Accomplishments of 2013-16 Plan
The SOA's Strategic Plan guides the SOA's decisions and the organization's strategic direction. As we prepare to launch the 2017-2021 Strategic Plan, we are taking a look back to show our members how the SOA has changed and moved forward as an organization since the implementation of the 2013-2016 Strategic Plan.
Annually the SOA Board adopts a package of strategic initiatives. The initiatives propel the SOA forward; accomplishing the vision of the strategic plan.
Outlined below are the strategic initiatives established since the implementation of the 2013-2016 Strategic Plan. Click below to find out how these initiatives carried forward the work of the current strategic plan.
- CANDIDATE: Enhanced Relationships with Candidates
- MEMBERS: Helping Members Respond to Changes in the Regulatory Environment
- POLICYMAKERS & REGULATORS: Research Data Strategy; Definition of SOA Public Policy Research Strategy
- PUBLIC: Public Pension Plans and Reputational Risk
- CIA University Accreditation Program
- Credentials Strategy
- General Insurance
- Learning Strategy
- Experience Study Strategy
- Opportunities for Actuaries
- International Growth and Development
- Member Engagement
- Relationships with other Actuarial Organizations
- Governance Review
Enhanced Relationships with Candidates
A key element of the SOA's strategic plan is to explore and develop programs to strengthen and deepen candidates' relationships with the SOA. To that end, the SOA developed the SOA Candidate Connect newsletter, sponsors Candidate Connect networking opportunities, and participates in student conferences, such as the Actuarial Students National Association convention. During 2016, we are creating an online candidate/student community and will train volunteers for the University Outreach program.
Helping Members Respond to Changes in the Regulatory Environment
SOA members continually note in member surveys that their greatest professional challenge is responding to changes in the regulatory environment. In response, the SOA is developing a Web-based resource that will contain a cultivated list of recently-released regulations and related materials. Sections will be designing and launching this resource during 2016.
Research Data Strategy
The SOA Board elected to make data-driven research a permanent part of the SOA research program. The program was expanded to: 1) Add additional staff to build on and improve the U.S. retirement models; 2) Add a contract-based Canadian researcher to work with publicly available data in Canada; and, 3) Hire staff to conduct data-driven research on U.S. health care.
Definition of SOA Public Policy Research Strategy
The SOA created guidelines for the selection of research projects, researchers, oversight groups, and independent reviews to cover its public policy research. It also developed a statement about its role in public policy research to be published in its research reports.
Public Pension Plans & Reputational Risk
The SOA Board assembled the Blue Ribbon Panel of senior retirement and public pension experts outside the profession to address and determine the causes of public pension underfunding and to offer suggestions to improve public plan funding and disclosure. The Blue Ribbon Panel published its report in February 2014 and the Actuarial Standards Board (ASB) is currently reviewing whether there is a need for revised Actuarial Standards of Practice (ASOPs) for actuaries working in public sector pension plans.
The SOA Board is developing a framework to understand what drives the value of SOA credentials in an effort to preserve and enhance their value.
The rapid growth in the general insurance market-due to accelerated globalization and increasingly interconnected risk-pointed to the need for the SOA to offer a general insurance credential that provided a solid grounding in the full breadth of actuarial practice. In 2013, the SOA developed and began offering a General Insurance Track to candidates.
The 2013-2016 Strategic Plan vision statement states the SOA will be "the leading provider of globally recognized credentials establishing actuaries as business leaders who measure and manage risk to support financial security for individuals, organizations and the public." To bring this to life, the SOA Board developed an education philosophy and adopted 11 learning strategy projects to be completed during subsequent years. Most recently, the SOA Board approved a pilot certificate program in predictive analytics that will be launched to members in 2017.
Experience Study Strategy
The SOA's Experience Study strategy was established to ensure the SOA was conducting the appropriate studies using the appropriate processes. As a result, the SOA 1) Established a partnership with a statistical agent to ensure that data would continue to be available 2) Shifted processes for experience studies to use more hired researchers with volunteer project oversight to increase speed to completion and quality; 3) Developed a protocol to move into international experience studies when the opportunity presents itself; and 4) Performed a legal audit of experience study processes.
Opportunities for Actuaries
To maintain the relevance of the SOA credential, the SOA works to understand where opportunities for actuaries exist, focuses on roles where actuaries can use their skill sets in new and expanding ways,and takes advantage of new techniques/technologies to prepare actuaries for new career responsibilities. In 2016, the program is focusing on: 1) Increasing member awareness of, and employer understanding of, actuaries' role in predictive analytics; 2) Assessing opportunities for actuaries in risk management roles inside and outside of traditional industries; and 3) Expanding the summer internship pilot program to place seven actuarial candidates (university students) in internship roles outside of traditional industries.
International Growth and Development:
The SOA's international growth and development strategy is focused on determining the organization's regional focus, and for those regions, developing programs and content for stakeholders. In 2012, the SOA decided to prioritize international focus on China, Asia (excluding China), and Latin America. Strategies developed focus on professional development programs, networking events, university visits, and research programs.
The SOA developed several new member benefits for sections. The SOA also focused on four ways to improved member engagement beyond sections by: 1) Creating a member engagement index to understand how members are currently engaging with the SOA; 2) Creating a smoother transition from candidate to member; 3) Building an open source volunteer tool to improve transparency of volunteer opportunities; and 4) Building stronger relationships with regional actuarial clubs.
Relationships with Other Actuarial Organizations
The SOA Board is focused on understanding strategies and activities of key actuarial organizations. The board is focusing on relationships with key actuarial organizations in Canada, China, the U.K. and the U.S. Through 2016, the board invited leaders from five organizations to present to the board and discuss how the organizations can best work together to achieve the profession's objectives.
The Board accepted new governance recommendations, including a recommendation to eliminate the vice president office, limit the presidential term to three years, and reduce the number of elected Board members to 15, for a total Board size of 18. The Board approved the bylaws amendments and the members approved the elimination of the vice president office in a bylaw vote in August 2015.