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SOA at Work

The SOA At Work

SOA Expands International Outreach

IN THIS MONTH'S COLUMN, we explore a few of the SOA's recent efforts in international outreach. International activities are nothing new for the SOA, but we are, perhaps, focusing more attention in this area now than in the recent past.

The SOA is an international organization and the largest actuarial professional society in the world. Currently, slightly more than 10 percent of SOA members list their primary address outside the United States or Canada, our two founding countries of origin. The SOA administers its examinations each year in more than 49 countries, in addition to the United States and Canada. Finally, many of the SOA's members find themselves practicing and pursuing their professional interests in countries throughout the world. I recently attended the Biennial Convention in Sydney of the Institute of Actuaries of Australia and was struck by how many times SOA President Cecil Bykerk or I was approached by individuals from around the world with questions or comments about the SOA. I encountered people working with students pursuing our exams or building a new actuarial organization in places as diverse as Thailand and Bahrain, who were deeply interested in the SOA's activities and decisions. Cecil and I participated in a unique discussion about the global financial crisis, hosted by the IAA(ust) that included participants from New Zealand, Bahrain, Singapore, the United Kingdom, Thailand, Malaysia, Hong Kong and, of course, Australia and the United States.

The SOA has a special opportunity and responsibility to offer leadership to the worldwide profession. The SOA's strategic plan recognizes this role, calling on us to, "develop long-term partnerships/relationships with actuarial and other professional organizations globally." We're doing that by taking a very active role in International Actuarial Association (IAA) activities; administering our examinations around the world; considering and negotiating toward an international enterprise risk management credential (to be the CERA); developing new joint ventures with selected partners in Australia and the United Kingdom; developing new electronic forms of continuing education that can be used by members anywhere in the world; and hosting professional development programs in locations around the world.

These are important ventures and examples of the SOA meeting its obligations to our members living and practicing around the world. The world really is getting smaller by the day, and our members need the SOA to take a leading role in developing the global profession. This month's column shows we're doing just that!

–SOA Executive Director Greg Heidrich


Planning is underway for the next international Living to 100 Symposium to be held Jan. 5–7, 2011 in Orlando, Fla. Thought leaders from around the world will once again gather to share ideas and knowledge on aging, changes in survival rates and their impact on society, and observed and projected increases in aging populations. Please view the call for papers by visiting


With President Cecil Bykerk being a long-time volunteer for the International Actuarial Association (IAA), international outreach has taken a front seat at the SOA. Through our involvement with the IAA and with fellow U.S. organizations, the SOA has been an active participant at recent discussions dealing with financial risk management, solvency and education. One project recently undertaken by the IAA has been an effort to identify methods to assist smaller associations and countries with a less developed actuarial education approach. Toward that end, the SOA partnered with the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries in the United Kingdom (collectively known as UKAP or the UK Actuarial Profession) and the Institute of Actuaries of Australia to submit a tri-branded proposal. This proposal utilizes elements from the education systems from all three associations. Our joint proposal may be incorporated into a larger business plan which the IAA can then use to seek funding from agencies such as the World Bank.

The SOA is working with the Institute of Actuaries of Australia to develop a jointly published text, Understanding Actuarial Management, for use in Australia's actuarial control cycle course and the SOA's Fundamentals of Actuarial Practice e-Learning course–a requirement for the ASA designation.

The SOA's International Section has also been hard at work, engaging its members via a recent survey. The Section identified several topics of interest to its members for professional development opportunities. In addition, this August will mark the second time that the Fellowship Admissions Course will be offered in Hong Kong. This type of local presence represents part of the efforts we are making to recognize the growing number of members and students joining us from outside of the United States and Canada. Our e-Learning infrastructure, initially created for our basic education program and now being expanded for professional development purposes, allows us to bring quality education products to anyone in any part of the globe, with the only requirement being access to the Internet. That capacity makes us ideally suited to welcome individuals from around the world.


CNBC HAS FSA ON THREE PROGRAMS Frank Todisco explained the condition of state and local pension plans, as well as options to improve pension funding levels.

TREASURY & RISK ARTICLE FEATURES COMMENTS FROM FSA The magazine interviewed Max Rudolph for a piece about compensation for chief risk officers.

CANADIAN NATIONAL ADVISORY BOARD NAMES CERA TO TOP 40 LIST The Board selected Barbara Zvan for its "Top 40 under 40" list.

MIAMI HERALD COLUMN CITES DATA FROM SOA.ORG The Herald's "Action Line" responded to a question about longevity with information from

BEST'S REVIEW REFERENCES SOA ERM PRINCIPLES An article about how Assurant keeps risks at bay featured the SOA Guiding Principles to ERM.

To view all of these articles, visit and click on Actuaries in the News.


Sept. 7–9
InterContinental Grand Stanford
Hong Kong

Sept. 21–23
Hyatt Regency Coconut Point
Bonita Springs, FL

Sept. 23–24
Hyatt Regency Coconut Point
Bonita Springs, FL

Sept. 24–25
Hilton Anaheim
Anaheim, CA

Oct. 8–9
The Blackstone Hotel
Chicago, IL

Oct. 12–13
The Westin Copley Place
Boston, MA

Oct. 25–28
Boston Marriott Copley Place and
The Westin Copley Place
Boston, MA