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The Actuary The magazine of the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries

CPD survey 2003 the results

T he CPD survey was conducted during August 2003, with all the membership (including students) receiving an email with a link to the survey questionnaire. This was the second time the profession has used an Internet-based survey and, once again, this mechanism proved effective.
We received 1,150 responses, covering a commendable 11% of fellows, 3% of associates and affiliates, and 4% of students. The response by area of work is shown in figure 1.

Clear commitment
The survey results showed clear support for the profession’s CPD scheme. Figure 2 shows that around 70% of the respondents complete more than the minimum amount of 15 hours of formal CPD a year. Currently, a written record of the CPD undertaken must be submitted by scheme actuaries, appointed actuaries, and syndicate actuaries. Nearly half (45%) of the respondents are in favour of extending the submission of a formal CPD record to more categories of actuaries.
The results confirm the actuarial profession is a significant provider of CPD to members, with 60% (80% for general insurance) attending the profession’s major events in their specialism. For delegates, these events are considered both useful and interesting.
Survey participants also confirmed the CPD Handbook is useful in planning their career development.

New opportunities
There were many requests for greater use of the Internet and email, both to advertise forthcoming CPD events and to provide access to meetings and learning packages online. Over 70% of participants indicated they would participate more if CPD opportunities were available online, with the most popular being:
– structured reading lists linking to online material;
– recordings/videos of events online.
There was a very enthusiastic response to the new certificate covering the applications of modern financial techniques. Over 500 survey participants were interested in taking the course and 200 participants in sitting the examination as well. This certificate will be called the Certificate in Practical Financial Economics (CPFE), in place of the working title of Certificate in Finance for Liability Actuaries (FLAC).

Some surprises
The survey did throw up a few surprises. Apparently, over 25% of participants (primarily fellows) were contemplating a career change, including moves into non-traditional areas. This response was fairly evenly split across the disciplines.

Other requests
Other requests included:
– More CPD on professional issues.
– Better opportunities for actuaries working overseas.
– Improved scheduling of the profession’s major conferences.

So what are we going to do?
Work to deliver on these requests has already started in earnest. Developments so far include the following.

Certificate in Practical Financial Economics
Course reading will be launched early in 2004. This certificate is aimed at actuaries outside the finance and investment areas and will enable actuaries to gain a practical understanding of the principles behind financial economics, with the emphasis on understanding and application, rather than theoretical complexity. Watch the website for dates of the first examination. Further information is available from Neil Hilary (neilh@actuaries.org.uk).

Targeted electronic mailings
To send targeted emails on CPD news, events, and other relevant learning opportunities, we need members to ensure their details are up to date on the profession’s website. Currently around one-third have not stated their area of work which makes it difficult to target mailings! You can now update your information directly on the profession’s website.
Regular information on CPD issues and events is now being sent electronically to company representatives (CPD co-ordinators).

CPD Handbook online
We have updated the CPD Handbook in response to many requests. The handbook is now available online on the profession’s website, and will be kept
up to date in an electronic format. We hope you will use it to review your requirements for your future development.

Online learning
In light of the strong requests for ‘online’ CPD material, the committee is currently investigating a variety of possibilities, including:
– online recordings of the profession’s events;
– online topical material (key papers) and reading lists for each discipline;
– e-learning packages;
– broader use of the website to promote learning.
We need to be mindful of the cost implications, as well as the practical issues of delivery. However, we are committed to delivering what is possible, in a cost-effective way. A possible problem is that some employers do not allow employees to access the Internet. If you have any comments on this, please contact Helen Gregson, heleng@actuaries.org.uk.
At the moment, likely products include electronic access to recorded CPD events and a possible e-learning package in the mathematics of modern finance.

Regional links
The profession supports the regional actuarial societies (via the Communications Board) in a number of ways. These include regular correspondence, an annual meeting of the secretaries, and specific help, such as webpage design. The CPD Committee will be working closely with the Communications Board to ensure the regional societies are kept abreast of CPD developments and to deliver any assistance required.

Other actions
The professionalism courses for experienced actuaries will be reviewed and developed during 2005. We will be looking for volunteers with particular practical experience to help run these courses.
The CPD Committee will continue to monitor closely overseas CPD opportunities. We want to encourage actuaries based overseas to organise CPD events with local relevance. Help from the UK will be available as necessary, such as general advice, or providing speakers.
We are also liaising with the Conference Department to review the timing of major conference events and, more generally, to ensure the profession continues to deliver appropriate CPD opportunities to the membership.

Survey results the highlights
– There is a clear commitment to CPD
– Over 50% do more than the minimum
– Survey participants wanted more email notification of events
– Greater use of the Internet for the delivery
of CPD is desired
– Enthusiasm for the new certificate in
modern finance
– One-quarter of respondents are contemplating a change in practice area

Further comments
The CPD Committee is continually reviewing the CPD needs of the membership and how useful and relevant opportunities can be delivered.
We need your feedback.
Please address any comments to Helen Gregson, secretary to the CPD Committee on heleng@actuaries.org.uk.