The Actuary Magazine October 2004 - Welcome Letter

Welcome Letter

by Shirley Hwei-Chung Shao, FSA

On behalf of the SOA Board of Governors, welcome to The Actuary magazine!

We're very excited about this new publication and happy to have played a part in helping members get the content they need. We hope you'll share in our excitement and send your comments and suggestions to

This is an important step in a major publications revamp effort that began two years ago when the Board Advisory Group on Publications (BAGP) identified the need for a strategic review of all SOA publications. While SOA publications were providing important membership value, each had undergone gradual changes, that tended to make them less effective than they could be. It was clear that an overall publications review was in order to ensure balanced, consistent and comprehensive offerings continued to be available.

This review would also address the best way to utilize advancements in technology (e.g., the Internet and the SOA Web site development) for distributing information to our members. Of course, a positive side effect of being effective communicators to our members is the enhancement of the image of actuaries in general.

Based on feedback from members, the BAGP and SOA publications staff determined that:

  • Some content was missing from our publication offering (e.g., practical information, market trends, career opportunities, SOA Board activities and management skill development).
  • News information needs to be provided on a timely basis.
  • Content should be balanced by practice areas.
  • Our Web site should enhance and supplement publication efforts.
  • The look and feel of some publications should be enhanced.

We think The Actuary and companion SOA News Today are an important step towards addressing these issues. In addition, we hope you agree that the redesigned SOA Web site is more user friendly and valuable as a result of its redesign.

The BAGP and SOA staff will continue working to improve the publications lineup. One possibility that is currently being explored is providing members with papers featuring practical information that can be quickly digested and used in the workplace. These papers would vary in topic and they could be delivered via the Web site or in print.

Practical papers of this type could also promote the exchange of practical knowledge, practices and actuarial processes.

We would also like to increase the amount of examination and career-related information available to ASAs. This is an area that we hope the newly formed Young Actuaries Section will take up and address in their section newsletter.

The success of any magazine depends on participation from its readers. In that light, we ask that you share your thoughts and ideas so that we can continue to deliver fresh and relevant content in each and every issue.


Shirley Hwei-Chung Shao, FSA
Board Advisory Group on Publications