Questions and Answers: 2012 Candidates for Regular Director

Question (another person asked a similar question) for Candidates

My question for the candidates for Regular Director is: Godfrey Perrott has stated that he believes there should be a merger of the various U.S. actuarial associations. A quick reading of the other candidates’ material does not reflect their position on this issue. Could the other candidates please tell us their views?

Candidate Responses

Shari Westerfield

Merging the U.S. actuarial associations could provide a unified voice for the actuarial profession regarding education, training, research, and public policy. There are likely to be some hurdles to accomplish a merger, however, I believe that the benefits of a unified voice are worth exploring the concept further.

Katie Campbell

Although I think merger may be worthy of consideration, I could not support a merger unless the problems with the current structure are more clearly and specifically defined and analysis shows (specifically) how merger of the organizations would in fact resolve those problems and be of benefit to the profession overall.

Godfrey Perrott

I stand by what I said in my candidate statement under “Rationalization of the US actuarial structure.”

I have said publicly on several occasions that the U.S. actuarial profession cannot afford the inward-looking luxury of five organizations. I am encouraged by the task force CUSP has assembled. As a profession, we have to improve our structure (ideally to one organization) or we will be much less effective than we otherwise could be. We have to move from trying to answer the question “Why is merger impossible?” to answering the question “How do we create a win-win merger and of which organizations?” I believe the time is right, and want to be a part of solving this very difficult problem.

I believe we need to achieve a more efficient structure collaboratively. We need to discuss possible mergers candidly, but the focus of that discussion must be “How do we create a win-win merger and of which organizations?”. I do not support any organization trying to achieve merger by force. It would be bad for the profession and unlikely to succeed.

Henry Siegel

Consolidating the actuarial associations has been a proposal for decades. Its long life reflects both the apparent sense that the proposal makes and the difficulty in getting agreement to make it happen. In discussing this issue, we should recognize that the current structure has worked well from the perspective of the Academy and it’s rarely a good idea to make a change to something that’s working. For this reason I did not include it among the most important issues facing the Academy.

As an Academy board member I would certainly support a merger if the other organizations agree. There would need to be substantial discussion of how the merger would be accomplished and what the structure of the merged organization would be but I believe it could be done. I was pleased that the CUSP established a task force to discuss this question and look forward to reviewing their recommendation.

D. Joeff Williams

I do not support a consolidation of the five U.S.-based actuarial organizations. I see each actuarial organization providing very unique missions that are best served through separate and independent structures. While I understand the challenges many actuaries face with maintaining memberships in multiple organizations, I do not see the solution being consolidation. Instead, I see the need for more focus on educating and providing members with tangible value for their membership in any actuarial organization.