Global SOA Membership Highlights

Broadening the SOA’s reach internationally Kelly Hennigan

During the General Session at the Society of Actuaries (SOA) 2018 Annual Meeting & Exhibit in Nashville, Past-president Mike Lombardi congratulated the profession on reaching a membership milestone—more than 30,000 actuaries across the globe. He stated: “This milestone … serves as a call to action to enhance our contribution as experts. As we grow in numbers, we must also build upon our skills to advance as leaders, in order to capitalize on more opportunities provided by our increased visibility.”1

Many are familiar with the SOA 2017–2021 Strategic Plan, which guides decision-making and the future state of actuarial work. Several components of the Strategic Plan are specific to actuaries globally or related to broadening the SOA’s reach internationally. Approximately one-third of the actuarial profession’s members and candidates are outside of the United States. Areas such as China, Asia-Pacific and Latin America have experienced double-digit percentage membership growth in recent years.2

Objective 5 of the Strategic Plan relates to providing valued services to global stakeholders, tailored by region. Some recent highlights supporting this objective include:

  • In China, the SOA has partnered with Nankai University for more than 30 years. Students who were in the inaugural classes in 1987 are now senior actuaries in roles spanning the insurance industry, government and academia. The SOA also offers the China Annual Symposium to bring together experts and local organizations for both developmental and networking opportunities.
  • In Asia-Pacific markets, the SOA has regularly held an Asian Actuarial Conference as well as an Asia-Pacific Annual Symposium. Also in this region, the SOA recently joined with LIMRA on a study related to retirement across Greater Asia and China.
  • In Latin America, the SOA is focused on Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Colombia. Members of the Latin America Committee (LAC) are assessing the needs for these countries by interviewing local actuaries to learn more. The LAC also collaborated with the Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS) on an international program in actuarial science in Colombia.
  • During the October 2018 Board of Directors Meeting, the SOA approved the 2019 Strategic Initiatives. These included continued review of strategies for China and Greater Asia—building off of the progress of the SOA Board–appointed task force that was first created in 2017.

Objective 6 of the Strategic Plan involves supporting actuaries in gaining global perspectives and knowledge. The SOA networks with other international actuarial associations and most recently has focused on how issues such as big data and health care are addressed across the globe. Complementing this, the International Section offers the SOA Ambassador Program to support the identification and development of subjects of international interest, as well as ascertain the potential needs of SOA members in different areas of the world.

Kelly Hennigan, FSA, CFA, is vice president, head of Investment Operations, at Venerable. She is currently a contributing editor for The Actuary magazine.

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