Bits and Pieces

Bits & Pieces

SOA Board Approves Code of Conduct for Candidates

The Society of Actuaries' (SOA) Board of Directors has taken steps to maintain the value of its credentials by approving the implementation of a Code of Conduct for Candidates at its October 2008 Board Meeting. The Code requires that actuarial candidates who are not yet members of the SOA adhere to the high standards of conduct of the actuarial profession.

The impetus for the Code of Conduct for Candidates arose following recent examples of candidates falsely representing exam status and results to employers. While rules governing a candidate's behavior within the SOA's Education system are already in place and members must adhere to the Code of Professional Conduct, a non–member candidate was not specifically bound by an actuarial code for ethical behavior within professional relationships.

Other actuarial organizations also provide professional guidelines for actuarial candidates. The Institute of Actuaries and the Institute of Actuaries of Australia require that candidates apply for student membership before sitting for any exams. Student members are charged a membership fee and are then bound by the membership rules of the organization as they begin to take exams. While the CAS maintains a membership structure very similar to the SOA, they also implemented a code of professional ethics for candidates in January of 2008.

The SOA Code of Conduct for Candidates became effective Dec. 1, 2008. SOA candidates are required to agree to adhere to the code when registering for any of the components of the Education system. It is believed that this new policy will help to further support the fine reputation of the profession.


In "Obesity: What It Means for Actuaries" (The Actuary, October/November 2008), Sam Gutterman provides a sweeping and insightful look at obesity, particularly its behavioral drivers and sometimes unclear contribution to mortality experience. Extensive citing of all available research would have gone well beyond the scope of his well–written article. It should be noted however that an actual study of insured lives mortality has been performed on body mass index (BMI) recently, the only such study since the seminal 1980 SOA Build Study. The Mortality & Morbidity Liaison Committee of the SOA/AAIM/AHOU used its Impairment Study Capture System for a study spanning issues of 1989–2003 (Journal of Insurance Medicine, October 2006). The study found that standardized mortality ratios (vs. 2001 VBT) rose quite modestly as BMI increased up until reaching severe obesity. Nonsmoker ratios tended to be higher than that of smokers but no other underwriting factor of significance impacted the pattern of ratios as BMI increased. The complete study can be found at

Brad Roudebush, FSA, MAAA, chair, Mortality & Morbidity Liaison Committee


This notice is published pursuant to Article XIII of the By–Laws of the Society of Actuaries.

The SOA's Committee on Discipline (COD) reviewed a referral from the Actuarial Board for Counseling and Discipline (ABCD) and determined to impose discipline on Gerald J. Rankin, FSA. Mr. Rankin appealed that determination and on Aug. 21, 2008, the SOA's Appellate Tribunal unanimously voted to uphold the COD's determination and to publicly reprimand Gerald J. Rankin for material violations of:

  • Precept 1 of the 2001 SOA Code of Professional Conduct (2001 Code);
  • Precept 13 of the 2001 Code and Precept 14 of the 1993 SOA Code of Professional Conduct (1993 Code);
  • Precept 14 of the 2001 Code.

Violations of Precept 1 related to inaccurate statements made in some letters to insurance departments. Violations of Precept 13 related to Mr. Rankin's failure to make the ABCD aware of work performed by another actuary that Mr. Rankin believed was not performed in accordance with the 1993 Code and/or the 2001 Code. Violations of Precept 14 related to Mr. Rankin's failure to cooperate fully with the ABCD investigator.

All members of the SOA are reminded that when they are faced with potential issues regarding professional conduct, the ABCD is available for counseling.