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Old 08-10-2008, 04:17 PM
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Matt406 Matt406 is offline
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Default EA vs CEBS vs ASPPA

I have been working in the pension field for a little over 2 years now and I will hopefully have my ASA by the end of the year (just need to pass FAP2). I had planned on going directly to the EA exams after obtaining my ASA, but I just realized that I may not have the experience requirements to get the EA designation. I have spent the majority of my 2 years on DB administration/operational consulting projects, not performing valuations or "traditional" actuarial work on the liabilities side. Furthermore, I enjoy the work that I have been doing and would prefer to become a general comp & ben consultant, as opposed to an actuarial consultant.

As such, I am really struggling to decide what my next step should be in terms of education. While I do think the EA exams would be a good learning experience, I am hesitant to take the exams if I cannot get the designation. I have recently started to consider taking the CEBS exams or, to a lesser extent, the ASPPA exams in order to get a broader background in employee benefits. However, I am unsure if these designations carry any weight in the industry.

I would appreciate any thoughts/feedback on my situation.
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Old 08-10-2008, 06:08 PM
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Malik Shabazz Malik Shabazz is offline
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All of the CEBS I've met are plan administrators, not actuaries. In fact, according to the Actuarial Directory, there are only 73 actuaries who are also CEBS. (I'm pretty sure that the directory includes only actuaries who are members of one society or another; in other words, it doesn't include actuaries whose only credential is an EA.)

My impression is that ASPPA members generally practice in the very small plan market, but that may be completely wrong.

Passing the EA exams might be a challenge if you're not performing pension valuations regularly, but I would think that being an EA would be a prestigious credential no matter what sort of practice you engage in.
If I weren't out here every day battling the white man, I could spend the rest of my life reading, just satisfying my curiosity—because you can hardly mention anything I'm not curious about. — Malcolm X

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Old 08-11-2008, 10:20 AM
tymesup tymesup is offline
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The EA designation carries more weight than the ASPPA designations. Are you going for FSA?
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Old 08-11-2008, 10:59 AM
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hardinda hardinda is offline
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If you want to be a Comp & Ben consultant - you should look towards a Comp certification, if you aren't going to go for EA right away.
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Old 08-11-2008, 12:26 PM
Emily Emily is offline
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FSPA would be a pretty sweet credential, and the EA exams get you a lot closer to it.
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Old 08-12-2008, 08:45 PM
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Matt406 Matt406 is offline
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In order to get the FSPA you need to be an EA. Also, in order to get an FSA with a concentration in retirement I would need the EA exams.

The problem is that I have little "Pension Actuarial Experience" (roughly 2 months) and nearly 2 years of "Actuarial Experience". I believe the EA requirements are either (1) 36 months of Pension Actuarial Experience or (2) 60 months of actuarial experience which includes 18 months of Pension Actuarial Experience.

I am beginning to think that I need to just suck it up and take the EA exams and tell my supervisors that I would like to get more valuation experience to meet the work experience requirements.
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Old 08-12-2008, 08:52 PM
Will Durant
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Depending on the nature of the "DB administration/operational consulting projects" you are working on, they may also qualify as pension actuarial experience. It doesn't have to be valuation experience to count.
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Old 08-12-2008, 10:54 PM
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volva yet volva yet is offline
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I thought that both an ASA and EA designation required three years of service?
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Old 08-12-2008, 11:29 PM
Will Durant
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ASA has no service requirement
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Old 08-12-2008, 11:35 PM
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wooHoo wooHoo is offline
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The EA requires 'responsible' (or some similar term) experience. At my current firm, they do not count experience before your first promotion. (The joint board sends out confirmations to those you list as supervisors)
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