The Global Actuarial Profession

The role of actuaries and the SOA continues to grow JEREMY J. BROWN

Photograph: Nathan Reynolds

As actuaries, we help represent the global profession. The role of actuaries continues to grow geographically, and new applications of our skills are being utilized in a variety of industries. Now I recognize in your day-to-day work it may not reach every continent. However, I’m proud to see the international span of both the overall profession and that of the Society of Actuaries (SOA). From education and research projects to continued partnerships with universities, employers and other actuarial organizations, we are part of this global profession.

Our 2017–2021 Strategic Plan taps into the global nature of our profession, our credentials and, of course, the knowledge base and perspectives around the world. We have the SOA’s International Committee, whose activities involve four pillars: support for members and candidates, university relations, employer relationships and relationships with regulatory authorities. Our work includes activities in China, greater Asia and Latin America. For instance, volunteer fellows who practice in the local regions help guide development of tailored approaches to professional development, research, membership support and other activities via their membership in the China, Greater Asia and Latin America Committees.

From my international travels, I appreciate hearing firsthand about similar and differing challenges, in addition to the emerging opportunities for the profession. At the start of my presidency last fall, I attended the Caribbean Actuarial Association Conference, which provided a great way to connect with local actuaries. We discussed predictive analytics, health care and a variety of actuarial research. I also was a keynote speaker and participated in several panels at the Asian Actuarial Conference in Gurgaon, India, where I enjoyed meeting actuaries from many parts of Asia. There, we discussed education, the SOA Learning Strategy and much more.

This spring, SOA members traveled to China to participate in the second Executive Education Exchange program jointly programmed with the China Association of Actuaries (CAA). It provided a unique opportunity in sharing and learning. Delegates from North America met with their counterparts from leading companies, met with academic leaders and also discussed actuarial career strategies with students at a leading university. The delegates networked with many local members at two receptions, in Shanghai and Beijing, and gave presentations on areas of interest, including international capital standards, cyber product delivery and U.S. group insurance practices. This program is a continuation of our collaboration with the CAA, as we jointly planned the first exchange for Chinese actuaries in New York, Hartford and Washington, D.C., in 2016.

As you read this column, our members are enjoying two blue-chip professional development events in Asia, the second SOA China Annual Symposium in Shanghai, and the SOA Asia-Pacific Annual Symposium in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. This year marks the 30th anniversary of our relationship with Nankai University, and we celebrate our history of helping to establish an actuarial science program so many decades ago by arranging for Western actuarial professors to teach the first generation of actuarial students in modern China at Nankai University. Now hundreds of candidates graduate from dozens of universities across China each year.

CAE 2016
2016 Centers of Actuarial Excellence (CAE) Summit in Chicago
Photograph: Nathan Reynolds

I had the privilege of attending the International Actuarial Association (IAA) meetings in Budapest this past spring. The SOA, along with the Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS), the Conference of Consulting Actuaries (CCA), the ASPAA College of Pension Actuaries (ACOPA) and the American Academy of Actuaries (the Academy) are planning the President’s Forum as part of the IAA Council and committee meetings in Chicago this Oct. 4–8. The SOA, CAS, CCA and ACOPA are also hosting the IAA gala dinner. In addition to all of this work, we are part of the North American Actuarial Council (NAAC), where we recently discussed predictive analytics and inclusion and diversity in the profession. I also want to mention that is now available in Spanish. This website is geared toward students exploring actuarial careers, and we jointly developed it with the CAS.

From a global standpoint, our organization and the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (IFoA) established CAA Global, a not-for-profit, public interest joint venture organization. CAA Global oversees, delivers and promotes the certified actuarial analyst (CAA) qualification, which is for individuals working in actuarial support roles and in the broader financial services sector.

In conclusion, as the actuarial profession grows, so too do our organization’s offerings and capabilities. Our profession is stronger based on the different connections and insights gathered in working together to address and solve emerging challenges affecting businesses and the public.

Jeremy J. Brown, FSA, MAAA, is president of the Society of Actuaries. Follow him on LinkedIn: