An Open Letter to CAS Members and Candidates Regarding the SOA Decision to Withdraw from Joint Preliminary Actuarial Exams
To: CAS Members and Candidates
From: CAS President Pat Teufel
The Society of Actuaries (SOA) recently announced that its Board approved a proposal to not continue the Joint Preliminary Actuarial Examination Agreement with the Casualty Actuarial Society as of December 31, 2013. As the CAS has been a long-standing partner of the SOA in the preliminary actuarial exams, the decision of the SOA to withdraw from the agreement is disappointing.
The SOA’s action negatively affects one of the most successful, and fundamental, joint activities of the SOA and CAS, and signals a shift by the SOA away from cooperation and collaboration with the other US-based actuarial organizations. While the CAS relationship with the SOA has been strained this year, the CAS remained committed to working toward collaborative solutions to the challenges and opportunities faced by the actuarial profession in the United States. CAS leadership met on several occasions with SOA leadership to explore alternative approaches to address the strategic issues identified by the SOA. The CAS participated with the other US-based actuarial organizations in the U.S. Profession-wide Task Force sponsored by the American Academy of Actuaries. That Task Force recommended that “the organizations identify functions (with consideration of antitrust constraints, if any) that can be made more efficient through collaboration or consolidation and proceed accordingly.” While the SOA participated in this Task Force, the actions of its Board are inconsistent with the recommendations made by the Task Force as well as the spirit underlying the creation of the Task Force.
While the CAS is clearly disappointed by the SOA Board decision to withdraw from the Joint Preliminary Actuarial Examinations Agreement, this action was anticipated. Recognizing the changing dynamics of our relationship with the SOA and the risks it presented to the CAS, your leadership exercised sound risk management practices to systematically identify and prepare for multiple contingencies, including the potential withdrawal of the SOA from the Joint Preliminary Actuarial Examinations Agreement. The future direction for CAS preliminary actuarial education is on the agenda for the CAS Board of Directors meeting scheduled for November 11. We will communicate any decisions as soon as possible following the Board meeting.
The CAS credentialing program is, and will continue to be, the most robust and comprehensive framework for training casualty actuaries. Our educational process is a proven commodity and highly valued around the world by employers and other stakeholders. We are committed to ensuring that the CAS maintain and enhance the value of our credentials.
Remainder of 2012 and 2013:
The CAS will continue to work with the SOA through the conclusion of their notice period of December 31, 2013 to offer high quality preliminary examinations to our actuarial candidates. Candidates currently sitting for preliminary examinations, and those deciding to pursue an actuarial career, should focus on successfully mastering the materials covered in the preliminary exams. No career decisions are required of candidates at this time.
The CAS will continue to support the Joint Preliminary Actuarial Examinations during this period. Countless CAS members provide support and leadership of these exams through the Joint Preliminary Examinations Committees. We thank our CAS members for their past support of this collaborative effort and are confident that our CAS members will remain dedicated to this process throughout the transition.
2014 and Beyond:
Candidates in the early stages of their actuarial careers generally defer their decision to pursue the CAS credentials, over other alternatives, until they obtain their first full-time assignments. The CAS believes that it is desirable to offer CAS candidates a wide variety of options in its admissions program. The CAS policies currently recognize candidates who have passed or received credit for some examinations sponsored by other actuarial organizations that cover the equivalent material in both subject and depth to the CAS curriculum. These organizations include the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (UK), the Actuaries Institute (Australia), the Institute of Actuaries of India and the Canadian Institute of Actuaries. Our Education Policy Committee is currently evaluating the equivalence of preliminary examinations offered by other full member associations of the International Actuarial Association. At its November 11 meeting, the CAS Board will consider waiving examinations for candidates who have passed preliminary examinations sponsored by the SOA, thus leaving CAS candidates a wide range of options for meeting the learning objectives and subject matter covered by our preliminary actuarial education.
Coincident with this effort, the CAS will continue to enhance our basic education to meet the current and emerging needs of employers and other principals. For example, the increased use of predictive models for pricing and capital management demands a more extensive treatment of statistical methods in our actuarial training; the CAS is actively working to enhance the depth and breadth of statistics coverage in our Syllabus of Basic Education.
The CAS will continue to focus on the breadth and depth of materials covered in our higher-level examinations. This will ensure that we maintain a clear differentiation in the quality of our education in preparing our casualty actuaries to bring their technical skills to bear in developing practical solutions to business problems for the property/casualty insurance industry.
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