CAS staff and incentives

Not sure if this is the right forum category.

I admittedly haven’t been paying too much attention to the inner workings of the CAS the last couple of years.

I know we have a CEO now. Victor Carter-Bey seems like a good enough guy, though I don’t know a ton about him other than he has an MBA and I haven’t paid a lot of attention to his statements over the years.

A couple of questions. Who hires the CEO? The board of directors, or someone on staff? Who hires staff for the CAS generally?

Also, who determines what his performance metrics are in his job? What are the staff’s goals and how aligned are they with membership?

I guess I’m wondering, if I were getting paid to be the CEO of some professional organization, maybe I’d want to prove my worth by achieving growth targets and stuff. But is growth of the CAS really the number 1 priority for members?

Or are his goals just to implement a CAS strategic vision set by elected board members and with feedback from general membership?

I was thinking a bit about this in light of that recent election where we had to decide whether to change some bylaws to give more power to CAS staff, or something like that.


Lots of good questions. Subscribe.

This is the kind of situation the SOA has had for years (and yes, the CEO is hired by the board. Often, they’ll get an executive search firm to find appropriate candidates for them to consider, but the board makes the call.)

I do recommend looking at the trajectory the SOA has taken to consider likely paths for the CAS in light of this, and the kinds of incentives a CEO would have, no matter the explicit goals given by the board.

I assume you are familiar with the principal-agent problem.


I think the board has different priorities than the membership as well, honestly. The board is responsible to the CAS as an entity. Members may care more about the mission or about their own professional well-being than about the CAS itself.

But…i have to say, when i opposed the CAS merging with the SOA, i didn’t expect an independent CAS would turn into the SOA. But it seems to be doing just that.


Good point

One thing I’m never quite sure about is a push for international relevancy and expansion.

On the one hand, we do have international members, and owe it to them to remember that they’re there and part of the organization.

On the other hand, there are many other actuarial organizations internationally. Of course the IFoA stands out but the Australian and Indian societies are both large, and I know Europe has various means of credentialing actuaries, some through an exam system and others through masters degrees or other higher education. Should the CAS really strive to understand the nuances of all countries’ insurance systems and presume they know better than existing local organizations? Or just focus on North American expertise?

On the other other hand, there are certainly many countries without their own actuarial societies, who need to choose another international system to go through.

In addition to that, some insurance products are global in nature, such as for multinational companies, and certainly many US insureds buy some insurance through London.

Just a mish mash of thoughts. But all this to say I do think CAS staff may be more incentivized to grow internationally for the sake of growth, increased global relevance, etc. and that could take resources away from focusing on the existing base of North American members and research. It isn’t clear cut if that’s in the membership’s best interest, or the society’s best interest.

I think this is a glaring principal-agent mismatch of recent years. In my mind the CAS/SOA have no business trying to expand internationally. I’m all for providing support to the Chinese or Indian P&C societies so they can set up and be allies in the ever-present battle against rate need and insurer insolvency but I think it’s incredibly imperialist-minded to try to set the CAS up to compete with the Indian or Chinese P&C societies (assuming one exists). If none exist and people of those countries want to become US P&C credentialed actuaries then I can sympathize with that, but the CAS should be wholly focused on US P&C actuaries and then providing help/expertise to enable similar societies in other countries.

1 Like

Both India and China have exam-based actuarial societies. India uses the same tests as the UK. China has a syllabus based on what the US did when they set up their system, but they create their own tests.

I think the CAS should support our Canadian members as well as the US ones, for sure. There is some value to making our credential available internationally, but i agree that the focus on expansion is more about helping the US societies grow than it is about improving the world’s actuarial talent.

Agreed. And I’d also make the point that even if everyone being a member of the CAS globally would result in the fastest improvement of the world’s actuarial talent I’d still advocate against it because of the value of having more local representation and focus. New societies will probably make mistakes that older ones may not have but that’s OK, at least it’ll be their own society. And that society can be tailored to the specifics of the particular country/region’s market, culture and people.