SOA Strategic Planning – Mission and Vision Second Poll

 by Emily Kessler, FSA, EA, FCA, MAAA
SOA Senior Fellow – Intellectual Capital

 

We’re now in phase two of the Society of Actuaries (SOA) Strategic Plan development process.  We are asking a series of four questions on what the mission and vision of the SOA should be over the next five years (2017-2021) (see the prior post in this series for a description of mission and vision).

The first question considered what skill sets individual actuaries need to remain vital in their jobs.  This second poll question asked “How will the actuarial profession continue to be relevant during the next 20 years?”  Respondents allocated 100 points across five categories:

  • Actuaries known for a high degree of training and professionalism
  • Actuaries are well represented in C-suite roles
  • Actuaries known as well-versed on global business issues
  • Actuaries known as leading thinkers in data and analytics
  • Actuaries’ traditional skills and expertise extend broadly into issues of finance and risk, health care and retirement (beyond insurance and pensions).

The five categories represent the directions for the professions that members, employers, regulators, candidates and other stakeholders discussed with the Strategic Planning Task Force over the past summer.  This broad range of roles represents a broad range of possibilities for the professions.  It also represents different directions that individuals can take in their careers.

The survey was promoted through SOA News Weekly and SOA.org.  We received a little less than 100 responses.

In looking at our poll responses, the most interesting view was to look at how people allocated points – what was their number one?  The results aren’t statistically significant, but the most popular choices for how the profession will continue to be relevant in the next 20 years were through a high degree of training and professionalism, leading thinkers in data and analytics, and expanding traditional skills and expertise broadly into issues of finance and risk, health care and retirement (in that order).  There’s a pretty clear break between those three categories and the other two (well represented in C-suite roles and well-versed on global business issues).

The other interesting finding in the data –again, this was a small sample size – was that there was some difference in the number one choices between those with a wider distribution in their responses (higher standard deviation in point allocation) and those with a narrower distribution in their responses.  Within the group that had a wider distribution of responses (2/3 of the total sample), the two most popular number one choices – by a wide margin within that sub group – were a high degree of training and professionalism and leading thinkers in data and analytics.  Within the group that had a narrower distribution of responses, the two most popular number one choices – again by a wide margin within that sub group – were a high degree of training and professionalism and extending actuaries’ skill and expertise more broadly into issues of finance and risk, health care and retirement.

One interpretation of this difference is that if you think we need to place “big bets” to secure the profession’s future, keeping a focus on training and professionalism while moving into data and analytics seem the most appropriate “big bets.”  If you believe that a multi-pronged approach to the profession’s opportunities is wiser (smaller bets on a range of activities) then putting more proportional effort into, again, training and professionalism while expanding traditional skills and expertise broadly into finance and risk, health care and retirement seems to be a more prudent strategy.

Two polls completed, two to go.  The third poll question asked why the SOA credential is valuable to you.  Once again, let us know what you think by sharing comments through this blog post or email ekessler@soa.org.

Previously in this series:

  • Read the blog post on the first member poll, which looked at what skills individual actuaries need to be successful in their job.
  • Read the blog post on the SOA Strategic Plan development process.
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