Photograph: Hyon Smith
Thank you for the opportunity to serve you as president of the Society of Actuaries (SOA). I have enjoyed the chance to meet many of you as I have traveled around the country and the world on behalf of the SOA and the actuarial profession. This year we have focused on the future of our profession. Each project success takes us that much closer to our goal of advancing the actuarial profession.
My biggest goal was to improve relationships with the other actuarial organizations. To that end, we have undertaken numerous co-hosted events, such as the predictive analytics seminar with the Canadian Institute of Actuaries (CIA) and the Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS) in February, and the banking seminar with those two organizations and the Actuarial Society of South Africa in May. Also, we have worked with the CAS, the CIA and the American Academy of Actuaries on the Actuaries Climate Index, which publishes quarterly research on changes in extreme weather events.
We have continued our work on a variety of projects with both the North American Actuarial Council, representing the nine North American actuarial societies; and the International Actuarial Association, which represents 75 actuarial societies from around the world—all with the goal of supporting the actuarial profession. I am glad to have been involved in strengthening our relationships with these other actuarial organizations.
Another priority was to identify ways the SOA can enhance your member experience. You have heard me talk about how vital that will be for current and future generations of our profession. On the education front, we have added predictive analytics into our basic education and developed a predictive analytics certificate for our continuing professional development program. We are currently testing new concepts in learning, such as the Long-Term Care Tech Summit in November. It is essential to develop new learning concepts, and I am pleased to see us take on these projects.
Also, we have started work on three initiatives specifically aimed at our members. The first initiative is a task force to enhance our members’ professional development experience. The second initiative is the creation of a digital app designed for mobile devices. The third one is a task force to increase engagement with our millennial FSAs. Surprisingly, at least to me, is the fact that millennials now represent more than 45 percent of our fellows.
My other major priority was to explore ways to expand employment opportunities for actuaries. While this does not happen overnight, I am encouraged by the steps we are taking as an organization and as a profession. As an example, we have formed a task force to examine long-term growth strategies for the actuarial profession. This is in addition to increased communication skills training in both the basic education and continuing professional development offerings. We are looking to develop additional certificate programs aimed at raising other actuarial skill sets. Hopefully, this will enable more actuaries to be sought out for nonactuarial c-level positions among traditional employers, as well as enable actuaries to pioneer actuarial employment at nontraditional employers, such as banking, financial planning, private equity and high tech.
There are two other important SOA initiatives that deserve an update. The SOA has been pursuing a more diverse and inclusive membership for many years through its Inclusion and Diversity Committee. To support both initiatives, we have rolled out the new CAS/SOA Joint Committee for Inclusion, Equity and Diversity (JCIED). This will replace three existing committees, allowing a more concentrated focus on creating opportunities for education, career advancement and leadership within the actuarial profession.
We have also been very supportive of The Actuarial Foundation. The SOA, together with many of you, have stepped up support of The Actuarial Foundation this year and raised a record amount of new contributions. Much of this financial support goes to an initiative I believe is very important, the Math Motivators program. This program matches actuarial volunteers with high school students in underserved communities, enabling them to improve their math skills and learn about the actuarial profession.
In closing, I would like to encourage everyone to get personally involved. I especially recommend you look for a volunteer opportunity within the SOA in the area of your choice, or in your community with the Math Motivators program. Besides giving back to your profession, I am sure that you will find the experiences as rewarding as I have.