Table of Contents
Phase 1: Gathering Information
Members, candidates, employers, industry leaders and volunteers shared opinions about trends, the actuarial skill set and opportunities for actuaries. Feedback-both positive and constructive-was gathered through the work of the Strategic Planning Task Force, the Strategic Vision Listening Tour and a member panel survey.
The information collected covered a wide range of topics, from economic and social forces shaping insurance, pensions and health care, to how the profession can continue to recruit strong candidates. As a result, four themes emerged: big data and predictive analytics, regulatory environment, actuarial skill set and strategic thinking.
Find an overviewof the Task Force's findings and read the research summary.
Tapping into Big Data, Predictive Analytics
The rise of big data and predictive analytics was identified as the number one trend driving the profession-and the number one opportunity-but also the area where actuaries need to catch up.
Adjusting to Changing Regulatory Environment
Actuaries are struggling to keep up with changing regulatory requirements, and the evolving regulatory frameworks are driving new reporting and analysis.
Promoting the Value of the Actuarial Skill Set
The actuarial skill set is not well understood by the public, employers, regulators and policymakers. The public does not think of actuaries as major players in risk management, and actuaries are not seen as the profession that can go beyond finding the data relationships.
Encouraging Actuaries to Think Strategically
The profession continues to be criticized for-and to be self-critical of-its communication skills. Some members suggested incorporating more business skills into the actuarial credentialing process. Actuaries need to make recommendations, and support those recommendations, rather than providing options for others to make decisions. Actuaries need to think about how the insights are applied in the business context, not just lines of business or segments of an organization.
Phase 2: Understanding Necessary Changes
The second step was to consider what changes were necessary based on what the task force heard from candidates, members, employers and other stakeholders. Once the task force understood the necessary changes, it could then develop the objectives for the 2017-2021 Strategic Plan.
There were four themes for changes:
The SOA has a growing membership outside of the U.S. and Canada. To serve those members, the first change identified was bringing the SOA to stakeholders around the globe, through services tailored to the needs of candidates, members, employers and other stakeholders in particular regions. The second change identified was to bring the globe to SOA members, recognizing the need for most members-regardless of where they live and practice-to build a global perspective so they are able to contribute to discussions on global business, market trends and regulation.
Actuarial Skill Set
The third identified change is to sharpen the actuarial skill set to incorporate new and evolving techniques, such as predictive analytics. Also, the actuaries' skill set should help them develop and communicate solutions to complex financial issues. The fourth identified change highlights helping to grow the profession's knowledge base through research that focuses on emerging issues facing the industries where actuaries work.
Influence of Actuaries and the Profession
Positioning actuaries to succeed in new and expanded roles is the fifth identified change. This includes incorporating new skill sets and promoting, to employers, what actuaries can achieve. The sixth identified change involves continuing to inform the public through data-driven research on important societal issues (e.g., retirement, health care, climate change).
In its conversations with members, candidates and stakeholders, the task force heard often that the SOA wasn't responding quickly enough to external changes. The task force set the seventh change as the establishment of a timely process for identifying, analyzing and responding to environment changes. Finally, the task force also continued to hear concerns about relationships with other actuarial organizations; the eighth identified change was to continue to pursue mutually beneficial partnerships with other organizations that increase value to the profession's stakeholders.
Phase 3: Share Exposure Draft
About the Draft 2017-21 Strategy Map
Through education and research, the SOA advances actuaries as leaders in measuring and managing risk to improve financial outcomes for individuals, organizations and the public.
Actuaries are highly sought-after professionals who develop and communicate solutions for complex financial issues.
As the final step in the completion of the strategic plan, the plan was exposed to members for comment in July and August 2016. Member comments were an important part of the process, as the SOA uses a strategic plan to guide our decisions as we pursue our mission. The strategic plan focuses the SOA's initiatives and investment of resources to meet our stakeholders' needs.
The plan reaffirms that the mission of the SOA is to advance actuaries as leaders in the measurement and management of risk. By doing so, the SOA can achieve its vision of actuaries as highly sought-after professionals who provide solutions to complex financial issues. The SOA seeks to accomplish this goal by helping our members, candidates and stakeholders build knowledge and perspective . This will increase both the insight of actuaries' into business and societal issues and the influence of individual members and the profession as these challenges are discussed and decisions are made.
The proposed plan makes several recommendations that will change the focus of the SOA:
- Improve actuaries' communication skills, focusing on provision of recommendations and solutions, not just options.
- Incorporate predictive analytics into education as a key new skill set for actuaries.
- Push the SOA to be more nimble in our response to the changing economic and financial environment in which actuaries work
- Reflect the changing global economy through targeted support of our non-North American stakeholders and by ensuring all members have relevant global perspectives
- Promote effective relationships with other actuarial organizations to meet stakeholder needs.
To fulfill our mission and achieve our vision, the SOA will focus on five objectives:
- Shape our education system to anticipate and adapt more quickly to the changing needs of members, candidates and the stakeholders they serve.
- Provide services to international stakeholders appropriately tailored to meet their needs, while recognizing the presence of national actuarial associations and other international bodies.
- Ensure members' global perspectives and knowledge meet the needs of employers and ensure continued relevance in an evolving global economy.
- Use data and model-driven research to provide insight to the industry and the public on important societal issues.
- Cultivate a diverse membership and ensure opportunities for members in new and existing roles in traditional and nontraditional industries. An initial focus for this objective will be to ensure members have a strong understanding of predictive analytics and of how this skill set can be applied to solve business problems.
To achieve this, the SOA will ensure that we are able to identify, analyze and prioritize our response to changing environments; increase the efficiency of decision-making and resource allocation; and work with other organizations to identify mutually beneficial stakeholder objectives.
Learn about the SOA 2017 Strategic Initiatives.
Read more about the strategic map.