Expanding Horizons, January 2001, Issue No. 23
Newsletter of the Education and Research Section
Issue 23 – January 2001
Education and Research Section membership is $15.00. We encourage you to join! Simply send a note indicating code #05-50-0100 along with your $15.00 payment to the SOA at P.O. Box 95918, Chicago, Illinois 60694. Payment may be made by check or credit card. The SOA accepts Visa, UMastercard or American Express. Please remember to include your card number, signature and expiration date.
Expressions of opinion stated herein are, unless expressly stated to the contrary, not necessarily the opinion or position of the Society of Actuaries, its Sections or Committees or the employers of the authors. The Society assumes no responsibility for statements made or the opinions expressed in the articles, criticisms, and discussions contained in this publication.
The Section would like to encourage articles and papers on education and research topics or subjects of interest to education and research actuaries. If you have an article or an idea for an article that you think might interest Section members, please contact the editors.
Copyright 2001 Society of Actuaries. All rights reserved.
The three new members elected to three-year terms on the Education and Research Section Council are: James Broffitt, Curtis Huntington, and Esther Portnoy.
Claire Bilodeau was elected for a two-year term. She replaces Jim Daniel who had to resign because of other commitments.
Len Asimow was elected for a one-year term. He replaces Faye Albert who was elected to the SOA Board of Governors. Congratulations to Faye Albert ! We know youll do a great job on the Board of Governors.
Many thanks to Jeff Beckley and Tom Herzog for serving on the Council, and especially to Sarah Christiansen for her able leadership and hard work as a member of the Council and then as Section Chairperson.
As usual, the Education and Research Section sponsored a variety of sessions at the October 2000 Annual Meeting in Chicago. Former SOA President Steven Radcliffe moderated a panel discussion on a new task force that is considering how university credits may be used towards Fellowship qualifications. Faye Albert, former E&R Section Council member and new member of the Board of Governors, moderated a panel discussion on interest scenarios, co-sponsored with the Investment Section. Among the panelists who explained how interest rate generators may be incorporated into actuarial analysis was our own Section Council Chairperson, Sarah Christiansen.
Section Council member Tom Herzog presented a tutorial on the application of credibility theory to health insurance, with examples to illustrate application of the theory. Another teaching session was a joint effort with the Retirement Systems and Computer Science Sections. There, Arnold Shapiro presented an overview of soft computing applications in insurance. This was an interactive computerized presentation where attendees could gain an understanding of technologies such as fuzzy logic, genetic algorithms, and neural networks.
At our Sections continental breakfast, Dale Porfilio, FCAS, Chairman of the Joint CAS, CIA, and SOA Committee on Academic Relations, joined attendees by phone to talk about the feedback to the White Paper, A Partnership between the Academic Community and the Actuarial Profession. Twenty thousand copies of the White Paper were distributed, but only 141 people responded to the questionnaire at the end.
The respondents strongly supported existing initiatives such as:
- the CAS Academic Correspondent Program (receipt of CAS mailings and waiver of meeting fees);
- the CAS University Liaison Program, (aligning CAS members with academics to serve as contacts and resources);
- the SOA academic initiatives program (waiver of meeting fees);
- the CAS/SOA Ph.D. Grants program; and the reorganized listing of academic institutions offering actuarial science programs.
Strongly supported new initiatives included:
- increased use of academic faculty/institutions for experience studies and tables;
- a clearinghouse linking faculty and business or government actuaries to work on practical actuarial projects;
- direct involvement of individual members with academic institutions;
- increased use of academic faculty and facilities for continuing education programs in partnership with the business and government community;
- academic faculty producing basic or continuing education material;
- Inter-disciplinary research centers at academic institutions to address issues with an actuarial component.
Among the moderately supported new initiatives were:
- actuarial profession accreditation of academic actuarial science programs;
- significant financial support for the time of highly respected academic researchers;
- direct corporate funding to academic institutions;
- a comprehensive examination option to obtain credit for all jointly sponsored examinations.
The initiative to have academic faculty produce basic or continuing education material was most frequently rated the top priority, with the initiative to involve individual members with academic institutions coming in second. The summary of the White Paper feedback has been communicated to the memberships through articles in member newsletters such as the Actuarial Review , the The Actuary , and the Bulletin . Another step will be to pursue "quick hits" such as the updating of the listing of actuarial science programs.Select new article
The Education and Research Section owes Sarah Christiansen many thanks for her work on the Council over the past three years. She helped plan SOA meetings, was involved in the August 1999 Actuarial Research Conference held in Des Moines (her company, Principal Financial Group, was a co-sponsor), and was a dedicated and capable chairperson during the past year.
We also thank retiring Council members Tom Herzog and Faye Albert for the time they spent as Section representatives planning SOA annual meetings, as well as Section member Matt Hassett who was responsible for handling the spring meetings last year. That is not a trivial job. We would have no sessions to sponsor if people didnt volunteer to be our representatives. They have to attend a couple of planning meetings, write session descriptions that will be good advertisements, and recruit speakers. This year, responsibilities for the Spring Meetings are being divided between two Section members. Krzysztof Ostaszewski was willing to recruit speakers and write session descriptions, but scheduling conflicts prevented him from attending the planning meetings. Fortunately, Timothy Wagenmaker agreed to attend the meeting where time slots are chosen for all sessions. I understand that its more like an auction or a bidding "war," but the Continuing Education staff members make it a fun event.
Newly-elected Council member Claire Bilodeau has already made herself useful by taking the minutes during recent conference-call meetings. She is our new Secretary/Treasurer for this year and is doing a great job.
In the previous issue of Expanding Horizons , Sarah Christiansen expressed some thought-provoking ideas about future requirements for those who want to join the actuarial profession. She hoped to stir up some discussion, and she succeeded. You can read some responses in the Letters to the Editor column. At the Annual Meeting, our new President, Rob Brown, discussed a new actuarial designation hed like to see implemented which non-actuaries or quasi-actuaries might want to earn. This would involve some minor restructuring of the syllabus for the first four or five exams. ("AUGH!" as Charlie Brown might say. Didnt we just do that? OK, OK, I know, its only a little restructuring.)
At a session in San Diego last year, Curtis Huntington informed participants that the International Actuarial Association has developed some criteria for a syllabus that every member organization must meet by 2005. Fortunately, the current SOA syllabus already covers the criteria being established by the IAA.
There has also been discussion of a possible option that would allow students to take one comprehensive exam, covering Courses 1 through 4, and whether it should only be available to students from a "qualified" actuarial program. Such an option would add flexibility since separate exams covering Courses 1 through 4 would still be offered. I can see value in having qualified programs, with the schools themselves determining who merits the designation. I can see some advantage in the comprehensive exam rather than four separate exams (although I personally would not want to take such a huge exam). I can also sympathize with the concerns of schools with small actuarial programs who dont want to feel that they have been cut out or left behind if theyre not considered "qualified." This is obviously not a time for people to sit back and assume that everything will stay the same. Like it or not, change is happening to our profession, including the manner in which actuaries receive their professional education, and I dont think its going away any time soon.
Some years ago, the Chicago Actuarial Association (or maybe it was the Chicago Actuarial Club back then) featured what I considered to be a "famous actuary" as the after-dinner speaker. "Famous actuary" was the label I gave to someone Id actually heard of, someone whose name I recognized. Being just an actuarial student who was trying to muddle through the exams, I certainly was not acquainted with prominent actuaries, but I thought it interesting that this speaker was someone who had written study notes Id had to read. Didnt that imply that he was famous? He began with a tongue-in-cheek slide about how "Inflation is your friend" and then went on to explain why this really was not so. The speaker was Irwin T. Vanderhoof. There have been lots of speakers with worthwhile things to say at the many actuarial meetings Ive attended. Much of it has, unfortunately, been forgotten, but I certainly remember Irwin Vanderhoof.
It was sad to learn that he was seriously ill, and much sadder still to hear that he was no longer with us. It was a privilege to be acquainted, even slightly, with the man whose interesting articles were always one of the first things I read in Contingencies , whose name was familiar from writings and talks and volunteer activities. It was a privilege to be on the Education and Research Section Council when he was the Chairman. Those who knew him can be grateful for the opportunity, and we can all appreciate his amazingly many contributions to our profession.
Select new article
Letter to the Editor (Conrad Siegel)
This is my sixth decade of actuarial practice, so my memory may be a little fuzzy, but I recall many actuaries who did not attend or graduate from college, but had distinguished actuarial careers. Harold Lawson, FSA, was the president and majority owner of National Life of Canada and a President of the Society of Actuaries. Oswald Jacoby, the best bridge player of his time, dropped out of Princeton and completed the FSA exams so quickly that he had to wait a few years, until age 25, to get his certificate. He practiced as an insurance and consulting actuary.
Stan Tulin, FSA, a senior partner at M & R and later at Coopers and Lybrand, is now a senior executive at AXA-Equitable. Ian Smith, FFA, just retired as Chairman/CEO of Marsh and McLennan, the brokerage, investment, and consulting firm. He worked his way up through consulting at Mercer. Doug Butt, FSA, dropped out of the University of Toronto and has had an interesting career doing actuarial consulting in Canada for a part of each year and running a country pub in the U.K. for the rest of the year.
I spent a wonderful evening last year with the late Max Lander, who told us the story of the founding of the D. C. Fraser consulting firm (now a part of Mercer) in the U. K. Max was in the actuarial department of a Manchester insurance company, and he noticed that a clerk in the premium accounting department was zipping through the FIA exams faster than the actuarial students were. It was Geoff Heywood, who later joined Max at Fraser, became President of the Institute, and co-founded the International Association of Consulting Actuaries. Last month, Geoff, in his eighties, attended a dinner in London for the past presidents of the Institute on Friday evening, flew to Hershey, PA, and attended a dinner for the committee of the IACA on Saturday evening.
Would the actuarial profession have been better off without these people? I think not. The suggestion that a college degree be required assumes that only finances prevented these people from attending or finishing college in the past, and now that this problem is solved by grants and loans, college graduation should be a requirement. As a trustee of a private college, I can attest to the fact that many students are unprepared for college and drop out for a variety of reasons. Many graduate with large debt but learn little. Finally, many colleges offer an inferior product, often taught by graduate students or by professors more interested in research and publishing than in their students. So there are multiple reasons why very successful actuaries find their way to the profession without benefit of a college degree. Stopping this in order to impress mathematics professors doesnt impress me.
In fact, I wonder what can be usefully taught at the PhD level in actuarial science. I was able to study calculus, probability, statistics, life contingencies, and graduation of tables at the bachelors level, passing SOA exams through life contingencies (the old Part 4). Most of the research I see coming from our academics either involve the 900th paper on Whitaker-Henderson graduation, or "research" on investment models that assume the past will repeat itself in the future, and if some mathematics used in quantum physics or weather forecasting or chaos theory were applied to actuarial problems, the world would be better off. These papers are accompanied by 50 or 100 references, including many of the authors prior papers, to show the erudition of the author. From 50 years experience in investing pension money and service on endowment investment committees, I can state that the past doesnt repeat itself. We can look to Long Term Capital Management, General American Life, Mutual Benefit Life, Confederation Life, and several other investment fiascoes of recent years to bear witness to this. There were no shortages of PhDs, FSAs, or Nobel laureates involved.
The three smartest insurance executives, in my opinion, are Warren Buffett, Hank Greenberg, and Sandy Weill. They understand risk and are not actuaries or PhDs. Interesting. I invest in their stocks.
Conrad M. Siegel, FSA, MAAA, FCA
Conrad Siegel is Chairman of the Board of Conrad M. Siegel, Inc., in Harrisburg, PA.Select new article
Letter to the Editor (G.V. Ramanthan)
Regarding Sarah Christiansens column in the August issue of Expanding Horizons, I wanted to share my thoughts.
I do not think there should be a degree requirement for Associateship.
As your article says, only about 6.5% of current members do not list a college degree. More power to them, I say. ( Note: As was mentioned in the last issue, the S0A does not require information on college degrees, so it is possible that some of these members have degrees but just didnt bother to fill in the information.)
If the lack of a college degree were affecting professional performance, or if it turned out that a large proportion of the associates skipped college, I should definitely support the degree requirement. That does not seem to be the case. As it is, I believe it is quite difficult to pass the SOA examinations without having had a college education the main purpose of which is to teach students how to learn. I have great admiration for those who take on this challenge and demonstrate their ability to learn on their own.
I do not agree with Sarah Christiansen that a college degree will elicit increased respect from professionals and academics. I do not know about professionals. In my experience, I have found that academics by and large and in mathematics in particular are concerned more about the persons ability than the degree. I personally have known bright students who never bothered to finish their undergraduate education but went on to graduate school. (Oh, talking about professionals, how do physicians address PhDs? By their first name.)
The Society should not concern itself with a well-rounded education. The views on this matter are so divergent that it would be wise for the SOA to stay out of it.
The SOA has reason to be, and should be, proud of its professional standards. The way to gain continued respect is to be unconcerned about degree requirements since attainment of Associateship is by itself an intellectual achievement, and no further proof is needed of ones intellectual maturity.
G. V. Ramanathan, ASA
G.V. Ramanathan is Professor of Mathematics at University of Illinois at Chicago.
Letter to the Editor (Jim Daniel)
In the August 2000 issue of Expanding Horizons , E & R Section Chair Sarah L. M. Christiansen stated in her "View from the Chair" article, that actuarial careers are not on the radar screen of mathematics professors and that such professors do not suggest actuarial careers to the students they advise. I have no idea where Sarah obtained her data, but my own experience and anecdotal evidence contradict this.
The SOA and CAS have for several years jointly sponsored an information booth at the annual January meeting of the 27,000-member Mathematical Association of America (MAA) and the slightly smaller American Mathematical Society (AMS). This meeting is usually attended by 3,000 to 4,000 math professors. The working actuaries that volunteer to staff that booth can attest to the fact that they get lots of interest, lots of questions, and lots of requests for printed information.
At that same meeting, the Actuarial Faculty Forum has for several years organized an MAA session on actuarial education. Typically about 40 to 50 math professors attend, with most wanting to learn about what they can do to help their students prepare for this career. Its not my impression that these professors think that they are looking into a trade for their students, but a profession and a rewarding career.
Finally, many actuaries and actuarial educators receive lots of invitations to speak to college and university math clubs to inform math students about the opportunities invitations that representatives of trades such as carpentry are unlikely to receive.
None of this disproves Sarahs assertion, of course. But I, for one, think shes wrong.
Jim Daniel, ASA
Dr. Jim Daniel, is the Paul V. Montgomery Professor of Actuarial Mathematics and the Director of Actuarial Studies at the University of Texas in Austin.
Letter to the Editor (Jo Swinney)
Regarding Sarahs comment of the actuarial profession being off the radar screen of mathematics professors, I would have to disagree. I received a degree in actuarial science, so, of course, it was on my professors screen. Furthermore, I have run into many actuaries from schools that did not have actuarial programs who were counseled by their professors to look into actuarial science.
Jo Swinney, FSA
Jo Swinney is Second Vice President and Assistant Actuary at Union Central Life Insurance Company in Cincinnati, OH.
The Computer Science Section suggested a computer science curriculum for college and university students interested in pursuing actuarial science. This recommendation is intended to guide college and university students in selecting courses and to help colleges and universities develop curriculum for actuarial science programs.
The Section suggests that about 10% of an actuarial science undergraduate program consist of computer science. This can be obtained in computer science classes and/or mathematics, statistics, or actuarial classes that include computer science topics in an integrated approach. About 75% of this should be devoted to programming languages. These would typically include, but would not necessarily be limited to APL, J, Basic, Visual Basic, C, C++, Fortran, Java, Pascal, SAS, and S-Plus. About 25% of this should be devoted to other software tools such as Excel, LOTUS, or other spreadsheets, and mathematics packages like Mathematica or Maple.
In addition to the topics normally covered in computer science courses, the actuarial student should be exposed to problems requiring iterative solutions, approximation of infinite series, approximate integration, approximation of functions, graduation of data/curve fitting, Monte Carlo techniques, manipulation of multi-dimensional arrays, and estimation of statistical distributions.Select new article
Together with the Retirement Systems Practice Area, the Education and Research Section co-sponsored an interactive forum on retirement systems research and education activities at the Annual Meeting. The panelists included Joe Applebaum and Zenaida Samaniego, members of the Committee on Retirement Systems Practice Advancement. Zenaida is chairperson of the Committee on Retirement Systems Research, and Joe is chairperson of the Committee on Retirement Systems Professional Education and Development. The moderator of the panel was SOA senior research actuary Tom Edwalds.
The Research Committees recent activities included a commissioned paper on that hot topic, cash balance plans; the RP 2000 Mortality Study; a turnover study; a monograph containing papers on retirement needs presented at a symposium in December of 1998; a survey of asset valuation methods used by pension actuaries in North America; and an assessment of the effect of mortality improvement on pension plan funding. A macrodemographic study is in the works. A monograph, currently in draft form, describes most of the important models for public and private pensions in the U. S. and Canada. New research projects will study mortality and risk characteristics and the implications of demographic and family structure changes for retirement systems.
The Committee on Professional Development is involved with the seminars that have been given or will be given in the future. Given the increased demand for professional development and continuing education, their activities are very important. Concerns include how often seminars will be repeated and what delivery modes might be considered. One recent opportunity for continuing education was the Retirement 2000 Symposium, which featured papers on a wide variety of pension issues. The proceedings are being published in the January 2001 issue of the North American Actuarial Journal.Select new article
No sooner is the annual meeting over than its time to start organizing the programs for next years spring meetings in Dallas and Toronto. The Education and Research Section plans on sponsoring several sessions at each meeting, as well as a breakfast session where members can discuss relevant topics and have an opportunity to network.
At both meetings, Dr. Mary Hardy of the University of Waterloo will do a teaching session on a new methodology, regime-switching models. Dr. Krzystof Ostaszewski will moderate a debate on buffet pricing and whether it can be used for health care, also at both meetings. In Toronto, Dr. Stuart Klugman will use an example of a case study to show what such a method can accomplish in actuarial education, while Dr. Edward. W. (Jed) Frees will discuss case studies in Dallas. Also in Dallas, panelists Zvi Bodie and Jeremy Gold will discuss a paper that considers the relationships between the pension actuarial cost methods and assumptions, as prescribed by ERISA and FASB, and the basic principles of finance and investments, as taught on the current SOA syllabus.
The Sections breakfast session in Dallas will give attendees an opportunity to discuss matters related to research with Bruce Iverson, managing director of research at the Society of Actuaries. At the Toronto Section breakfast, Chris Fievoli will lead a discussion of the new exam system. Chris was Examination Chairperson for 1999-2000.Select new article
Claire Bilodeau Krzysztof Ostaszewski Jeff Beckley Esther Portnoy Jim Broffitt Patricia Pruitt Sarah Christiansen Tim Wagenmaker Robert Myers Judy Yore
- Spring meetings
The focus of this meeting was the discussion of session topics for the Spring 2001 meetings. Krzysztof Ostaszewski and Tim Wagenmaker represent the Section on the spring program committee. The Health, Pension, and Long-Term Care spring meeting is scheduled to be in Dallas, Texas from May 30 to June 1. The Financial Reporting and Product Development spring meeting is scheduled to be in Toronto, Ontario, from June 20 to June 22. The Education & Research Section is allocated four sessions at each meeting, in addition to the Section breakfast.
After discussion among the Council members, session topics, along with potential speakers, meeting place, and desired format were suggested. [See "Spring Meeting Sessions for 2001" article by Pat Pruitt] There was a desire to limit the number of panel discussions.
Jim Broffitt and Esther Portnoy, as Newsletter Co-Editors, are responsible for the publication schedule. They will solicit material for the next issue.
The meeting adjourned at 10:00 a.m., CST.
Claire BilodeauSelect new article
October 17, 2000
Faye Albert Robert Myers Claire Bilodeau Esther Portnoy Sam Broverman Patricia Pruitt Jim Broffitt David Scollnik Sarah Christiansen Judy Yore
- Section Officers
Patricia Pruitt agreed to serve as Chairperson for 2000-2001.
The other officers for 2000-2001 are as follows:
Robert Myers, Vice-President of Communications;
Sam Broverman, Vice-President of Research;
Claire Bilodeau, Secretary/Treasurer.
- Section Representatives
Esther Portnoy and Jim Broffitt agreed to work as Newsletter Co-Editors.
Sarah Christiansen will ask Krzysztof Ostaszewski, from Illinois State University, to be the Section representative on the Spring Program Committee.
The representative for the Annual Program Committee was not discussed.
- Suggestions for Meeting Sessions
Session topic ideas for the Spring and Annual meetings were discussed.
Section members have not objected to publishing the newsletter electronically. The plan is to publish on the Web three to four times per year. A blast e-mail will be sent to Section members to announce ach issue. At the conclusion of each year, a hard copy of the electronic publications will be printed for distribution by regular mail. This change in publication format is warranted by increases in SOA administrative charges.
- Upcoming ARC Hosts
Ohio State University (Bostwick Wyman)
August 9 to 11
University of Waterloo
August 8 to 10
University of Michigan
Several institutions have expressed an interest in hosting the ARC in 2004. The Council will review proposals in 2001.
The meeting adjourned at 3:53 p.m., CST.
Claire BilodeauSelect new article
October 3, 2000
by Sarah L. M. Christiansen
The actuarial profession lost one of its brightest lights when Irwin Vanderhoof passed away on September 24 following several months of serious illness. Irwin was a very intelligent, friendly, and highly educated family man, who always had a smile on his face and was interested in everything. He was creative and forward thinking, and he used his intelligence and connections to help lead the actuarial profession into new areas of intellectual inquiry.
I first met Irwin at the May 1995 Spring SOA meeting in New York, where he had arranged a session at New York Universitys Stern School of Business on quasi-Monte Carlo methods and Low Discrepancy Sequences (LDS). Irwins description in the Record of the Marco Island meeting on how he came to be involved in LDS is illustrative of his personality.
Irwin had first learned about LDS in 1992 from an article in Science News and called to discuss this theory many times with Joseph F. Traub and H. Wozniakowski of Columbia Universitys Computer Science Department. After giving the idea much thought, he told them that their technique should be very efficient for valuing assets. They sent him a PhD student who was the first to use LDS to value a collateralized mortgage obligation (CMO). First it was used on a sample CMO that Irwin created and then later on a real one at Goldman Sachs. Irwin then claimed that an actuary was the first one to use LDS to value assets. Irwin felt that both individuals and academic institutions should be well rewarded financially for their research efforts. In response to IBMs attempt to charge a million dollars for the coding which would implement LDS on various machines, Irwin and the Computer Science Department at Columbia developed software that would not only generate LDS, but also interact with actuarial and other software. They then jointly patented and licensed the software, charging an annual license fee. However, the software was free to academic researchers.
My first contact with Irwins work was when I took over as chair of the V-480 exam. He had written a short study note entitled "Stochastic Calculus without Tears." The title was evidence of Irwins sense of humor. Another place that Irwins sense of humor often surfaced was in his column "Through an Actuarial Looking Glass" for Contingencies magazine.
Irwins contributions to the profession were many and varied. He served on many industry committees over the years, including the Committee on Valuation and Related Areas (COVARA), which instituted the use of the C-1 though C-4 notation for the various risks. Irwin chaired the subcommittee that studied asset defaults. Irwin was also involved with the E&E committee structure, serving on the committee that created the syllabus for the core exam 220, covering basic finance and investment topics. He was one of the original organizers of the Reinsurance Section, and served on the Education and Research Section Council from 1996 through 1998, serving as chair during 1998. His research reflected his varied interests and related committee work. He wrote many joint papers on a variety of subjects including mortality studies of reinsured business, forecasting changes in mortality, Lyme disease, and asset loss and bond default. Irwins interest in Lyme disease stemmed from his personal experience. His daughter became infected when she was pregnant, resulting in the death of his grandson at a young age.
Among the professional research conferences that Irwin helped to arrange were two relating to the relationship between actuarial science and accounting. The first conference was in 1995 on the Fair Value of Liabilities and the second was in March of 1999 on the Fair Value of Insurance Business. Irwin arranged for both conferences to be held at the Salomon Center of the Stern School of Business at NYU and used his connections to obtain sponsorships from major accounting firms. As a result, the conference attendance was a mix of actuaries, accountants, and other professionals. The sponsorships provided for publication of a book containing the papers presented at each conference. He edited both books jointly with Edward Altman.
Irwin was always ready to help out, often being recruited as a speaker at SOA sponsored meetings. Irwin was able to balance his dedication to the actuarial profession with his love and devotion to his family.
He was a good friend and mentor, and I shall miss him.Select new article
First I want to extend my congratulations to the new officers and Council members of the Education and Research Section. Pat Pruitt has worked very hard on behalf of the Section during the past year. She has volunteered to attend many meetings in Chicago that others and I could not attend. She also served as editor of Expanding Horizons for the past two years. Pat has taken over as the new chair of the Education and Research Section Council. Congratulations Pat! The other officers include Sam Broverman, Vice-President for Research, Bob Myers, Vice-President for Communications, and Claire Bilodeau, Secretary-Treasurer. Faye Albert has been elected to the SOA board. Congratulations, Faye. I know that the Council will miss you. Jim Broffitt and Esther Portnoy will be co-editors of Expanding Horizons. David Scollnik will continue as our Web Liaison. Curtis Huntington and Len Asimow round out the Council. Len will be our representative on the annual program committee. Krzysztof Ostaszewski and Tim Wagenmaker are our representatives to the spring program committee.
When I started the year, my goals for the Section were to improve academic relations and to make Expanding Horizons a forum for a rich discussion of ideas. We have accomplished much during this past year, but as always, much more remains to be accomplished.
We have had some very exciting sessions at both the spring and annual meetings, thanks to our outgoing program representatives Matt Hassett (spring meeting) and Faye Albert (annual meeting).
The main accomplishments of the Council include the sponsorship of the ARC (Actuarial Research Conference), ARCH and Expanding Horizons. Publication of ARCH has been moved to the Web, and subscriptions have been eliminated. ARCH will be free and open to all as part of the Education and Research Section sponsorship. We hope that this will make ARCH more responsive to the needs of the researchers who want quick access to new results and suggestions from other researchers. We have requested that any time the ARCH Web site receives a query, the Web site will mention the Education and Research Section sponsorship with the hope that this will encourage additional Section memberships. Expanding Horizons is also moving to electronic publishing. We still intend to print and mail one combined issue each year, but electronic dissemination should save printing and mailing costs for the other issues, while getting the newsletter to you quickly. Each electronically published issue will be accompanied by a blast e-mail letting you know of the new issue. The Section Council hopes that the reduced cost of electronic publication will allow us to retain dues at $15 per year in the future. Expanding Horizons has had some controversial items, and we are getting some letters to the editor in response. I hope that this will continue.
We have requested that whenever a board task force is formed that deals with an education or research issue, one of the Council members be appointed as a liaison. We have also requested that each practice area advancement committee have an E&R member liaison. We have only been successful with Finance and CKER. At the Section breakfast, I mentioned that my major disappointment was failure of the Council to pass a resolution recommending to the Board that a bachelors degree be required for new Associates. I feel that this would help us be more in tune internationally, as well as improving relations with academia in general. Some believe the lack of such a requirement created major hurdles in getting actuaries included under NAFTA. This may also be a problem with getting actuaries included in the highly skilled visas (H-1B). I hope the new Council continues my campaign for a degree requirement.
Thank you for all of your support during this past year. I would like to extend my thanks not only to the Council, but also to Judy Yore and the rest of the SOA support staff.Select new article