Mission and Vision Statement of the Society of Actuaries
The Society of Actuaries (SOA) is an educational, research, and professional organization dedicated to serving the public and Society members. Its mission is to advance actuarial knowledge and to enhance the ability of actuaries to provide expert advice and relevant solutions for financial, business, and societal problems involving uncertain future events.
The vision of the SOA is for actuaries to be recognized as the leading professionals in the modeling and management of financial risk and contingent events.
Terms and concepts used in the Mission and Vision Statement may be amplified as follows
- Educational Organization
The SOA provides basic education in the fundamental principles of actuarial science, advanced education and professional development in areas requiring specific technical or regulatory knowledge, and continuing education for practicing actuaries.
- Research Organization
The SOA conducts research to develop studies of historical experience and techniques for projections into the future, to analyze the actuarial aspects of public policy issues, and to provide the foundation for further expansion of the profession.
- Professional Organization
The SOA promotes high standards of professional competence and conduct within the actuarial profession. The SOA has adopted a Code of Professional Conduct, and in matters of conduct and discipline, it cooperates with the Canadian Institute of Actuaries and with the American Academy of Actuaries, including the Actuarial Standards Board and the Actuarial Board for Counseling and Discipline.
- Serving the Public
By developing and valuing financial programs, actuaries provide service to the public.
In addition to looking after the interests of direct participants and beneficiaries of such public and private programs, actuaries also provide advice to shareholders, regulators, financial analysts and others. The SOA meets its responsibility to the various publics by recruiting and educating actuaries and by its role as a professional organization. Note that the SOA places serving the public ahead of serving its members.
- Serving its Members
The SOA is committed to meeting the needs of its members. Members work in the traditional practice areas of life insurance, retirement systems, health benefit systems, financial and investment management, and in emerging practice areas. In meeting the needs of its members, the SOA conducts meetings and seminars, publishes papers and studies, makes or sponsors investigations, promotes educational activities for candidates and members, utilizes technology to enhance communications, sponsors academics and supports universities with actuarial science programs, organizes special interest sections, and undertakes such other activities as appropriate. However, in accomplishing many of these tasks, the SOA relies on the generous support of its members in volunteer roles.
Although the majority of the SOA members reside in Canada or in the U.S., a significant number of members live or practice in other geographical areas. The SOA is committed to encouraging the development of actuarial science worldwide and to addressing the international needs of SOA members. The SOA is a member of the International Actuarial Association and of the worldwide actuarial profession.
- Advancing Actuarial Knowledge and Enhancing the Ability of Actuaries
Knowledge of actuarial science is the foundation of the actuarial profession. Actuaries often deal with problems relating to uncertain future events. With insurance based on scientific actuarial principles, financial aspects of uncertainties such as premature death, disability, need for medical care, etc., can be exchanged for the certainty of a premium payment. Pension and social security programs require actuarial analysis based on contingencies such as period of employment, covered earnings, and mortality. Investments and other financial transactions involving risk or uncertainty can also be modeled using actuarial techniques. In a dynamic and rapidly changing world, actuarial knowledge must be continuously expanded to meet increasingly complex problems and to enhance the value added by actuarial analysis.
- Recognition as the Leading Professionals
The vision of the SOA is not only to have actuaries be the leading professionals in the modeling and management of financial risk and contingent events, but to have this expertise widely recognized and accepted outside the actuarial profession as well.
- Critical Success Factors
Critical success factors for the profession and the SOA are:
For the Profession
- Be relevant to the needs of our customers. Provide value to a constituency sufficiently large to sustain meaningful work for current and future members of the profession. This may mean expanding our horizons as a profession.
- Be recognized and credible with employers, clients, policymakers and the public by clearly defining who we are and how we differ from others.
- Expand the scope of the actuarial profession. Design a paradigm that expands the scope of meaningful applications of our science, while preserving its integrity and uniqueness.
- Have an effective influence on public policy.
- Focus on maintaining quality membership by recruiting, educating and retaining people who are a credit to the profession, the customers and the societies we serve.
- Be forward looking, flexible and adaptable. Where appropriate, motivate the need for actuarial services in the absence of government regulations. Focus our professional resources on outcomes most important to members and the public.
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For the SOA
- Provide a relevant educational system to train new actuaries and provide continuing education for actuaries. Keep Education and Examination (E&E) and Continuing Education systems in line with the profession's needs.
- Carry out research initiatives that maintain a current knowledge base and expand it so that we can add value to our customers; publications should support dissemination of the knowledge base; knowledge base needs to support both new and existing practice areas.
- Provide appropriate scope for actuarial practice, encompassing attention to the new practice areas and appropriate geographical areas, and building and maintaining employment opportunities for actuaries. Focus should continue to be on customer needs.
- Provide and maintain strong and effective services for members. The key is helping members add value to their customers with emphasis on external focus.
- Maintain a strong volunteer system and effectively support it with staff.
- Provide support to help achieve the critical success factors for the profession.
- Prepare for the future, focusing on both the long and the short term.
- The critical success factors should serve as a framework for testing priorities and allocating resources.
Principles Underlying the Education and Examination (E&E) System
The SOA administers a series of courses leading to Associateship and Fellowship. The principles underlying the SOA E&E system are the following:
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To provide the actuary with an understanding of fundamental mathematical concepts and how they are applied, with recognition of the dynamic nature of these fundamental concepts in that the actuary must remain up–to–date with developments in mathematics and statistics;
To provide the actuary with an accurate picture of the sociodemographic, political, legal, and economic environments within which financial arrangements operate, along with an understanding of the changing nature and potential future directions of these environments;
To expose the actuary to a broad range of techniques that the actuary can recognize and identify as to their application and as to their inherent limitations, with appropriate new techniques introduced into this range as they are developed;
To expose the actuary to a broad range of relevant actuarial practice, including current and potential application of mathematical concepts and techniques to the various and specialized areas of actuarial practice; and
To develop the actuary's sense of inquisitiveness so as to encourage exploration into areas where traditional methods and practice do not appear to work effectively.
The Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS) jointly sponsors and administers Exams P, FM and C with the SOA. These three courses/exams are part of the basis for the Preliminary Education Component. They form a body of knowledge common to all actuarial candidates. The CAS actively participates with its cosponsors to set objectives, syllabus, assessments and passing standards for the courses/examinations. Validation by Educational Experience (VEE) is jointly sponsored by the SOA, CIA and CAS.
The Canadian Institute of Actuaries (CIA), with the exception of the EA examinations, sponsors and administers the Associateship and Fellowship examinations with the SOA. The CIA actively participates with its cosponsors to set objectives, syllabus, assessments and passing standards for the courses/examinations.
The SOA and the American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries (ASPPA) jointly sponsor and administer EA–1, EA–2, A and EA–2, B with the Joint Board for the Enrollment of Actuaries (JBEA). The organizations actively participate with their cosponsors to set objectives, syllabus, and assessments for the courses/examinations. Each organization may set its own pass mark.
The American Academy of Actuaries (AAA) and the Conference of Consulting Actuaries (CCA) jointly sponsor the Associateship and Fellowship examinations with the SOA.
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Admission Requirements to the SOA
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- Who may be admitted
Anyone pursuing actuarial studies may apply for admission to the SOA. If the Board of Governors (BOG) approves the Application for Admission as Associate, the candidate will be enrolled as an Associate of the Society of Actuaries (ASA) after completing the Associateship educational requirements as prescribed by the BOG, subject to any further requirements that the BOG may prescribe. Membership dues are not charged until the Application is accepted and all requirements prescribed by the BOG have been satisfied.
- When and how to apply
The Application for Admission as Associate is separate from the candidate's course registration application and will be issued to candidates at the Associateship Professionalism Course (APC). All candidates attending the APC will be required to fill out the Application for Admission as Associate and turn it in to the APC faculty prior to completing the course. Canadian candidates for Associateship in the SOA attending the CIA’s Professionalism Course will also be required to fill out the Application for Admission as Associate and turn it in to the CIA Professionalism Course faculty prior to completing the course. Any questions regarding the application should be directed to the Membership Services Administrator at 847.706.3532.
- Associateship Requirements
To attain Associateship, the candidate must successfully complete the course requirements described below, and must have the Application for Admission as an Associate approved by the SOA Board of Governors.
Effective January 1, 2007, candidates earn the Associateship designation by completing the following requirements:
- All candidates must complete Exams P, FM, MLC, MFE and C, collectively known as the preliminary education component. (Credit earned from a passing score on previous administrations of former SOA Courses 1–4 will be converted appropriately.)
- All candidates shall satisfy Validation by Educational Experience (VEE) for three subjects: economics, corporate finance and applied statistics. (VEE credit earned from a passing score on Course 2 and/or 4 will be converted appropriately.)
- All candidates must complete the Fundamentals of Actuarial Practice (FAP) Modules 1–8 and the two associated assessments.
- All candidates must also complete the Associateship Professionalism Course (APC). Candidates must also have an approved Application for Admission as an Associate on file, as described above.
- Who may be admitted
An Associate will be admitted as a Fellow of the Society of Actuaries (FSA) after completing the Fellowship educational requirements.
- Fellowship Requirements
Associates must complete all remaining educational requirements with the Fellowship Admissions Course (FAC) as the final component. The FAC is required of all candidates for Fellowship, and candidates may not attend the FAC until they have completed all requirements. In 2007, candidates may earn their FSA in one of two ways:
- Under the 2000 system requirements, candidates must complete Courses 1–8 and Professional Development (PD). Credit earned from a passing score on previous administrations of former SOA Courses 1–4 will be converted appropriately and can be applied towards these requirements.
- Under the new system, candidates must complete the preliminary exam requirements, VEE, Fundamentals of Actuarial Practice (FAP) Modules 1–8 and both assessments (conversion credit is accepted for those candidates who have credit for either or both of former Courses 5 and 7) and
- Two FSA Modules in one specialty track
- Examination Company/Sponsor Perspective (CSP)
- Examination Design & Pricing (DP)
- Strategic Business Management (SBM) Module
- Fellowship Admissions Course (FAC)