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  #1  
Old 12-27-2011, 08:40 AM
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Question How high are professional standards a) held out to be, b) in practice, across SOA etc

In this article, I have recently identified discrepancies between the standards that an actuarial organisation (the Institute and Faculty) claims in publicity that it upholds (namely "the highest" or "high"), and the standards that it actually upholds in practice (namely "reasonable" or "not unreasonable" in one particular disciplinary case.

What standards do the following organisations a) claim to the public that they uphold, and b) actually uphold in practice, when it comes to actual disciplinary cases?

Organisations: Society of Actuaries, Casualty Actuarial Society, Canadian Institute of Actuaries, US lawyers, US accountants?

Note that UK police claim to the public to uphold "the highest professional standards from all staff" as shown in this quote:

Quote:
Supt Simon Giles said the force "expects the highest professional standards from all our staff and the panel has found this individual's conduct has fallen well short of these standards".
It seems axiomatic that there should not be a significant discrepancy between the standards a profession claims to uphold in publicity to the public, and the standards it actually expects its members to uphold in practice.

However, I think the following is not obvious, and could (and should) usefully be debated:

Should professionals be aiming to uphold "the highest" standards when that is hard to define (and may
be impossible to achieve e.g. only 25% can achieve top quartile performance). "High standards" seems more honest and achievable. "Reasonable standards" sounds too weak, and likely to devalue the reputation of the profession in question.
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Last edited by actuary21c; 12-27-2011 at 10:01 AM.. Reason: corrected typos in "It seems axiomatic" sentence ...
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Old 12-27-2011, 09:58 AM
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I stopped reading at 'axiomatic'.

But I do like you Patrick.
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Old 12-27-2011, 10:01 AM
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I stopped reading at 'axiomatic'.

But I do like you Patrick.
Thanks but no thanks, Merlin
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Old 12-27-2011, 11:49 PM
Jeremy Gold Jeremy Gold is offline
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Some of us expressed concern about the US standards for setting standards:

http://users.erols.com/jeremygold/as...mmentsanon.pdf
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Old 12-27-2011, 11:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeremy Gold View Post
Some of us expressed concern about the US standards for setting standards:

http://users.erols.com/jeremygold/as...mmentsanon.pdf
Great letter.
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Old 12-28-2011, 12:00 AM
Jeremy Gold Jeremy Gold is offline
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Thank you on behalf of the group of author/signers
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Old 12-28-2011, 11:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by actuary21c View Post
In this article, I have recently identified discrepancies between the standards that an actuarial organisation (the Institute and Faculty) claims in publicity that it upholds (namely "the highest" or "high"), and the standards that it actually upholds in practice (namely "reasonable" or "not unreasonable" in one particular disciplinary case.

What standards do the following organisations a) claim to the public that they uphold, and b) actually uphold in practice, when it comes to actual disciplinary cases?

Organisations: Society of Actuaries, Casualty Actuarial Society, Canadian Institute of Actuaries, US lawyers, US accountants?

Note that UK police claim to the public to uphold "the highest professional standards from all staff" as shown in this quote:



It seems axiomatic that there should not be a significant discrepancy between the standards a profession claims to uphold in publicity to the public, and the standards it actually expects its members to uphold in practice.

However, I think the following is not obvious, and could (and should) usefully be debated:

Should professionals be aiming to uphold "the highest" standards when that is hard to define (and may
be impossible to achieve e.g. only 25% can achieve top quartile performance). "High standards" seems more honest and achievable. "Reasonable standards" sounds too weak, and likely to devalue the reputation of the profession in question.
I'm still not clear on exactly what bone it is you have to pick here. From sifting through your links/blogs/etc., it looks like you have some beef with the F&IOA over how/whether they handle professional discipline. Do I have that right? (I'm not trying to troll; I'm just don't know your whole backstory. And your writing about things you can't say about people you can't identify is a bit muddled to me.)
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Old 12-29-2011, 08:14 AM
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Its very difficult to set standards for actuaries. For example, I would be curious what some standards are that you would like to see set for P&C reserving.
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Old 01-01-2012, 03:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ke$ha View Post
Great letter.


I especially like this paragraph:

Quote:
As the plaintiff’s bar sharpens its swords, we need to strengthen our shields. Section 3.1.6 (“The ASOPs intentionally leave significant room for the actuary …”) may appear to shield many actuaries in the short term – because it is loose enough to cover a wide range of practice – but it will not protect us against our collective failure to advance our science and our practice. We must choose between calling actuaries to stricter standards – a smaller but stronger shield for those who comply – and the danger of being discredited en masse – as suggested by the recent experience of U.K. actuaries.
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Old 01-06-2012, 01:42 PM
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Default The 2004 letter is indeed a great letter but is addressing a separate issue

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeremy Gold View Post
Some of us expressed concern about the US standards for setting standards:

http://users.erols.com/jeremygold/as...mmentsanon.pdf
I too applaud the letter, but it is addressing a separate point (namely what the technical standards should be and whether such standards should just set out what the majority of actuaries have recently actually been doing, or instead - as the authors advocate - what actuarial and financial theory advocates they should be doing). The first approach may be paraphrased as "as long as nearly everybody else is doing it you will be ok", the second as "do what appears to be theoretically correct".

This separate point is worth debating, but I think it should be in a separate thread, which I propose to create unless there cogent objections?

The point I wish to address here (perhaps I could have expressed it more clearly in the title) is the level of standards (particularly ethical ones, and standards of competence), i.e. whether they need to be low (which I don't think anyone seriously advocates them being described as - although I think in the case which I have drawn attention to in some instances the Adjudication Panel felt that low standards were acceptable), medium/reasonable, or high, and whether it is acceptable for there to be a mismatch between the actual level of standards and the level marketed to the public including our clients.

I claim that the Institute and Faculty has been marketing itself as upholding high or in some cases "the highest" standards of ethics and competence, whilst in practice (in one particular case) accepting what the Adjudication Panel viewed as "reasonable" (including in some cases what I would regard as "low") standards.

So I was particularly interested in questions such as how high are the standards that the SOA and CAS a) enforce in practice, and b) market to the public?

From this page on the SOA website, the SOA appears to be marketing itself as upholding high standards of conduct (and hence of ethical conduct - NB the bold emphasis is mine):

Quote:
The purpose of this Code of Professional Conduct ("Code") is to require Actuaries to adhere to the high standards of conduct, practice, and qualifications of the actuarial profession, thereby supporting the actuarial profession in fulfilling its responsibility to the public.
But if a complaint were to be brought against an SOA member (at whatever level, whether a student who had recently joined, or its President), what standard of ethical conduct does the member have to have met in practice?

Similarly, this page on the CAS website states that one of the purposes of the CAS is (again the bold emphasis is mine):

Quote:
to promote and maintain high standards of conduct and competence;
Again, what standards of ethical conduct and competence does the CAS enforce in practice?
I understand that the AAA (American Academy of Actuaries) investigates complaints of professional misconduct in the first instance, and the SOA or CAS then only act on recommendations from the AAA. This complicates the position, in that it might be possible for the AAA to enforce lower standards than either the CAS or SOA would like. What if the AAA actually regarded "reasonable" or "average" standards of ethical conduct or competence to be acceptable, whereas the SOA or CAS considered only "high" standards to be acceptable? In such a situation, because the AAA is the first to consider whether there is a case to answer, the lower standards enforced by the AAA would render irrelevant the higher standards that the SOA or CAS desired to enforce (and which these two august bodies appear, like the Institute and Faculty, to market).
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