CIA (e)Bulletin/(e)Bulletin de l'ICA
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March 2016

New Administrative Tools from the Member Services Council

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By Marie-Hélène Malenfant, FCIA

In October, I provided an overview of the committees and task forces that the Member Services Council (MSC) oversees. This month, I’ll take a look at some interesting administrative tools that the MSC has developed over the last year to help make the work of the Institute and its volunteers more transparent and effective.

New Master Checklist for Research Reports

The idea to create a checklist to track the due process for the approval of research reports was brought up when the latest climate change research report was on the table. There was a lot of discussion around the due process of this document. Sometimes the development of a research report takes months or even years, making it even harder to follow what’s going on. Documents were coming to the MSC and it was difficult to know what had been done and how. It became imperative for MSC members to better follow the steps done before approving a paper, as some MSC members were not part of the council when the project started.

With help from Head Office staff, we developed the master checklist for research reports in support of the Policy on Due Process for the Approval of Research Reports. This checklist now accompanies each research project that is produced (research papers and reports, studies, etc.). For each research report, the communications manager at the Head Office is responsible for maintaining and completing the checklist, which is submitted along with the research report once it is completed and ready to be put to an approval vote.

Besides the name of the report and the project level, the checklist identifies important information such as the following:

  • Dates of different levels of approval including designated group, Research Committee (ResCo), and approval authority (MSC), depending on the level of the project. A 50 percent quorum is required for the approval of ResCo and the approval authority.
  • Stages of the research report, which are required information for the approval authority. These include information on the budget for the report, the peer reviewers (either CIA members or independent peer reviewer), and external input solicitation.
  • Dates related to the editing, translation, and French technical review processes for the research report.

This checklist has been referenced and used internally for a few documents already and is very useful to keep track of the steps for the approval of a research report.

New CIA Council Liaison Position Guide

When new members join the Board, a council, or a committee, they are often assigned as a liaison to other councils, committees, or subcommittees. These people liaise between the governing entity and its assigned committee or task force to ensure proper communication and coordination of information and activities. The role is important, especially to ensure synergy among the committees, exchange of content, and evaluation criteria for the approval of reports and other documents.

Within the MSC, some members have expressed concerns about the responsibilities and duties of a liaison since they were not clear. The MSC decided to officially define the role of a liaison and his/her responsibilities. The Council Liaison Guide was developed and approved at the MSC meeting in November and all liaisons across the CIA structure use it. (Make sure you are logged in to the members’ site when you click the Council Liaison Guide link.)

This guide will help volunteers and members of the Board, councils, and committees to circulate relevant information. This is more and more important as the CIA structure gets bigger and the expected response time diminishes; synergy is a key to our success.

Innovative Initiatives

The MSC works in four main hot topic areas: communication, volunteering, research, and emerging practices. Volunteering is the most significant risk for the MSC, particularly with recruitment of volunteers to leadership positions; the Volunteer Management and Development Committee is trying to find ways to manage and mitigate that risk. Research is part of the future of the profession. Thanks to many innovative research initiatives, actuaries are now involved in new non-traditional practice areas, including banking, predictive modelling, risk management, and healthcare. At the time I am writing this, the CIA is involved in a major media campaign focusing on healthcare and what actuaries can bring to this area.

Working within those emerging fields brings actuaries out of their comfort zone and makes them think outside the box. In this fast-changing world, actuaries need to follow current trends and be present in emerging practice areas so that their expertise serves the public interest. The MSC supports those initiatives and ensures that actuaries are well equipped to face new areas of practice.

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


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