Stronger As One: An Update from the CAS and SOA Presidents
Thank you for your continued interest as we explore a combination of the CAS and SOA into one new professional organization that has the scale and resources to support members' efforts to shape and grow the areas in which actuaries practice. We're committed to keeping you informed on this journey and welcome your feedback along the way.
On October 5, the CAS and SOA Boards of Directors discussed details of the combination proposal. The meeting was a productive opportunity to gather leaders' feedback since our September 26 announcement, answer questions, and dive deeper into the potential benefits of combining our best practices and operations into one new organization. As discussions continue, the next milestone is for both Boards to vote on the proposal. If both Boards vote in favor, fellows from both organizations will vote in early 2019.
We hope you will be joining us for the webcast on October 9 or an upcoming town hall to learn more about the proposal. In the meantime, we'd like to share more details about the proposed governance structure and unified education system presented at the October 5 meeting.
Organizational Structure and Governance of a Combined Organization
Working together as one new professional organization to address areas of common interest from different perspectives and avoid duplicating efforts would allow us to operate more efficiently and deploy improved resources to enhance opportunities for members and candidates.
A governing board, with representation from the legacy organizations, would oversee the strategic direction for the organization in fulfilling its vision to establish actuaries as sought-after, highly valued professionals who develop and communicate solutions for challenges involving complex risk and uncertainty. Board oversight would include marketing and branding for the actuarial profession, building collaborative relationships with other actuarial organizations, broad education and research strategies, and the awarding of credentials.
Under the proposed combination, current CAS and SOA members would retain their existing credentials and memberships, and become members of the new organization. All members would belong to one primary practice community, reflecting their education and work role. Each practice community would be led by a practice council elected by members of the practice community. Subject to policies established by the board, the practice councils would have authority for the direction of their practice community, including the community's interests in:
- Credential Requirements: Development of educational learning objectives, curriculum and assessment processes for each Fellowship specialty practice.
- Continuing Education: Development of relevant practice-specific and cross-practice content for meetings, seminars, publications, and other learning opportunities for members.
- Research: Development and promotion of relevant practice-specific and cross-practice research.
Proposed practice communities include:
- Other (a fifth practice community is under consideration that would support actuaries in emerging areas, with its name to be determined)
Unified Education System
One of the potential benefits of combining into one new professional organization is leveraging the best practices from both organizations so actuarial students would learn a common set of core fundamentals, and members and candidates could access rigorous and specialized education tracks and professional development to better prepare for new opportunities.
Per the proposal, basic education would consist of two segments – foundational and specialized knowledge.
- Foundational knowledge would provide content consistent with the current CAS and SOA syllabi. Material would include a general framework for products and related actuarial models, regulation, solvency standards, accounting rules and actuarial methods, with nation-specific examples of the application of this framework.
- Specialized knowledge would include practice-specific and nation-specific content. Specializations would include Individual Life and Annuities, Retirement Benefits, Group and Health, Property/Casualty, Corporate Finance and ERM, and Quantitative Finance and Investment.
While the specific curriculum of the tracks in the unified education system is still to be determined, it is anticipated that the new organization would continue to offer two levels of credentials:
- There would be a single unified path to the initial lower-level credential that would produce actuaries knowledgeable enough to be able to perform some actuarial services independently, without direct supervision. Requirements would include successful completion of foundational knowledge (including VEE materials), satisfactory completion of a professionalism course and three years of relevant experience.
- Fellow – The new organization would continue to award FCAS and FSA designations for the foreseeable future. Once the new organization's education pathway is in place, the FCAS designation would be awarded to members who successfully complete the Property/Casualty specialization; FSA would be awarded to members who successfully complete all other specializations. The new organization's governing Board would determine when to begin offering a newly-named Fellowship designation based on the organization's recognition in the market.
While the new education system and transition rules are developed, the legacy organization's credentials would continue to be awarded based on current requirements. We have developed an infographic, "Proposed Education System', that depicts the proposed education system for members' review.
Since our initial announcement, we have received a lot of questions from members. Members of both organizations recall prior discussions regarding a potential combination of the CAS and SOA that did not move forward, and one of the questions that is top of mind is "Why now?" The short answer is, times have changed. We face competitive challenges from other professions related to data science, and the CAS and SOA Boards of Directors recognize that changes will continue, and that we need to lead – not react – to maintain our competitive edge, embrace new opportunities, and better serve our current and future members. We believe we can unite our knowledge, resources and leadership to better serve our members, prepare candidates and equip employers.
Visit StrongerAsOne.net for More Updates
In the following weeks as discussions continue, we will be sharing details and updating the FAQ regarding more elements of the combination proposal, including:
- Composition of the Board and appointments to leadership positions
- Voting rights for members
- Practice communities and councils
- Education, research and continuing education governing committee structure
- Proposed new operating model
Please continue visiting StrongerAsOne.net for more information throughout the journey. If you have any questions or comments, send them to mail@StrongerAsOne.net, and our team will share responses to frequently asked questions through the website as quickly as possible.
Brian Brown, FCAS, MAAA
2017-2018 CAS President
Mike Lombardi, FSA, CERA, FCIA, MAAA
2017-2018 SOA President