Mercy or Justice

The Actuarial Board for Counseling and Discipline (ABCD) was created in 1991, effective Jan. 1, 1992, through the addition of Article X to the Bylaws of the American Academy of Actuaries. The ABCD has now completed 15 full years of operation, and a review of its operations seems timely. The ABCD derives its authority from the five U.S.- based actuarial … Read More

The Case of the Careless Subordinates—Is an actuary responsible for the work performed by others under his control?

Richard Boggs recently found himself in an out-of-town conference room with his attorney, a court reporter, and nine members of the Actuarial Board for Counseling and Discipline (ABCD), along with the ABCD staff attorney. He had been the subject of a complaint by one of the clients of his own actuarial consulting firm, and after an investigation, the ABCD voted … Read More

An Ounce of Prevention—The First Step

Actuaries, like all professionals, are subject to possible public discipline by their profession if they fail to live up to its standards of conduct, qualification, or practice. Further, in our litigious society, they face an increasing risk of professional liability suits involving even the most spurious of claims of malpractice or professional negligence. Actuaries who stand accused in such cases … Read More

Qualified…or Not

The phone rings. Jean Johnson, a member of one of the U.S. actuarial organizations, is calling. She’s about to start an assignment and wants to discuss whether she’s qualified to proceed. She was referred to me in my role as chairperson of the ABCD to discuss her situation. Is she qualified. . . or not? One of the benefits that … Read More

The Look-in-the-Mirror Test

Precept 2 of the Code of Professional Conduct obligates us not to issue statements of actuarial opinion unless qualified to do so. Of course, the determination of “qualified” can be somewhat or completely subjective. The best gauge for this determination is often known as “the look-in-themirror test.” In other words, if you can look yourself in the eye and confidently … Read More

International Actuarial Standards of Practice—Suggestions or Requirements?

In June of 2006, the International Actuarial Association (IAA) formally adopted a series of seven International Actuarial Standards of Practice for actuaries to use when providing professional services under international financial reporting standards issued by the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB). The IAA standards were designated as practice guidelines, and bore the following explanatory statement on their covers: “Practice Guidelines … Read More

ABCD Advice for New Actuaries: Top 10 Ways to Immunize Your Professionalism

We actuaries have a lot of official guidance in the form of the Code of Professional Conduct, the Actuarial Standards of Practice, qualification standards, various laws and regulations, exam materials, seminars, and so on. But what about the unofficial ways to make it easier to comply with professional requirements? The following is a list (with apologies to David Letterman) of … Read More

Living With Precept 10

PRECEPT 10 OF THE CODE OF PROFESSIONAL CONDUCT deals with courtesy and cooperation. It states: An Actuary shall perform Actuarial Services with courtesy and professional respect and shall cooperate with others in the principal’s interest. Issues related to Precept 10 most commonly come before the ABCD when a client for actuarial services elects to replace one actuary with another. For … Read More

Basics of the ABCD—Who, What, When, Where, How, and Why

MOST OF THE WORK THE ACTUARIAL BOARD FOR COUNSELING AND DISCIPLINE (ABCD) does is confidential. It involves responding to requests for guidance on how to comply with the Code of Professional Conduct, and conducting inquiries about possible violations of the Code. Confidentiality protects the actuaries who request guidance and also those actuaries who may be wrongly accused of violating the … Read More