Photograph: Hyon Smith
It’s been my privilege to help bring the 2017–2021 Society of Actuaries (SOA) Strategic Plan to life through our ongoing strategic efforts. October 2016 marked both the start of my presidency with the SOA and the approval of the strategic plan. In my past president’s letters in The Actuary, I’ve discussed predictive analytics, member participation, professional development and, most recently, our global efforts. All of these topics directly connect to and align with our strategic plan. It truly does guide the SOA Board with our decisions as we support you—the membership—and help advance the actuarial profession.
To paraphrase our strategic vision, we strive for actuaries to be highly sought-after professionals who develop and communicate solutions for complex financial issues. As our strategic mission notes, our organization provides members with research and education to help measure and manage risk to improve financial outcomes for companies and the public. So how are we bringing this plan to life?
Thus far in 2017, we have taken on several activities as part of the strategic plan. We have looked at our knowledge and perspectives, insight and influence, as well as our organizational capabilities. For instance, we are focusing on our educational and research offerings, the building of our intellectual capital, the promotion of the profession and how we support the future of the profession.
I’ve spoken a lot about predictive analytics, and I’m glad to see the continued effort and interest from our members and candidates. There’s the Predictive Analytics Certificate Pilot Program that concludes later this year, and from there the SOA Board will decide on next steps with this type of professional development offering. For the future of the profession, we announced and rolled out the curriculum changes for candidates pursuing the associate designation. Parts of these changes reflect the growing need for experts in working with data analytics, an area perfect for actuaries to lead.
During the past few months, we have ramped up planning for future strategic research programs and have helped narrow down which key industry and societal issues to focus on for the next three to five years. We’re currently identifying and reviewing potential research ideas, and I look forward to seeing the potential projects and their outcomes to advance the profession.
Another example of how the SOA is supporting its strategic plan involves staying ahead of potential issues and identifying new opportunities. At the SOA Board and staff level, we have a new process for enhanced environmental scanning and decision governance. These improvements help expand our abilities to find, assess and make decisions involving critical trends that affect the organization and process. We aim to act efficiently and strategically with our decision-making processes.
Additionally, we seek new ideas on how we approach curriculum development and professional development for candidates and members outside of the United States and Canada. It is an ongoing process, and it will take time to ensure we make the best decisions on how we adapt our education efforts for the international markets.
My final example of 2017 initiatives that support the strategic plan is CAA Global. It is the public interest joint venture we formed with the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (IFoA). CAA Global oversees and promotes the certified actuarial analyst (CAA) qualification around the world. We have taken on these efforts to help individuals who work with actuaries to obtain sound technical skills.
We will continue to provide updates on these initiatives and our continued efforts in bringing the strategic plan to life through the next several years. I urge you to learn more about how the strategic plan was built, what it outlines and how we use it.