March 2015

Letter from the Chair

By Ben Kester

ben-kester Welcome to the first issue of CompAct in 2015 and to another year of excellence from the Technology Section. Engaging young actuaries is a major goal for this year. Technology is one of the professional arenas where youth can be an asset. Though it may be intimidating to get involved in sections, don’t let that discourage you from trying. We get to volunteer with some of the brightest minds around—who also happen to be some of the most welcoming people you will meet.

What do you need to get involved? Not much, just an interest in actuarial technology, some free time, and, most importantly, a curious mind. That is as broad as it sounds.

You will find your involvement worthwhile. The old cliché of “you get what you put into it” is particularly true here. If you are frustrated with the corporate hierarchy, you will be pleasantly surprised with a more horizontal structure, and before you know it, you may have some big responsibilities. Volunteering for the Technology Section is also an excellent way to bridge the experience gap between your current and future work responsibilities. Relationships you build here will carry over through any job changes.

If you’re still reading, you want to participate. Here are three ways to get a taste of being active, ordered by time commitment. Of course, this is not limited to young actuaries.

  • 1.Ask a question. Find us on LinkedIn and ask us anything. We are active online and will respond to posts. You can also email a CompAct editor to request or submit a topic that would benefit you.
  • 2.Write an article for CompAct. Give it a shot. I never wrote anything to be published before this newsletter, and now there are two columns. If I can do it …
  • 3.Apply to become a Friend of the Section. Careful, you may get hooked.

Now it’s time to learn a little bit about me, so grab a cup of coffee and sit back and relax while I introduce myself. My name is Ben Kester, and I’m the chair of the Technology Section for 2015. After three years at The Segal Company valuing multiemployer pensions, I ventured into the nontraditional world. The journey started with CFA test prep and eventually led to leading software development at Coaching Actuaries, my current role. I am looking forward to the growth and richness of this year’s CompAct newsletter and hope to meet many of you along the road.

Ben Kester, FSA, MAAA, Technology and Research, Coaching Actuaries. He can be contacted at