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Status of an SOA Accreditation System, and an Alternative Route

Status of an SOA accreditation system, and an "alternative route"

by Warren R. Luckner, FSA, David P. Haynes Memorial Chair and Director, Actuarial Science Program University of Nebraska - Lincoln

SOA accreditation system

At its November meeting, the SOA Board considered the report of the Accreditation Implementation Task Force and approved the Task Force's two recommendations as well as the additional recommendation noted in c below:

  1. that consideration of the recommendations in the report be deferred until the Board has received the report of the Alternative Route Further Study Task Force (ARFSTF); 

  2. that the criteria in the report be referred to the Joint CAS, CIA, SOA Committee on Academic Relations for consideration in updating the current "Actuarial College Listings"; and

  3. that the report be referred to the Society of Actuaries Issues Advisory Council for future consideration when the IAC considers it appropriate.

The Task Force believes that the accreditation system recommended in its report satisfies the desired characteristics for an accreditation system, and is a valuable new initiative that can strengthen the relationship between the academic community and the actuarial profession.  The significant majority of the feedback received, especially from the online survey, strengthened that belief. However, the Task Force recommended the deferral for several reasons, including:

  1. The risk of not implementing an accreditation system now is low because of the existence of the current Actuarial College Listings

  2. The result of the work of the ARFSTF may make the recommended accreditation system more attractive to schools that are currently concerned that the time and effort required to apply of accreditation is not justified by the relatively little benefit they believe their schools will receive

  3. The estimated cost of $50,000 annually to provide an additional staff person to administer the implementation and ongoing operation of the system may not be currently available due to budgetary constraints and other priorities; and, although the online survey results were generally positive about the accreditation system, the majority of the academic respondents and a significant minority of the industry respondents favored a no fee approach to the accreditation system.

  4. Relations with the academic actuarial community are best served in the near term by devoting SOA resources to the operations of the new VEE system and the new computer-based administration of Exam P, and to marketing the Actuarial Research Exchange.

  5. A deferral will allow time for any near-term changes to the preliminary education and examination syllabus to be known, and adjusted for, when the accreditation system recommendations are considered.

  6. The ARFSTF can go forward with its work based on the recommended accreditation system, but doing so may result in suggested modifications to the recommended accreditation system. It is preferable to defer implementation of any accreditation system until such potential modifications are known.

Complete Report:   Accreditation Implementation Task Force

Alternative Route Further Study Task Force
The Alternative Route Further Study Task Force has been recruited. Howard Bolnick, FSA, former SOA President, chairs the Task Force. Howard has discussed with Kay Branz, the Issues Advisory Council staff person, and Harry Panjer, chair of the Issues Advisory Council, how to proceed. In particular, Howard is seeking clarification regarding the charge to the Task Force..