On a recent E&R Section Council call, the council unanimously agreed that the SOA should recognize the waivers that the CIA grants for credit for preliminary examinations to students who earn them in Canadian universities under their University Accreditation Program, provided that the SOA has an active role in the oversight of the accreditation program. The full text of our recommendation to the SOA Board of Directors is below. I encourage each of you to read it, and to voice your opinions on our E&R linked-In group.
The following Members of the Education and Research Section Council and Friends of the Council recommend to the SOA Board that the SOA recognize the waivers that the Canadian Institute of Actuaries (CIA) grants for credit for preliminary examinations to students under their University Accreditation Program (UAP), provided that the SOA has an active role in the oversight of the accreditation program.
Our rationale for this recommendation is based on the following considerations:
- The CIA has implemented the University Accreditation Program. The decision the SOA Board faces in response to that is a question of whether or not the SOA should recognize preliminary examination credits students in Canadian universities earn through the UAP. Canadian universities have a long-standing tradition of education and scholarship. We believe that the risk of inappropriately qualified candidates gaining exemption from some preliminary examinations is limited. Recognizing preliminary examination waivers for students who attain them in major Canadian universities through the UAP does not imply that approach should be implemented in the U.S., and we do not recommend extending this approach beyond Canada without considerable due diligence.
- The SOA strategic plan calls for an increasingly global membership. In the interest of being global the SOA must recognize national differences, and should be open to alternative educational methods employed in different countries, provided they do not diminish the value of the SOA credentials. Indeed, the SOA already recognizes this by granting waivers for SOA examinations for credits granted by the UK and Australian actuarial organizations, provided those credits were acquired through accredited university programs.
- The Canadian UAP program only grants credits to top performing students in accredited actuarial programs in major Canadian universities. The CIA appears to be implementing a robust system of oversight, similar to the UK and Australian processes. We feel that the risk of devaluing the SOA credential through recognition of CIA credits is extremely low. Furthermore, this risk could be monitored and controlled through SOA involvement in the accreditation process.
- U.S. and Canadian actuaries have a long term special relationship in the SOA. We feel the risk of damaging this relationship and losing Canadian members and volunteers over the long run far outweighs any risk from allowing preliminary examination credits. This is especially true given the SOA strategic plan to be a more global organization.
Thank you for your consideration of this recommendation.
SOA Education and Research Section Council Members:
Ian G. Duncan
Friends of the Council
Jeff Beckley (former E&R Section Council Member; Board
Sarah Christiansen (3 term E&R Section Council Member,
Chuck Fuhrer (former E&R Section Council Member, past
Ron Gebhardtsbauer (former E&R Section Council Member,
Mary Hardy (former E&R Section Council Member, past Chair,
former Board Partner)