The Webcast Corner

Pension Section News–September 2007

The Webcast Corner

By Anne Button, FSA

Your Continuing Education Team has two primary areas of responsibility. In addition to our work on the programming for the spring and annual meetings, we plan and deliver pension-focused webcasts for the SOA.

We've been very busy on the webcast front over the past 12 months. During the second half of 2006, we cosponsored the six–part Funding Reform webcasts with the American Academy of Actuaries (AAA), The American Society of Pension Professionals and Actuaries (ASPPA) and the Conference of Consulting Actuaries (CCA). These webcasts provided participants with an overview of the new U.S. funding reform legislation for defined benefit plans, including funding for at–risk, small and multi–employer plans.

In December, we cosponsored a FAS 158 webcast with the AAA, ASPPA and CCA. This session covered the changes that this standard requires with respect to year–end disclosures for pension and other post–retirement employee benefits. Finally, we sponsored a Pension Actuary's Guide to Financial Economics webcast. This was a user–friendly summary of the Pension Actuary's Guide to Financial Economics publication which every member of the SOA Pension Section received via mail in 2006.

Our first 2007 offering was in February. Enterprise Risk Management & Pension Plans: A Primer provided an overview of ERM basics, discussed how tools used to measure and manage risk in pension plans could potentially be used in an ERM framework, and demonstrated some practical aspects of pension consulting using ERM techniques.

We next organized a webcast titled Highlights of the Retirement 20/20 Conference which took place in May. This webcast provided participants with an overview of the first Retirement 20/20 Conference, Building the Foundation for New Retirement Systems, held in September of 2006. This conference served as the launching point for the section's Retirement 20/20 initiative, and focused on identifying needs, risks and roles for the key stakeholders in the retirement system (society, individuals, employers and markets).

Webcasts typically attract from 50 to 100 different "locations," and we estimate that this translates to about 200 participants per webcast. From the feedback we receive, it appears that many firms (both large and small) appreciate the webcasts as a very cost–effective method for delivering information to both actuaries and students. If 10 colleagues congregate in a conference room to view a webcast, the presentation is cheaper per person than a trip to the movies!

We welcome suggestions for future webcasts, and feedback on those that have already taken place. Please feel free to contact me with your ideas.

Anne Button, FSA, MAAA, is chair of the Pension Section Continuing Education Team. She works for Deloitte Consulting in Boston, Mass.