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  #1  
Old 05-16-2008, 11:12 AM
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Default Actuaries in the news (but not favorably)

Local news story in today's New York Times national edition, about questions on an actuary's projections of the cost of a proposal to offer early retirement to thousands of New York City employees. The subheadline is "Actuary's Work Questioned In Albany":

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Originally Posted by http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/16/nyregion/16actuary.html

Mr. Schwartz, a former city actuary, said that he routinely skewed his projections to favor the unions — he called his job “a step above voodoo” — and admitted that he had knowingly overreached on the pension bill by claiming that it cost nothing, either now or in future years. “I got a little bit carried away in my formulation,” he explained.

...

“What people call actuarial science is at least as much as an art as a science,” Mr. Schwartz said.

“Back in my days as city actuary, I would go to that part of the range that would make things look as expensive as possible,” he added. “As consultant for the unions, I go to the part of the range that makes things as cheap as possible, but I never knowingly go out of the range.”

Mr. Schwartz resigned from his city job in 1986 after admitting he had given false testimony in a deposition in a lawsuit brought by female employees who claimed that their pension payments were lower than those made to their male counterparts.
(Sigh.)
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Old 05-16-2008, 11:46 AM
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Interesting that at this very moment, ASB is requesting comments on ASOP 27, Selection of Economic Assumptions for Measuring Pension Obligations.

Perhaps that's a step in the right direction.
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Old 05-16-2008, 11:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Random Walk View Post
Local news story in today's New York Times national edition, about questions on an actuary's projections of the cost of a proposal to offer early retirement to thousands of New York City employees. The subheadline is "Actuary's Work Questioned In Albany":



(Sigh.)

Nice. My tax dollars went to pay for this schnook.
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Old 05-16-2008, 11:51 AM
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I wonder if he included mortality improvement provisions.

.....

Oh, I can just see how well the principles-based stuff is going to look on the pages of the NY Times.
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Old 05-16-2008, 11:55 AM
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wouldn't this guy be a candidate to be referred to the ABCD? Standards of communication etc?
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Old 05-16-2008, 12:00 PM
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SOA Membership Directory
Quote:
Personal Information
Jonathan Schwartz
Consulting Actuary
Monroe Township, NJ 08831
United States

Tel: (xxx) xxx-xxxx

Fax: (xxx) xxx-xxxx

Email: xxxxxxxxx@yahoo.com

Designations
ASA 1963
MAAA 1972
EA 1976
FCA 1985
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Old 05-16-2008, 12:08 PM
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Uh.... is this so we can go bug him about this?

I know he's listed in a public directory, but what purpose does it serve to post his address and email address?

(I have no real desire to ask him if he used mortality improvement, is what I'm saying)
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Old 05-16-2008, 12:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by campbell View Post
Uh.... is this so we can go bug him about this?

I know he's listed in a public directory, but what purpose does it serve to post his address and email address?

(I have no real desire to ask him if he used mortality improvement, is what I'm saying)
Well, I did hide the phone numbers. Maybe e-mail and detail home address should also go. I will edit. My point was that he's an actual, credentialed actuary.

It may also be that the news item totally blew his remarks out of all resemblance to what he actually said.
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Old 05-16-2008, 12:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JMO View Post
It may also be that the news item totally blew his remarks out of all resemblance to what he actually said.
I wouldn't be the least surprised. I've learned from direct experience of how newspaper writers like to spice up quotes. They're especially shameless in doing that for fluff pieces, not that this is a fluff piece.

It still sounds pretty bad, and casts the profession in a bad light.
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Old 05-16-2008, 12:34 PM
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wouldn't this guy be a candidate to be referred to the ABCD? Standards of communication etc?
If the ABCD had existed in 1986, I wonder whether he would have been referred to the ABCD after the incident that lead to his resignation as an actuary for NYC? Too late now, I suppose.
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