20Apr2010
Author
lrosenfeldt
Category
General

What Does the Competency Framework Mean for You?

by Lorri Rosenfeldt, SOA Managing Director of Professional Development

LorriRosenfeldt By now you have probably seen information on the new SOA Competency Framework for Actuaries. You may have read Mike McLaughlin’s Letter from the President in the April/May issue of The Actuary or seen reference to competencies next to session titles in the Life and Annuity Symposium and 2010 Health Meeting brochures. And you may still be wondering what the Competency Framework is all about, why actuaries need a Competency Framework and even more importantly, what it means to you.

The SOA has always focused on delivering relevant and leading-edge professional development opportunities. This was traditionally offered at meetings and events held throughout the country and abroad. In 2008 an effort was undertaken to evaluate the professional development needs of our members to determine how to best meet those needs. As part of the evaluation, this question was posed:

"Looking 3 to 5 years into the future, to be valued for their professionalism, technical expertise and business acumen, actuaries must have or develop skills that include…"

More than 1500 responses were received to this question, and the answers became the Competency Framework for Actuaries.  The Framework consists of eight competencies:

  •   Communication
  •   Professional Values
  •   External Forces & Industry Knowledge
  •   Leadership
  •   Relationship Management & Interpersonal Collaboration
  •   Technical Skills & Analytical Problem Solving
  •   Strategic Insight & Integration
  •   Results-Oriented Solutions

It is this combination of this knowledge, skill and ability that actuaries identified as necessary to be successful at all stages of an actuarial career.  A closer look at the eight competencies reveals that they are organized around two interrelated principles, technical competence and business competence:

Technical Competencies Business Competencies
External Forces & Industry Knowledge Communication
Technical Skills & Analytical Problem Solving Professional Values
Strategic Insight & Integration Leadership
Results-Oriented Solutions Relationship Management & Interpersonal Collaboration

Technical competence is the obvious, unquestioned strength of actuaries. It is the core of what actuaries do. Business competence can be defined as those skills that increase an actuary’s ability to effectively communicate and implement the solutions derived from  technical competency. In other words, business competence and technical competence are the yin and yang of actuarial excellence, and the path to career growth.

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Both are critical components of an actuary’s success. But you may still be wondering exactly what this means to you.

As you will see with the new Life and Annuity Symposium, and with subsequent meetings this year, the SOA is committed to providing you with professional development across the full array of competencies. You now have the opportunity to select the sessions you attend based on the competency being addressed. You will have the tools necessary to approach your unique professional development needs from a more informed perspective. You will be better able to combine technical excellence with business acumen. Ultimately, you will be able to answer the question that is at the heart of the Competency Framework, which is:

"Looking 3 to 5 years into the future, to be valued for MY professionalism, technical expertise and business acumen, I must have or develop skills that include…"

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