Exercising Professional Judgment in a Self-Regulated Profession

What is a profession? The Oxford Dictionary defines the word in part as “a paid occupation, especially one that involves prolonged training and a formal qualification.” The attributes of a profession, as broadly recognized in the United States, often include the following: (1) a formal educational system; (2) a national association; (3) a code of professional ethics; (4) public respect and trust; (5) licensing; and (6) the ability to discipline members.

The actuarial profession in the United States meets the definition above and has all the attributes of a profession with one exception: licensing. Note that “actuarial profession” is intended here to include those individuals who are members of at least one of the five U.S.-based actuarial organizations which have adopted the Code of Professional Conduct (the “Code”) effective January 1, 2001. Those organizations are the American Academy of Actuaries, the Society of Actuaries, the Casualty Actuarial Society, the Conference of Consulting Actuaries, and the ASPPA College of Pension Actuaries. Henceforth in this article the term Actuary (with “A” capitalized) shall mean a member of one of the five organizations (consistent with its use in the Code).

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Up to Code - July/August 2019, Allan W. Ryan


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