends and topics, to get a better perspective of professionals who are not necessarily actuaries, and of course, to be better prepared at serving our stakeholders at the present time and in the future."

Matthieu Landry is senior coordinator, marketing, at the CIA Head Office.

Canadian Institute of Actuaries/Institut canadien des actuaires