Six Years Before the Mast

DURING MY SIX YEARS ON THE ABCD, I haven’t seen it all, but I’ve seen a lot of it. Good practice, bad conduct, and unqualified practice. The Actuarial Board for Counseling and Discipline has averaged about 20 complaints each year since 1992, though the number of complaints has increased lately. Two sources account for most of the increase: a misunderstanding … Read More

Must or Should? Read: ASOP No. 1

JIM IS THE ACTUARY for a traditional multiemployer pension plan. The employees in the pension plan also participate in a trustee-directed defined contribution plan. For the defined contribution plan the Board of Trustees wanted to maximize the benefits provided to its members and asked Jim what changes could be made to the defined contribution plan that would protect them when … Read More

You Sign It, You Own It

IT ISN’T UNUSUAL for actuaries or other professionals to rely on the views or work of others in forming their own opinions. Doctors often confer with specialists in treating patients. Lawyers use co-workers to perform legal research and assist with briefs. Actuaries ask colleagues or other professionals to provide input on their work. One of the most common instances of … Read More

CE Checklist for Enrolled Actuaries

BY NOW, ALL ENROLLED ACTUARIES have submitted Form 5434A to the Joint Board for the Enrollment of Actuaries (JBEA) to renew their enrollments. As part of that renewal, you must certify that you have met the JBEA’s continuing education (CE) requirements. Is that enough? Probably not. EAs who belong to the Academy, the American Society of Pension Profession­als and Actuaries … Read More

Owning Precept 13

WHAT IS IT ABOUT the requirements of Precept 13 that makes many actuaries uncomfortable? One of 14 precepts in the Code of Profes­sional Conduct, Precept 13 requires an actuary to take action if he or she has knowledge of a potential violation of the code by another cre­dentialed actuary. Much like the Transportation Security Administration ads, this is the “if … Read More

A Show of Hands

A PERSON CLOSE TO OUR PROFESSION recently told me that when a roomful of actuaries was asked if they could quote Precept 1 of the Code of Professional Conduct, not a single hand was raised. Now, I am guessing that anyone who reads Contingencies on a regular basis knows that Precept 1 says, “An Actuary shall act honestly, with integrity … Read More

When Harry Met Sally

HARRY WAS PLEASED when he got an offer to join a consulting practice in Small Town, USA. On his first day, he arrived with five large boxes full of actuarial books and reference materials in the trunk of his car. Since the boxes were heavy, Harry decided he would carry one box into the office every morning during his first … Read More

New Kid on the Block

IN MY PROFESSIONAL LIFE, I’ve had the good fortune to be guided by intelligent and compassionate mentors. They all had one trait in com­mon that I truly admired: their commitment to give back to the profes­sion. Last year, I was asked if I would serve on the Actuarial Board for Counseling and Discipline (ABCD). I wasn’t sure what that assignment … Read More

Phone a Friend

THE POPULAR TV GAME SHOW “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” initially hosted by Regis Philbin, awards cash prizes for correctly an­swering a series of multiple-choice questions of increasing (or, in some cases, random) difficulty. In the show’s original format, any contestant who made it to the “Hot Seat” had to correctly answer 15 consecutive questions. Contestants were given a … Read More

How to Evade the Code

YOU MIGHT BE SHOCKED TO DISCOVER how easy it is to evade the Code of Professional Conduct. All an actuary has to do is produce quality work that satisfies the Code, the actuarial standards of practice (ASOPs), and the Qualification Standards. Of course, most would describe that as complying with the Code, not evad­ing it. But a small number of … Read More