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

Canadian Institute of Actuaries/Institut canadien des actuaires

October 2015
Elliott Bauer
D.W. Simpson & Company
Eckler Ltd.
President's Update

By Rob Stapleford, FCIA
CIA President

To view the video version of this message, click here.

Hello. My name is Rob Stapleford, and I am President of the Canadian Institute of Actuaries.

The latest Board meeting covered a lot of important topics, and I will focus on some of the highlights in this video update. 

Strategic Plan

The Board got together the night before the scheduled meeting for an orientation for new members and to start work on the CIA’s strategic plan. The plan is due for review, in order to set out objectives for the next three to five years.

The core of a strategic plan is the vision and mission for the organization. After much discussion over several meetings, the Board adopted the following vision for the CIA: "Financial security for Canadians." And the mission is: "As the trusted bilingual voice of the Canadian actuarial profession, we advance actuarial science and its application for the well-being of society."

Impression Audit Results

Before launching into a detailed planning process for government outreach, the Board commissioned an impression audit from Greenberg Quinlan Rosner (GQR), a respected research and polling firm. An impression audit seeks input from various stakeholders in an interview format to obtain a deeper perspective on the CIA. GQR conducted 34 in-depth interviews of a cross-section of CIA stakeholders: politicians, government officials, regulators, and others who were asked about the major risks facing Canada, their attitudes towards and understanding of the work of actuaries and the CIA, and the routes open to the CIA for engaging in public affairs. Highlights of the audit included the following:

  • Elected politicians, government officials, and regulators know actuaries to varying degrees and they do want to have input from the profession as actuaries have much to add to solving the nation’s issues;
  • The CIA is strongly encouraged to be an expert witness and a long-term sage on issues; and
  • We are seen to have the scope to add valuable and needed perspectives to demographics and aging, health care finance, public administration, and climate risk. 

There is recognition internally that some research projects need to be aligned to topics that relate to these stakeholders’ needs, and that this work will create even deeper connections between the CIA and governments. There is plenty of interesting information in GQR’s final report. We plan to offer a webcast to members on the results of the audit.

Membership Input Sought on CIA Direction

A key step in the strategic planning process will be to determine the primary areas of focus for the profession in 2016–2019. The Board identified several possible objectives including public policy, education for the future, member engagement, and non-traditional areas of practice. The Board wants to seek membership input on the strategic objectives for the CIA. A survey will be released to members shortly to get your input on what direction the CIA should take over the next three to five years. In order to obtain and analyse input from as many as 5,000 members, the survey will be designed to make input easy to provide and analyse within our work plan. Dave Dickson, CIA President-elect, will lead the effort to prepare a draft of the strategic plan for discussion at the November Board meeting. The Board will use member input as it determines the ultimate strategy. Stay tuned for more on this process in the very near future.

The Board held a wide-ranging discussion on the public interest, the profession’s role in it, and how it is defined. Getting involved does represent some risk for the profession. But not getting involved has risk as well, not only for actuaries, but for Canadians and Canada. One of the comments made during the discussion was that the profession’s commitment to the public interest is one critical item that separates the CIA from being a trade association. There will be more on this topic as we move through the strategic planning process over the next six months.

Controversial September Press Release

There were some subscribers to the General List who have expressed concerns about a press release that was distributed to the media on September 3. As mentioned in an announcement on September 16, the release was withdrawn from the CIA website and scheduled to be discussed at the Board meeting on September 30. The Board had a good discussion about the process followed, the application of related bylaws and policies, and the timing of the release. The key results were that the Board agreed that the process for reviewing and issuing the release was consistent with the Board’s interpretation of applicable bylaws and policies and practices applied to previous communications tools such as press releases. The Board was also concerned about how the release was covered on Twitter. The Board also decided not to repost the release. For members who want to know more about the recent messages on the General List about press releases and Twitter, please see my announcement to all members on October 2. Please be assured that the Board takes—and I take—following due process very seriously and strives to do so in all of our activities.

Actuarial Standards Board Update

Actuarial Standards Board (ASB) chair Ty Faulds delivered the annual update on the work of the ASB to the Board. Ty told us that there are four priority areas this year:

  1. Standards for target benefit plans;
  2. Investment practice standards;
  3. Own risk solvency assessments for insurance companies; and 
  4. Consistency between practice-specific standards. 

Ty also mentioned some of the areas of concern for the ASB, such as the recognition of mortality improvement trends with a focus on consistency between pension and insurance standards, including pension and marriage breakdown commuted value standards, and evolving provincial developments in target benefit plans and continuing low interest rates. These factors and others have led to deterioration in the funded status of pension plans, and implications for aspects of insurance, post-employment benefits, and public personal injury compensation plan valuations. Ty also talked about the progress by the International Actuarial Association (IAA) on international standards of practice, both approved and those under development. Two of these standards of practice are in the risk management field, and he mentioned that the CIA’s Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) Applications Committee will be meeting with the ASB to discuss the possibility of developing practice-specific standards for ERM. As well, the ASB mentioned a few other areas where there are no practice-specific standards—actuarial work for public plans like the CPP, QPP, EI, public health care, and investment work. Finally, Ty updated the Board on project plans for general standards, insurance standards, pensions, and actuarial evidence.

Member Services Council (MSC) Update

Marie-Hélène Malenfant, the chair of the MSC, delivered the MSC’s annual report to the Board. Several members just completed their terms of service and six new members, including one young actuary, have been approved to join the MSC. A vice-chair will be named shortly. Marie- Hélène reviewed some of the documents that have been published over the year. A new policy on the due process for all research documents was recently passed by the Practice Council, Research Committee (ResCo) and the MSC. This new policy will cover every type of research document and will reinforce the approval process substantially. As I mentioned earlier, ResCo, and the MSC will be looking at the development of checklists for documents not included in the new Policy on Due Process for the Approval of Research Reports. In addition, the MSC has launched a project to review, update, and in some cases, create the due process for publishing and issuing specific CIA documents, including press releases and tweets.

The Public Policy Committee has been busy since its creation last year, having approved and published 15 submissions and public positions.

The MSC approved the creation of a Committee on Predictive Modelling, an Academic Research Subcommittee under ResCo, and the mandate for the Volunteer Management and Development Committee, which will incorporate the work of the Volunteer Initiatives Committee. The Volunteer Management and Development Committee assumes responsibility for the important work of managing this critical resource for the profession.

The CIA will submit an expression of interest to the IAA about holding the 2026 International Congress of Actuaries in Canada. The Board has selected Jason Vary to chair the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the event. Jason has been a pension actuary for over 15 years, and is an active volunteer with the CIA. Jason was the Chair of the CIA’s Eligibility and Education Council, and is currently on the Public Positions Committee. The full bid is due by February 1, 2016.

The next Board meeting will be held on November 26 and there are many items that will move ahead in the meantime, including reaching out to you, the members, for input on the strategic plan. I look forward to hearing from you on the plan and to our next update on current issues.

Rob Stapleford, FCIA, is President of the Canadian Institute of Actuaries.

In Focus

By Marie-Hélène Malenfant, FCIA

As Chair of the Member Services Council (MSC), I often have to answer the question: What is the MSC’s role in the CIA? This article is the perfect chance to present the work of the MSC—10 very dedicated council members who come from different practice areas with different profiles. This is a good thing, as the work we do for the profession is very diverse and challenging.

There are 14 committees and two task forces under the MSC, namely the following (note that you must be logged in with your CIA member account to view the committee pages):


Task Forces

Members can see the variety of issues being worked on, with the focus on communications, volunteering, emerging practices, and research. Let me talk about them, beginning with communications.


The Communications Committee works on surveys of the Member Listening Group and advises the Communications Department on communication issues. Since its appointment, the Public Positions Committee has been very active and has published 15 submissions/public positions on several subjects, including Québec’s Bill 57 (which tackles defined benefit pension plan funding), the Alberta consultation on payday loans, and the CIA submission on the International Actuarial Association (IAA) Education Syllabus.

The Editorial Panel is responsible for the oversight of all aspects of publishing the quarterly electronic periodical Seeing Beyond Risk, which is distributed to every member of the Senate, territorial, provincial and federal legislatures, business and government decision-makers, and the media.


The newly named Volunteer Management and Development Committee (VMDC) has an extended mandate to promote and coordinate volunteer initiatives. Also, the VMDC plans to develop tools to identify volunteers with greater leadership skills and to help them improve those skills. The objective is to offer an enjoyable and rewarding volunteer experience to our increasing number of volunteers. In 2010, the work of the CIA was made possible by the involvement of 340 volunteers. In 2015, we have 586, and the year is not yet done. At the moment, there are 230 members signed up on the Volunteer Applicant Registry. The role of the VMDC is critical, since volunteers are the lifeline of the CIA. For example, there are currently 94 volunteers involved in the work of the Research Committee alone. Finally, the New Members Committee will survey new CIA members in the next few weeks to get feedback on how to interest them in volunteering and how the CIA can help their personal and professional development.

Emerging Practices

Recently, a new Committee on Predictive Modelling has been created. This is an emerging practice in the United States and in the property and casualty business, and we expect that it will expand to other practice areas in Canada.

The Climate Change and Sustainability Committee is also part of the MSC. This committee is planning its second full-day forum for the spring and is developing a webcast. It is also working on a follow-up paper to the Climate Change and Resource Sustainability – An Overview for Actuaries research paper, published at the end of August and which has been well-discussed on the listservers. As well, the committee is now responsible for the CIA’s participation in the Actuaries Climate Index, in partnership with the American Academy of Actuaries, the Casualty Actuarial Society, and the Society of Actuaries.


The Research Committee is now made up of nine subcommittees. These subcommittees are busy identifying potential research topics of interest to the various areas of actuarial practice. The MSC, the Practice Council, and the Research Committee have recently approved and published a new revised Policy on Due Process for the Approval of Research Reports which recognizes that such reports can originate from any committee or council of the CIA. It provides clear guidance to research subcommittee members as they move through the many steps in the completion of a research project. We expect to improve it to cover the approval process of most types of publications. It is important, since one of the strategic objectives of the CIA is to be recognized as a credible and respected source of advice related to financial consequences of future contingent events.

Task Forces

Two task forces complete the MSC. One of them, the Task Force on Mortality Improvement, will soon publish a long-awaited qualitative report on a best estimate assumption of the general population and on adjustments, if any, for different segments of the population.

In summary, 25 committees, subcommittees, and task forces funnel into the MSC. These are staffed by over 250 volunteer actuaries forming a very strong team. Together we create, deliver, and maintain a high level of valuable services for members, students, and the public. We work for you, for the actuarial profession, and for the future. And we’re proud of it.

If you have any questions or comments to make on the work of the MSC or if you are interested in joining us, do not hesitate to contact me, Marie-Hélène Malenfant at

Marie-Hélène Malenfant is Chair of the Member Services Council.

Actuaries on the Move

Benoit Brière has been appointed director, supervision of the Private Pension Plans Division of the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions.

Jean-François Chalifoux has been appointed CEO of SSQ Financial Group.

Catherine Jacques-Brissette has been named corporate responsibility and environment specialist at BCE. She will be responsible for elaborating a greenhouse gas emissions reduction strategy for the company and measuring its progress. She will also coordinate extended producer responsibility programs for electronic waste, paper, and packaging.

Clare Pitcher had an opinion piece on New Brunswick’s shared-risk plan model in Benefits Canada.

CIA Fellow Fred Vettese continued his series on retirement in the National Post with an article on retirement income planning.

Special Presentation

At the recent International Actuarial Association (IAA) meeting in Vancouver, Kikuo Asano (l), President of The Institute of Actuaries of Japan, presented a gift to CIA President Rob Stapleford (r), commemorating the CIA’s 50th anniversary.

Networking is a key part of any successful professional's career, and the CIA is offering you a fresh opportunity to inform your peers about your achievements and progress.

Our (e)Bulletin section, Actuaries on the Move, is a chance for you to publicize your new job, title, credentials, or other information. This is an opportunity to tell thousands of fellow actuarial professionals—whether they are ex-colleagues, former college friends, potential employers, future clients, etc.—about, for example:

  • Your new job;
  • A change of title or area of responsibility;
  • Your new qualifications;
  • A change of contact details;
  • Awards or other recognition; or
  • Publication of academic papers or articles.

Simply send an e-mail—one line of information can be enough, but feel free to add more if you so wish—to the CIA's English editor at and we will aim to include it in the next issue of the (e)Bulletin.

For more news of CIA members and their activities, follow the CIA on Twitter.

Public Affairs Corner

By Elliot Hughes, MBA

Welcome to Public Affairs Corner, a new feature of the CIA’s revamped (e)Bulletin. Published quarterly, the goal of this update is to keep CIA members up to speed on the various public affairs activities undertaken by the CIA. And since this is the first time trying something like this I’m keen to hear what you think I have right, what I have wrong, and what I could improve. So please e-mail me your thoughts at I’m looking forward to hearing from you.

As some might have heard, the longest modern-day federal election campaign came to a close on Monday, October 19. Somewhat unexpectedly, the Liberal Party of Canada was elected with a solid majority with a mandate for change. But with an ambitious agenda (i.e., infrastructure spending, democratic reform, and climate change), an engaged electorate (high turnout, new voters), and a resilient Conservative opposition, Prime Minister-designate Trudeau will have his hands full.

Two files in particular will have us monitoring federal activity quite closely. First, the Liberal Party’s campaign commitment to "provide Canadians with a more secure retirement" is a topic of importance to actuaries. While the CIA welcomes the change in tone around the federal government working with the provinces and territories on this critical file, the devil, as they say, is in the details. Second, the Liberals made significant commitments to address the challenges faced in the health care space. Negotiating a new Health Accord, investing $3 billion in home care services, and developing a "pan-Canadian collaboration on health innovation", are just a few of the promises a Trudeau government will have to keep. It goes without saying, the CIA will have plenty to say about these and many other government undertakings.

Fortunately, the CIA is well-positioned to be part of the expected public policy debates after the Board re-confirmed its desire to take an active and engaged position on public policy. This commitment came about after a good discussion at the Board level where it was reiterated that any contribution would be done thoughtfully and only when relevant.

This type of approach and engagement broadly reflects the results of a recent impression audit commissioned by the CIA. An impression audit, or perception audit, is a form of qualitative research designed to understand the profile and impact of one’s business and profession, and explore possible future directions. Working closely with the renowned strategy and research firm Greenberg Quinlan Rosner, the CIA was able to do the following:

  • Assess the current profile and image of actuaries and the CIA;
  • Explore drivers of perceptions – visibility and personal experience;
  • Assess current CIA engagement with its issue agenda – tone, voice, and value;
  • Identify future directions and openings for engagement; and
  • Explore potential involvement with relevant policy issues.

Needless to say, the results are fascinating and will provide the Board with much to consider. If you’re keen to learn more about the results, stay tuned for details on an upcoming webcast.

Finally, while we may have put the brakes on face-to-face engagement with the federal government during the election, the number of meetings with the provinces on a variety of files continued. These included the following:

  • Witnesses to the Québec government’s public hearing on Bill 57, An Act to amend the Supplemental Pension Plans Act, mainly with respect to the funding of defined benefit pension plans. Watch the video.
  • Ontario’s Office of the Deputy Premier and President of the Treasury Board to discuss the announcement on the creation of the Centre of Excellence for Evidence-Based Decision Making Support.
  • The government of Ontario’s Broader Public Sector Pensions Branch to discuss elements of the CIA’s submission to the Ontario Ministry of Finance on its Proposed Criteria for Exempting New Broader Public Sector (BPS) Multi-Employer JSPPs from Solvency Funding Requirements.
  • Participating in a round-table discussion on a Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO)/Financial Services Tribunal (FST)/Deposit Insurance Corporation of Ontario (DICO) mandate review, on the back of a well-received written submission from the CIA.
  • Several productive meetings with Minister Hunter and officials from the Ontario Retirement Pension Plan (ORPP) Implementation Secretariat.

It’s been a busy few months for public affairs and the CIA, though the expectation is that there’s much more in store. Watch this space.

That wraps up this edition, but as I mentioned at the start, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me at any time, on any issue, by e-mailing I appreciate your taking the time to read this update and look forward to engaging with you in the future.

Elliot Hughes, MBA, is public affairs manager at the CIA Head Office.

Insight Decision Solutions
Institute News


By Joseph Gabriel, FCIA

My tenure as staff actuary, education for the CIA is approaching the two-year mark, and it has been a tremendous experience so far. The University Accreditation Program (UAP) is one of the main projects I work on, and in my January 2015 article, I emphasized that thoroughness is the foundation of the program. UAP provides students with the option of receiving credit from the CIA for some preliminary examinations of the Society of Actuaries (SOA), based on achieving the required grade in each accredited university course, as set by the CIA.

Rigorous Objectives

When the program was developed in 2011 and launched in universities for September 2012, the governing policy and objectives were quite rigorous and called for a full program review at the three-year mark to evaluate whether the objectives of UAP were being met. This first principles review was undertaken by four subcommittees of the Accreditation Committee, which focused on the following areas: awareness and promotion, policy and objectives, and monitoring and administration. The fourth group merged the work of the three subcommittees and drafted the report on the findings and recommendations that has been presented in final version to the CIA Education and Eligibility Council.

As an actuary, I often remind myself of a famous quote by Sherlock Holmes from A Scandal in Bohemia: "It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data." I had the pleasure of leading the Monitoring and Administration Subcommittee, which collected, analyzed, and reported on one of the most important elements that could help theorize on UAP: data.

Data Collection and Analysis

Data collection and analysis is an integral part of the constant monitoring of UAP. Data is gathered each term for each accredited course at every university. Information such as the number of students registered, the number of students who completed the course, the number of students who achieved the required credit grade set by the CIA, and the overall course average grades are gathered. Prepared by the course instructor, the information is first certified by the accreditation actuary (a Fellow in each university who liaises with the university and the CIA), and subsequently validated each year through the external examiner process.

This data collection serves several purposes: to verify student grades, to monitor UAP credit grade achievement by the candidates across universities, to compare predicted versus actual proportions of candidates attaining the credit grades for each university course, and to compare these proportions to corresponding professional exam passing rates. The data also enables the CIA to estimate the utilization of UAP credit versus the potential number of credits that could have been requested over the analyzed three-year period. This was challenging, as individual candidate data is not available to depict an exact representation. Instead, we used a model to produce estimates of the UAP utilization and of the actual proportion of candidates achieving exam credit grade, considering that up to four university courses are required to qualify for a single exam credit. In total, broad data on more than 300 accredited university courses were collected as part of the analysis.

How Many Students Achieve the Required Grade?

For each professional exam, by academic year and university, we took the lowest percentage of all courses used in the credit requirement for the exam to calculate an estimate of the percentage of students meeting the credit grade. Note that this minimal percentage represents an upper bound of the actual value. We used the same approach to estimate the potential number of students meeting the requirement for credit.

We found that on average, the proportion of students achieving the required credit grade was 45 percent for a single accredited university course, which was in line with the CIA’s preliminary estimate of 46 percent.

One key design feature of UAP is that candidates must meet the grade set by the CIA for each course mapped to a particular SOA exam. Given that up to four university courses are required to qualify for a single exam credit, this feature resulted in an overall average of 37 percent of candidates meeting the requirement per exam. Compared with the corresponding professional exams, the SOA and Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS) average overall passing percentage during the same period for the same exams was approximately 46 percent. Statistically speaking, the data reveals that, on average, the proportion of candidates achieving the credit requirements under UAP is lower than the proportion of candidates passing the exams. This is one of the most significant conclusions of the data review: contrary to some opinions, exam credits under UAP are difficult to achieve.

This conclusion also confirmed the appropriateness of the required grades for each accredited course: given that the proportion of students meeting the required grade per course is generally well aligned with initial CIA estimates, and that average proportions achieving credit requirements compares well with professional exam average pass rates, there is no evidence suggesting that the required grades should be adjusted at this time; however, the CIA will continue to closely monitor these results.

We also conducted an analysis of the actual grades for the candidates who received exam credits from the CIA, by comparing their grades for each accredited course against the grade requirement to receive credit. On average, UAP candidates exceed the requirement by about 9 percentage points, which suggests that UAP candidates, on average, not only meet the minimal requirements, but exceed them by a fair margin, attesting to the quality of their academic profile.

UAP: an Evolution in Canadian Actuarial Education

As UAP is a young program marking the evolution of actuarial education in Canada, the utilization of the program by candidates would no doubt represent an insightful element to analyze. To date, the program has granted over 200 exam credits. A classic back-of-the-envelope rough estimate based on average course size, proportion at credit grade per exam, number of universities, and possible number of credits per cohort of candidates, yielded a utilization rate of about 10 percent. The more refined estimate, based on the method briefly described above, ended up being 7.3 percent. In simple terms, granted credits under the CIA UAP could have been about fourteen times what they were. This utilization may seem low; however, the following thoughts may provide insight on these results.

First, UAP is a brand-new program; it has existed only since September 2012. Second, a usage rate in the vicinity of 10 percent after such a short period is encouraging, considering that actuarial qualification in the U.S. and Canada has strictly been exam based for over a century—it can be a challenge to change perceptions. And last but not least, candidates who feel that they need to pursue SOA credentials opt to follow the traditional examination route and forego applying for credit from the CIA.

Fortunately, the American Academy of Actuaries (AAA) does recognize the FCIA obtained through UAP for the purposes of achieving the Member of the American Academy of Actuaries (MAAA) designation which is required to practice as an actuary in the U.S. And candidates pursuing a P&C career also have their UAP credits recognized by the CAS towards the Associate of the Casualty Actuarial Society (ACAS) and Fellow of the Casualty Actuarial Society (FCAS) designations. The UK Institute and Faculty of Actuaries and the Actuaries Institute of Australia also accept the CIA UAP credits through mutual recognition agreements at the associate and fellowship levels. Therefore, there are many viable options for UAP candidates who wish to hold more than one actuarial designation.

But beyond numbers and statistics, proportions of candidates passing exams or qualifying for credits, the first and foremost objective of UAP is achieving excellence and maintaining the highest standards in actuarial education. Actuarial education in universities is constantly evolving, incorporating cutting-edge methods and technology such as case study computer-based individual examinations. The CIA UAP exposes candidates to the latest developments and innovations in actuarial education, which can only represent a strong advantage for the candidates and their future employers.

Through its first principles review and the external examiner findings each year, the CIA is confident that UAP is producing quality candidates, and is encouraged by the use of the program given its short existence. With data supporting these findings, as per our friend Sherlock Holmes, it is safe to theorize that UAP is established on solid ground and well on track for advancing the highest standards in actuarial education.

Joseph Gabriel, FCIA, is staff actuary, education, at the CIA Head Office.


The Research Committee has launched the bilingual Research Forum where CIA members can share their thoughts and suggestions on potential research topics.

As part of the CIA’s goal to promote and fund relevant research, the Research Committee undertakes numerous research projects each year. The committee’s current projects include the following:

  • Flood insurance research project;
  • Ontario accident benefits long term disability research project;
  • Long-term health care trends resource model;
  • Segregated funds lapse study; and
  • Role of country risk officer.

The research forum is a great opportunity to become involved in research initiatives and to play a part in where the research budget is allocated. The forum has several threads on different research topics including academic research, annuities, enterprise risk management, group life and health insurance, and many more.

The forum is bilingual: all postings are saved and displayed in the language in which they are posted, regardless of whether they appear on the English or French version of the CIA website.

This user-friendly forum is accessible to CIA members and the public, but only those with a valid CIA member account may login to post or open a new discussion thread. If you are not logged in, you will be able to view the messages posted, but you will receive an error message if you try to post.


Andrew Roden

Former CIA Head Office staff member Andrew Roden passed away, after battling cancer, on October 16, 2015. Andrew worked at the CIA as a systems and web administrator from 2007–2008.

Events News

The 2015 Pension and Investment Seminars are fast approaching.

On November 5, actuaries will gather in Toronto for the Pension Seminar to receive updates about the Committee on Pension Plan Financial Reporting (PPFRC), Society of Actuaries (SOA) research, the Actuarial Standards Board (ASB), and recent pension legislation in British Columbia. Speakers include Mathew Greenwald, president and chief executive officer at Greenwald & Associates, and Doug Chandler, Canadian retirement research actuary at the SOA. CIA President Rob Stapleford will also provide attendees with an update on the CIA’s pension position.

The luncheon guest speaker is six-time Canadian champion, world and Olympic figure skating medallist Joannie Rochette, who will tell the inspiring story of her rise to global success in figure skating and the obstacles she had to overcome.

The next day, November 6, at the Investment Seminar, Tanya Svidler from ESG Indexes joins Murray Gold from Koskie Minsky to talk about why climate change is becoming an essential consideration of portfolio management. Carl Bang, from Sun Life Investment Management, joins the panel with François Bourdon (FCIA) from Fiera Capital and Andrew Spence from Scotia Institutional Asset Management, to discuss investment strategies and asset liability management (ALM) in the current market environment. Other sessions feature discussions about liquid alternatives and insurance-linked securities, and financial markets and the world economy.

Online registration for both seminars closes at the end of this month; however registration for the Pension Seminar and the Investment Seminar will be available on-site at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.

On December 3, the English-language Professionalism Workshop takes place in Toronto. The workshop is a 3/4-day session that makes extensive use of the case study method. The workshop is a requirement to become an Associate of the CIA (ACIA) and for property and casualty candidates applying for Fellowship in the CIA, unless they have attended the Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS) Professionalism Course offered in Canada. Some of the topics the workshop covers include the following:

  • What is a professional;
  • The CIA structure;
  • The CIA's views on professionalism;
  • The CIA's discipline process; and
  • Malpractice and legal liability.

Dates for 2016 will be announced soon.

For more information, click CIA Professionalism Workshop.

Social Media and the CIA

By Bonnie Robinson

Communication is the lifeblood of any organization. Whether you are selling products, offering services, educating people or seeking feedback, an organization needs its messages to reach its target audiences. This is especially true of the CIA, which keeps its members informed about important issues that affect the actuarial profession, and provides a way for those members to engage in conversation and contribute to the maintenance and development of actuarial standards and professionalism.

New technologies provide more options, and more challenges, for communicating with others. To engage with members, future members, and the public, the CIA not only communicates via e-mail and its robust website, it also uses four social media platforms:

"Social media is a way to reach a wider audience that we can’t reach outside of our membership," says Kelly Fry, CIA manager, marketing. "It’s a cost-effective way to reach these people."

According to a 2015 Forum Research study on social media usage, 59 percent of Canadians use Facebook, 25 percent use Twitter, and 30 percent used LinkedIn. These numbers are often higher among young users, aged 18–34.

For many associations, reaching a younger audience is also key, particularly to attract new members. "There is a need to keep up with mainstream marketing practices in order to be viewed as relevant to current and future actuarial students," says Fry. "It’s important for students and younger actuaries to know we are a progressive organization and that we will use the latest tools and can meet their communication needs."

Siddhesh Pawar, president of the Actuarial Students’ National Association (ASNA), agrees. "The CIA definitely should engage with young actuaries, and especially aspiring actuaries, to connect with them on a platform they use on a daily basis," he says. "It is extremely important for the younger population in the actuarial industry to have a lot of information relayed through social media platforms." He notes that the Society of Actuaries (SOA) has a massive presence on Facebook and Twitter. "I get almost all of the updates from SOA through my Facebook wall feed."

Pawar believes that 100 percent of ASNA’s members and followers on social media use those platforms for information and resources on their chosen career. ASNA constantly posts information, and writes articles and blogs on trending topics in the industry. It also shares articles and links from organizations like the CIA, the SOA, and other actuarial organizations. "Social media is a very powerful channel for our team here," he adds. "We strive hard every single day to connect with each and every member of our organization to keep them engaged with us."


Facebook is still the most popular online social networking site, with 59 percent of Canadians using it. Notably, among youth (ages 18–34), that number is 75 percent. Facebook users create a profile where they can post messages of any length on their profile page, and share photos, videos, and links to websites. When other users like and follow an organization’s Facebook page, they may choose to receive notifications whenever that organization posts new information.

At the 2014 ASNA convention, Fry discovered that the majority of students she spoke with are on Facebook and do follow companies of interest. "If we want to reach students who might want to know about the actuarial profession, we go to Facebook," she says. "We want to make sure we are in that same space, so that students know to come to us when they are ready to become an Associate."

Pawar agrees. "I personally use Facebook only once or twice a day because I find it too addictive sometimes. I prefer my information to be sent to me on paper or by e-mail," he says. "But if we happen to conduct a survey today, the probability of students/young actuaries who check their e-mails or the CIA website will be five times lower than the probability of them checking their social media accounts."


Twitter allows users to send and read short, 140-character messages called tweets. Messages may include announcements, links to articles, personal thoughts, or photographs, as long as the message stays within the 140-character limit. Users follow and are followed by others, quickly sharing information and engaging in conversations on a wide-range of topics. Twitter is most popular among young users (36 percent).

For many businesses, including professional membership organizations like the CIA, Twitter is a way to develop one’s branding and stay visible. The CIA uses Twitter to keep members informed of industry trends/reports and CIA events. It also helps to reach employers, policy makers, and the general public to educate them on the actuarial field and highlight the benefits of working with actuaries. "Twitter helps to build our presence and grow awareness of the CIA and actuaries," says Fry. "It is also a great way to keep track of the discussions taking place around actuarial areas of expertise. It is interesting to follow conversations that are taking place around a specific #hashtag, like #pension or #CPP, for example."

The use of Twitter, with its brief, sometimes cryptic messages, may be at odds with a profession known for being methodical and thorough. However, this is not necessarily the case. Many actuaries are embracing the Twitter platform.

Until a few months ago, CIA Fellow Norman Dreger, partner, international consulting group leader Central Europe at Mercer, wasn’t even on Twitter. "I’m 38-years-old. I’m firmly in Generation X. I thought I needed it like a fish needs a bike," he says. "But that’s how young people communicate. You can either stick your head in the sand, or you can embrace it."

Dreger explains that the marketing department in his office approached him to start tweeting. "Consulting is a pretty traditional field. In the past we’ve used traditional forms of communication," he says. "We need to get with the times and take a modern approach. I’ve been loving it ever since."

Dreger uses Twitter for job postings, to keep track of developments in the field, and to share intellectual capital with the market, always with a personal touch. He follows movers and shakers in the industry who are posting, as well as clients, prospects, and competitors. "Even over the last few months, I have seen such a positive impact," he says. "It’s fast-paced, but very easy to use. Even a Gen Xer like me can figure it out."

CIA Fellow Houston Cheng, consulting actuary and senior manager at KPMG, has distinct personal guidelines for how he uses social media. Although he restricts Facebook to family and friends, he uses LinkedIn and Twitter professionally, mainly as networking tools. "I don’t produce content," he acknowledges. "I do read and share posts from others, including promoting events I am attending. I also use Twitter for information. Sometimes it’s faster than regular news."


LinkedIn is a business-focused social networking site where users share resumes, network with other professionals, discover business opportunities, search for jobs, and take part in professional development. Aimed at those already settled into or on the cusp of their careers, it is the one social media site where usage rates are higher among 30- to 49-year olds (32 percent) and those 50–64 (26 percent) than 18–29-year olds (22 percent).

"It’s the right place to find young graduates or people early in their career," says Dreger. "It’s like a walking CV. You get insight into who has visited the page. Are they well connected, do they have publications?"

The CIA currently uses LinkedIn to share upcoming CIA events, news and information of interest to actuaries, and the link to the CIA actuarial jobs bank. In the future, the CIA may add a discussion forum.


YouTube is a video-sharing website. Although less prevalent as a business tool, YouTube can still be an effective platform for communicating with the members of an organization. The CIA has its own YouTube channel where it shares video content including a regular message from the President, updates from the Board, educational talks from Enterprise Risk Management specialists, and clips from events (CIA Annual Meeting, Actuarial Standards Oversight Council meeting, etc.).

Fry encourages CIA members to explore its various social media offerings. While they do not replace traditional methods of communication, they do provide a quick way to find out what the Institute and its members are doing, engage in conversation about areas of interest to the profession, and to reach out to the next generation of actuaries.

 Like us on Facebook.

 Follow us on Twitter.

 Connect with us on LinkedIn

  Subscribe to our YouTube channel.

Bonnie Robinson is the English editor at the CIA Head Office.

Thoughts for Today—and Tomorrow


By Jacques Tremblay, FCIA
CIA Immediate Past President

These tips have served me well over the years. I hope they will help you as well. Good luck!

  1. Be passionate. A passionate commitment to your career and personal objectives makes all the difference. Stay focused on being the best at what you do.

  2. Be tenacious. Never give up. You will be amazed at what you can achieve by tenaciously sticking to it.

  3. Listen, listen, and listen. Remember to listen more and talk less. You’ll be surprised at the obstacles a listening culture can overcome.

  4. Communicate, collaborate, and communicate some more. Open work environments that invite intermingling and the sharing of ideas are the best.

  5. Have fun, and make sure that your colleagues are enjoying themselves too. Fun is one of the most important components of any successful career or business. If your colleagues are engaged and having fun they will enjoy their work more and do a better job.

  6. The formula for business excellence is (talent + culture + customer focus) x disciplined execution = business excellence.

  7. The quality of the people that you can get, grow, and keep on your team will determine the success of your business. With top talent that is loyal, engaged, and excited about working for your company, you have a huge market advantage.

  8. Hire people who look for the best in others, who lavish more praise than they dole out criticism, and who genuinely love what they do.

  9. Delegate. The art of delegation is one of the key skills you must master. Hire to your weaknesses. Bring on people who can do the tasks you aren’t particularly good at.

  10. Culture equals success. You need to create a culture with high levels of both personal and mutual accountability.

  11. As a business, you have to create, strategize, and implement better than anyone you compete against in the marketplace. As an individual, this also means that you have to continuously improve every single day. Worry constantly about being better than you were yesterday and about absolutely delighting your customers.

  12. Flawless, disciplined execution. If you want to build a successful career and business, you must deliver flawlessly, every single time for every single customer.

Jacques Tremblay, FCIA, is the CIA’s Immediate Past President.

Spotlight on New Fellows

   Nirmala Veerappen 

1. Why did you become an actuary?

I’ve always enjoyed math and problem-solving, and wanted to pursue a career in business. I liked the fact that actuaries could influence important strategic decisions made by companies and governments and also have a positive impact on the financial security of the public.

2. Who inspired you to pursue an actuarial career?

I met an actuary when I was in high school, who explained that actuaries can work in specialist areas of insurance, pensions, benefits, health care, and investments, and play a critical role in managing risk. The idea of combining math and statistical knowledge with business acumen really attracted me to the field.

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

After getting my ASA (Associate of the Society of Actuaries), I took a break from exams. Getting back into writing exams was pretty challenging, but I’m glad that I persisted. It had a lot more to do with confidence and focus than I had originally realized.

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

I missed the free time and flexibility of student life. You’ve got to enjoy it while you have it!

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

I’m currently working in the risk management area of RGA’s global financial solutions division out of the Toronto office. I manage a team that is responsible for the risk and inforce management of the RGA’s longevity and structured finance transactions.

6. What do you enjoy most about your job?

I enjoy the diversity of my role. Managing a block of business from a risk and financial perspective, where each transaction is complex and unique, has challenged me to continue to learn, and provided an opportunity to develop new processes and analyses. I also enjoy the communication aspects of the role, whether it’s in coaching staff or the regular interactions I have with RGA local offices around the world.

7. What are your short-term career ambitions?

In the short-term, I’d like to continue to develop my newly formed team as well as deepen my knowledge with respect to longevity risk.

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

I’m still pretty open to the possibilities. I think I’ll be happy as long as I continue to learn and develop my skill set. I also think it would be a great experience to serve on the board of a small organization or charity someday, as it will allow me to apply my knowledge and skills in a broader context.

9. What has been your involvement with the CIA since obtaining your FCIA designation?

In 2013, I joined the CIA Editorial Panel as Vice-chair, where I contributed to the development and launch of the quarterly e-publication series called Seeing Beyond Risk, and then earlier this year, I assumed the Chair position. I found both roles to be very rewarding and have learned a lot.

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

It may seem like an unlikely pairing, but I’ve always been passionate about fashion, and had seriously considered a career as a fashion designer. But my passion is really more about design, so I could have easily chosen to be an architect as well.

11. What are your hobbies?

I enjoy being active and outdoors, so hiking, kayaking, and SUP (stand-up paddle) boarding. I also enjoy doing projects at the cottage. Finally, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention shopping!

12. Where is your dream vacation destination?

I love travelling, so it’s tough to choose. A few years ago, I hiked through the Andes to Machu Picchu, and would have loved to go to the Galápagos Islands as well, but I didn’t have enough time. I’d like to go back and see the Galápagos Islands someday. That said, I’d also love to go to the Polynesian islands, Norwegian fjords, or sail from country to country in the Mediterranean . . . there’s just so much to see!

13. What is your motto?

"In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity." – Albert Einstein

Nirmala Veerappen is assistant vice-president and actuary, risk management, global financial solutions at RGA.

If you would like to be featured in Spotlight on New Fellows, please contact CIA English editor Bonnie Robinson at
Volunteers on the Move


The membership of the following councils, panel, and committees for 2015–2016 has been approved, effective immediately unless otherwise indicated:

  • Eligibility and Education (EEC): Kim Young, effective July 1, 2015;
  • Member Services Council (MSC): Yeh Ching Seto, Neil Duffy, Stephen Cheng, Peter Douglas, and Ralph Ovsec, effective September 30, 2015;
  • IAA Education Committee: Isabelle Larouche’s term as CIA delegate has been extended to December 31, 2017; and
  • Elections Committee: Simon Curtis (Chair).

The Task Force on the 50th Anniversary has been disbanded with thanks.

Eligibility and Education Council

The following people have been (re-)appointed to the (sub)committees named below, effective immediately unless otherwise indicated:

  • Continuing Education (CEC): Mayur Shah, retroactive to July 1, 2015;
  • Subcommittees of the CEC:
    • Reinsurance Subcommittee: Mayur Shah (Chair), retroactive to July 1, 2015, Emile Elefteriadis, retroactive to October 1, 2015;
    • Individual Life & Health Subcommittee: Debbie Chiu, Helen (Yiru) Chen, retroactive to October 1, 2015;
    • Corporate Life & Health Subcommittee: Carol Murphy, retroactive to September 2014, Rachel (Ruohan) Li, retroactive to October 1, 2015;
    • Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) Subcommittee: Ngoc Thi Bich (Vy) Le, Jing (Nancy) Ning;
    • General Business and Professionalism: Emile Elefteriadis (Chair), effective October 1, 2015;
  • Task Force to Review the Merits of Program Accreditation: Mary Hardy, Denis Latulippe, both retroactive to August 18, 2015, and Amy R. Waldhauer (observer for the CAS);
  • Exam 6 Canada Syllabus Committee: Brian Choi, retroactive to August 1, 2015;
  • Individual Life and Annuities (ILA) Subcommittee of the Practice Education Course Committee (PEC): Khalid Sadequin; and
  • Accreditation Committee: Amy R. Waldhauer (observer for the CAS).

The following people have completed their terms with, or resigned from, the groups named below, and have left with thanks:

  • Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) Subcommittee of the CEC: Jay Zhong, Jianhua (Jeanna) Li; 
  • Academic Relations Committee: José Garrido; and
  • Individual Life & Health Sub-committee of the CEC: Emile Elefteriadis.

Practice Council

The following people have been appointed to the positions named below, effective immediately unless otherwise indicated:

  • Regulatory Representative of the Committee on Risk Management and Capital Requirements: Richard Xu (OSFI);
  • Committee on Pension Plan Financial Reporting: Simon Nelson (Chair) and Mark Mervyn (Vice-chair), effective August 1, 2015, Jared Mickall, effective May 1, 2015;
  • Committee on Investment Practice: Sheldon Liu, Daniel Klein, Emily Zhang, Martin Bélanger, François Bourdon, and Benny Wan;
  • Regulatory Representative of the Committee on Life Insurance Financial Reporting: Karine Royer;
  • Committee on the Appointed/Valuation Actuary: Azmina Jiwani (Vice-chair); and
  • Committee on Workers’ Compensation: Crispina Caballero (Chair), effective October 15, 2015, Mark Simpson, effective June 30, 2015.

The following people have completed their terms with, or resigned from, the groups named below, and have left with thanks:

  • Committee on Risk Management and Capital Requirements: Andrea Sherry, Sylvain Veilleux, Kathryn Hyland, Jaspal Bhatia, Jeffrey Muller, and Jean-Guy Lapointe;
  • Committee on Investment Practice: Martin Leroux, Christopher Brisebois, Tim Cavallin, Eric Fontaine, Jonathan Lapointe, Ivy Lee, and Sunyung Oh, effective May 1, 2015;
  • Committee on Life Insurance Financial Reporting: Michael Correa, Lynda Jeffs (August 2014), Stéphane Lévesque (December 2014), Stephen MacCharles (May 2014), Michael Palmer (December 2014), and Catherine Tremblay; and
  • Committee on Workers’ Compensation: Stan Warawa (Chair), Thane MacKay, and Carol Doyle, effective October 15, 2015.

Member Services Council

The following people have been (re-)appointed to the (sub)committees named below:

  • Volunteer Management and Development Committee: Sharon Giffen, effective June 23, 2015;
  • Enterprise Risk Management Applications Committee: Danielle Harrison (Vice-chair), effective July 27, 2015, Kim Girard, Kathy Thompson, both effective June 23, 2015, Diane Gosselin, effective July 30, 2015;
  • Pension Advisory Committee: Serge Charbonneau, Ian Edelist, Jason Vary, Rob Stapleford, and Malcolm Hamilton, all effective July 28, 2015;
  • Research Committee: Faizel Alladina (Chair), effective September 8, 2015, Denis Latulippe, effective May 13, 2015, Keith Walter, effective July 6, 2015;
    • Academic Research Subcommittee: Alexandre Badescu, Yi Lu, both effective July 1st, 2015, Bruce Jones, Chengguo Weng, and José Garrido, all effective August 1, 2015;
    • Individual Living Benefits Experience Subcommittee: Sonya Koo, effective July 6, 2015, Brett Meade, effective September 8, 2015;
    • Group Life and Health Experience Subcommittee: Keith Walter (Chair), effective July 6, 2015, Frank Reynolds (Vice-chair), effective July 6, 2015, Kamran Quavi, effective July 6, 2015, Pierre-Philippe Carle-Mossdorf, September 8, 2015;
    • Individual Life Experience Subcommittee: Donna Mann-Campbell, effective August 1, 2015; and
    • Segregated Funds Experience Subcommittee: Francis Bergeron, effective September 17, 2015.

The following people have completed their terms with, or resigned from, the groups named below, and have left with thanks:

  • Individual Living Benefits Subcommittee: Debra Shelley, effective July 6, 2015;
  • Individual Life Experience Subcommittee: Mark Andrews;
  • Annuitant Experience Subcommittee: Lynn Allen and Catherine Bégin, effective July 1, 2015;
  • Pension Advisory Committee: Steve Bonnar and James Murta, effective July 28, 2015;
  • Research Committee: Dave Dickson, effective September 8, 2015, John Dark (Board liaison), effective August 13, 2015, Don Blue and Candice Hung, both effective July 6, 2015;
  • Group Life and Health Experience Subcommittee: Don Blue and Candice Hung (Co-chairs), both effective July 6, 2015;
  • Individual Living Benefits Experience Subcommittee: Todd Friesen, effective September 8, 2015;
  • Segregated Funds Experience Subcommittee: David Gershuni, effective December 31, 2014, Maxime Turgeon-Rhéaume, effective September 17, 2015; and
  • Enterprise Risk Management Applications Committee: Frank Reynolds, Sim Segal, Mark Struck, Ella Young, and Jay Zhong, effective September 24.

The Task Force on Target Benefit Plans has been disbanded with thanks.

The Task Force on Predictive Modelling, has been disbanded, with thanks. The members are transitioning into the newly formed Committee on Predictive Modelling, because of its ongoing objectives related to the Strategic Plan of the CIA, effective immediately.

Actuarial Standards Board

The following people have been appointed to the designated groups named below:

  • Designated Group on Pension Disclosure: Geoffrey Melbourne (Chair), replacing Tony Williams, effective October 7, 2015.

The Designated Group for Minor Revisions to the Standards of Practice to Comply with the Access for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) has been disbanded, with thanks.

The Designated Group for the Promulgation of Pension Mortality Tables has been disbanded, with thanks.

Head Office Update


By Alicia Rollo, CHRL

As the calendar year comes to an end, it’s natural to reflect on what we have accomplished over the past year and to look forward to what lies ahead for 2016. In the September (e)Bulletin, Angelita Graham, Chair of the Eligibility and Education Council (EEC), gave an update on many of this year’s activities, and mentioned a number of new initiatives for 2016. There is no shortage of projects keeping both CIA volunteers and Head Office staff busy.

Focus on Professionalism

One area of recent focus for the EEC is professionalism, which is driven by the Institute’s Guiding Principle #1—the protection of the public interest. This is the primary reason that the CIA has taken a more active role in recent years with respect to education, particularly given the major role it plays in the CIA’s qualification requirements. The CIA has the responsibility to ensure that our Associates (ACIAs) and Fellows (FCIAs) have the well-rounded knowledge, technical skills, and business acumen to be successful professionals who truly understand the importance of their role in society, and which gives them the foundation for success, either in a traditional actuarial career, or in new industries and areas of business.

One of the CIA’s operational goals is to define what it means to be a professional in the Canadian actuarial community. The EEC recently created a new Committee on Professionalism within the CIA, chaired by Kim Young, that continues to work on this goal through discussions with a variety of stakeholders, including experienced members, committees, councils, and the Board. The end vision from an education perspective is to have a professionalism framework for the CIA, which will help members at all career stages, and which encourages a lifelong commitment to learning and the enhancement of their roles as professionals. Training in and practical application of technical actuarial concepts, professionalism and ethics, and business acumen are vital components of the Institute’s qualification requirements for ACIAs and FCIAs, but of course learning does not stop with the achievement of a professional designation. Being a professional means a commitment to lifelong learning. The CIA is here to support members in that journey.

Professionalism and Ethics

At the recent International Actuarial Association (IAA) meeting in Vancouver, the CIA invited a guest speaker to address the President’s Forum, a gathering of the leadership of many IAA member associations. Diane Girard, PhD, a consultant in professional and business ethics, and professor of ethics at McGill, spoke passionately about professionalism and ethics in practice and the challenges for actuaries. She also reminded us of our duty to help members. Her comments resonated deeply with me, and I thought it would be useful to share some of them with you.

Girard opened with the statement that being recognized as a professional is a privilege. As actuarial professionals, you are trusted by the public for your knowledge and technical abilities, but the public expects more from a professional than from the average person. It’s not enough to be technically competent and it’s not just about abiding by the Rules of Professional Conduct or Standards of Practice. These are intended as minimum standards. In ethics, we must think about the impact of our decisions and how our actions will affect the public.

Balancing Shifting Needs

The public is generally accepted to mean society as a whole, rather than a specific interest group. But who is it really and how will our decisions impact it? As actuarial professionals, you regularly must balance the shifting needs and perspectives of a variety of stakeholders. Your employer, your client, regulators, and the end users/recipients of the product of your work are all important stakeholders—are there any others? Girard also reminded us about stakeholders of the future—those who perhaps aren’t part of the immediate picture, but who may be affected down the road. Has the impact on them been considered? A key question is: Who will suffer as a result of our decisions? Her answer seemed obvious—those who we did not consider. How do we ensure we take all interests into consideration? Do we use a systematic process for considering all stakeholders? How does one balance all of those needs with independence and objectivity? This is the essence of professionalism and how you will be ultimately judged as a professional.

Girard then broke the challenges faced by actuarial professionals into four main categories:

  • Pressures – does the professional actuary have sufficient autonomy?
  • Conflict of roles – where does the loyalty lie?
  • Conflicts of values – efficiency, profitability, competition, organizational success, personal success.
  • Fear of reprisals – is speaking up a career-limiting move?

Her final question still lingers with me: Are CIA members prepared to face and respond to these very human challenges?

Are CIA Members Prepared?

Yes, the CIA provides professionalism training as a requirement for new ACIAs, and yes, four hours of Professionalism Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is required every two years. Yes, we have established Rules of Professional Conduct and Standards of Practice, and a discipline system for dealing with transgressions, but are these just minimum standards?

What more can the CIA proactively do? How can we better equip members to deal with these very real challenges? These are the questions that we will continue to ask as we develop our professionalism framework. If you have thoughts about professionalism or ethics issues, or ideas for how the CIA can help you, we welcome them! Please direct suggestions, feedback, and comments to Alicia Rollo, the CIA’s director of membership, education, and professional development at

Alicia Rollo, CHRL, is the CIA’s director of membership, education, and professional development.