October 2020 SOA Board of Directors Meeting Recap and Outcomes
Schaumburg, IL (November 2, 2020) – The Society of Actuaries (SOA) Board of Directors (Board) hosted their fall meeting virtually to review important new proposals related to the Long-Term Growth Strategy (LTGS), as well as to review and to approve the 2021 Budget and continue their consideration of ideas to continue strengthening the Society’s governance.
The organization’s LTGS is being developed to address the critical challenges and opportunities facing the actuarial profession and, in response, to support and grow the future of the profession and the SOA. The developing strategy focuses on key challenges including the rise of data science, how artificial intelligence (AI) is changing the nature of work, changes in the nature of skill development and credentialing, rising growth opportunities outside North America, and emerging needs for member engagement and community building. The SOA will address these trends and challenges organization wide through a series of initiatives focused on Education, International Development, Research, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and Professional Development & Engagement.
In Education, the Board discussed possible approaches to further develop a more flexible education system that meets demands for actuarial knowledge in AI and its subfields data science, machine learning and deep learning. The approaches aim at providing candidates with additional opportunities to enhance their emotional intelligence (EQ) and adaptability (AQ) skills. Discussion included possible ways to provide candidates with tangible recognition of achievements for subsets of the current and future pathways.
The Board approved a plan to expand the SOA’s international presence with increasingly localized services, staff and resources in key international markets. The SOA International Committee will continue to explore and experiment with opportunities in emerging markets where greater presence is needed.
In Research, the SOA will continue its path to build greater capacity in house for experience studies. We will be working on best practices to evaluate and work with external research sponsors or partners, similar to work in 2020 on modeling health care costs post-COVID, which was supported by a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Working with SOA Education, Research will also be increasingly focused on finding ways to ensure SOA research projects can be incorporated into our syllabi and professional development education programs.
The Board approved the creation of a new Affiliate Membership program for students, candidates and other student career influencers. Responding to changes in how and when students learn of the profession and make a decision to pursue it, the new program will offer expert guidance on career development and resources to strengthen engagement with the SOA and the profession.
“I am proud of the steps we’re taking as part of the Long-Term Growth Strategy, preparing for and embracing the future for strengthening our great profession,” said 2019-2020 SOA President Andrew D. Rallis, FSA, MAAA. “These efforts approved by the Board include more flexibility with education and learning, different ways to get candidates and members involved, and new efforts supporting diversity, equity and inclusion.”
The Board approved the creation of new SOA Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Committee to focus on SOA DEI interests. This committee will be supported by a newly created staff position at the SOA. The Committee will work with staff and the Board to develop the SOA’s DE&I strategy, create and promote programs to encourage diversity in the profession, and measure results of these efforts. The Committee will also liaison with the SOA’s important, ongoing efforts with the Casualty Actuarial Society through the SOA/CAS Joint Committee for Inclusion, Equity and Diversity (JCIED). Other initial efforts planned by the SOA include training in DE&I topics for SOA staff and key volunteers; a planned expansion of our support for partner organizations such as the International Association of Black Actuaries, the Organization of Latino Actuaries, and The Actuarial Foundation; and an expansion of the existing exam fee reimbursement program for candidates of color or Indigenous Peoples.
And another engagement program was approved by the Board to pilot test a new community engagement model. The pilot project aims to create increased opportunities for members to engage in professional communities and information communities of interest. The expectation is that this new model will result in more member involvement, greater leadership opportunities, and increased flexibility for new groups to arise as new issues and areas of interest appear.
“I welcome both the challenge and opportunity to bring these strategic ideas to fruition, from education and research to working more closely in the communities where we live and serve,” said 2020-2021 SOA President Roy Goldman, Ph.D., FSA, MAAA, CERA. “I encourage members to consider volunteering to help carry out these ideas – from getting students interested in the profession to writing and grading exam questions to producing and reviewing research. We need you now more than ever to elevate the profession for today and the ever-changing tomorrow..”
The Board also reviewed the LTGS communication plan to ensure stakeholders are well-informed throughout the various phases of the process and are provided forums and opportunities to share questions and feedback.
The SOA Board reviewed and approved the 2021 budget and a small increase in the membership dues reflecting ongoing operating costs and the Board’s approach of approving small, regular increases rather than larger, ad-hoc changes. The 2021 budget will fund the ongoing operations of the SOA, as well as investments being made in the ongoing LTGS programs and initiatives. The 2021 dues increase is $20 FSA and five-year ASA and $10 for ASA’s with fewer than five years. The SOA’s 2021 budget calls for operating revenue in 2021 of $57.5 million U.S. with expenses of $54.9 million, but both amounts are subject to uncertainty due to the continuing effects of the pandemic.
Leadership Team Appointments, Outgoing Board Members, New Board Members
The SOA Leadership Team serves as a critical committee of the SOA Board, providing oversight on a variety of operational matters and inter-organizational relationships. In addition to the three Presidential officers and the Executive Director (non-voting), the Leadership Team includes two other Board members appointed to serve on the Leadership Team. During this meeting, the Board approved the following Leadership Team appointments:
- Secretary/Treasurer: Flick Fornia, FSA, MAAA, EA, FCA; and
- Member-At-Large: Sara Teppema, FSA, MAAA
The Board recognized the service of outgoing Board members whose terms have ended, including:
- Past President, James Glickman, FSA, MAAA, CLU;
- Sue Blanck, FSA, MAAA;
- Christine Hofbeck, FSA;
- Wendy C. Liang, FSA, CERA;
- Terry M. Long, FSA, MAAA;
- David K. Sandberg, FSA, CERA, MAAA, FCA
Greg Heidrich, SOA Chief Executive Officer, noted, “I want to thank all of the Board members for their dedication to help build and strengthen our path forward as an organization through the Long-Term Growth Strategy. And I want to welcome the incoming Board members who I know will help carry on these critical efforts to advance the SOA and the profession.”
Incoming Board members attending and observing this meeting for the first time (followed by their ascension to the Board at the end of the 2020 Annual Meeting) included:
- President-elect, Jennifer Gillespie, FSA, MAAA;
- Arpita Das, FSA;
- Josée Deroy, FSA, MAAA, CFA
- Amanda Hug, FSA, MAAA;
- Nazir Valani, FSA, FCIA, MAAA; and
- Ying Zhao, FSA, MAAA
About the SOA
With roots dating back to 1889, the Society of Actuaries (SOA) is the world’s largest actuarial professional organization with more than 31,000 actuaries as members. Through research and education, the SOA's mission is to advance actuarial knowledge and to enhance the ability of actuaries to provide expert advice and relevant solutions for financial, business and societal challenges. The SOA's vision is for actuaries to be the leading professionals in the measurement and management of risk. Visit soa.org.