From the Leadership Council
Earlier this year, the ACOPA Leadership Council started the process of reviewing and updating the ACOPA strategic plan. The plan had not been updated in several years, and with the formation of the American Retirement Association it seemed like the perfect time to update it. The members of the strategic plan committee were Mark Dunbar, Tom Finnegan, Bill Karbon, Chuck Klose, Richard Kutikoff, Judy Miller, Kurt Piper, Karen Smith, Ken Vollmer and Lynn Young. In August 2015, the Leadership Council reviewed a draft of the updated strategic plan and we are hoping the Leadership Council will approve the updated strategic plan before ASPPA Annual in October.
As part of the strategic planning process, we reviewed the prior strategic plan and considered ACOPA’s role within the American Retirement Association and the actuarial community. We also reflected on the challenges that pension actuaries face today and will face in the future. And, maybe most importantly, we thought about ACOPA’s values and what makes ACOPA different than other organizations.
For the 3-to-5-year time horizon, we settled upon four big-picture goals for ACOPA:
- Preeminent Educator — ACOPA will be acknowledged as the preeminent educational organization for pension actuaries not employed at large actuarial firms and other pension professionals working on defined benefit plans.
- Preeminent Advocate — Government will consistently rely on ACOPA to provide primary input when developing retirement policy with respect to actuarial and defined benefit plan issues.
- Leader in Professionalism — All stakeholders will recognize ACOPA members as the leading professionals among pension actuaries employed by small and mid-sized firms.
- Greater Recognition of ACOPA — ACOPA will gain greater recognition as the premier organization for defined benefit plan professionals.
Each of these goals has several smaller, more actionable goals associated with it. To achieve these goals, we will need the help and support of all ACOPA members.
We have already started working on some of these smaller goals. One of our focuses has been on growing our membership. While overall the number of enrolled actuaries is on the decline, the number of cash balance plans is increasing and the growth is primarily in the small plan market. David Lipkin has been chairing a task force that is comprised of some of our newer members to explore what ACOPA can offer to those individuals who are currently taking actuarial exams, so as they become enrolled, they will be thinking of ACOPA as the organization to join. We will reporting on the findings of the task force within the next couple of months.
We are also looking to increase awareness to college students about ACOPA and the career opportunities as a Pension Actuary. We were approached by an ASPPA member to promote our profession at Florida State career event with Actuarial Students. Through reaching out via the listserve we had several members who volunteered to speak at the event and promote our industry and ACOPA. We hope we will have more opportunities like this in the future and will be reaching out for volunteers as needed.
As we consider where to devote our volunteer and financial resources, the strategic plan will help us prioritize. Thanks to the strategic planning committee and LC for their work thus far on updating the strategic plan.