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FSA北美精算师:以稀为贵造就“钻石领”(6)

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  The Actuarial Society of America came into being at the Astor House in New York City on April 25 and 26, 1889. The moving spirit behind the arrangements and format was the consulting actuary, David Parks Fackler, a man of great ability and dedication, who later succeeded Sheppard Homans in the presidential chair; the proceedings were marked by mutual respect and great care to avoid recurrence of past conflicts. A journal, the Transactions, was instituted immediately; soon afterwards the members chose Ruskin's "facts for appearances" pronouncement over a host of other suggestions to be their motto.

  The growth by 20-year periods of what 60 years later was to become the Society of Actuaries is shown in the table below.

  Fellows Associates Total Growth Rate

  1889 Charter Members 38 __ 38 __

  1909 End of Year 176 107 283 10.6%

  1929 End of Year 362 256 618 4.0

  1949 Merger, June 3 642* 427 1,069 2.8

  1969 December 1 1,888 1,656 3,544 6.2

  1989 September 1 6,241 5,443 11,784 6.1

  1995 November 3 7,748 9,194 16,942 6.2

  *These 642 Fellows were the survivors of the 897 Fellows who qualified in the years 1889 to 1948. As noted in a paper published in TSA [XLII (1991): 35-58], a list of those 897 persons is on file in the Society's library.

  Growth rates shown are annual compound rates. The numbers of members in 1909 and 1929 include members of the Actuarial Society and the American Institute of Actuaries with duplications removed. The corresponding growth rate during the two years 1990 and 1991 was 6.9 percent.

  The average growth rates in the era of the present Society have been consistently above 6 percent per annum, sharply higher than the experience of preceding periods. This contrast reflects the determination of the leadership starting in the 1950s to achieve growth rates high enough to meet perceived needs for actuaries.

  In 1896, after some hesitation, an examination system was adopted; the first Fellow by examination qualified in 1900. For some years the examinations were viewed purely as tests of professional qualification, but in the second decade of this century their educational value came to be appreciated; steps were taken to provide textbooks and lectures.2

  When some European actuaries launched an international organization in 1895, the North Americans were supporters from the outset; the Fourth International Congress convened in New York in 1903. Another item of special interest was election of the first woman member of the Actuarial Society, Emma Warren Cushman of Boston, also in 1895.

  In the short period of seven years between 1909 and 1916, the number of North American actuarial bodies jumped from one to four. In 1909, actuaries of young life companies in the midwestern and southern United States organized the American Institute of Actuaries with headquarters in Chicago. In 1914 the actuaries and statisticians of United States property and liability companies formed what became the Casualty Actuarial Society to meet their own professional needs. And in 1916 actuaries of fraternal societies created the Fraternal Actuarial Association. The resulting organizational proliferation, although somewhat contained by the 1949 merger of the two life actuarial bodies and the voluntary dissolution of the fraternal body in 1980, has defied consolidation efforts of recent years; new perceived needs have more than offset these changes.3

  During the first half of the twentieth century, actuaries learned to cope with many new circumstances, notably introduction of group insurance, actuarial involvement in pensions, World War I, the influenza pandemic of 1918, severe financial problems with income disability and annuity coverages, the great depression of the 1930s, social security, World War II, and the advent of computers. Actuaries' experiences with these contain many lessons of value even today.

  * * * * * *

  Actuarial expertise in the pension field owes its beginnings to two early specialists-George A. Huggins (1881-1959) in Philadelphia and George B. Buck (1891-1961) in New York City. Huggins, who never joined any of the actuarial bodies,4 established himself as the ranking authority of his era on clergy pensions; his work is documented as far back as 1904. Buck gave greatly needed guidance to New York City authorities on municipal pension systems. Gradually after that other actuaries formed consulting firms to serve private and governmental pension plans.

  In the quarter-century from the late 1930s (when the United States social security system was new on the scene) to the early 1960s when studies of pension plan structure, investment of pension reserves and broad questions of terminology and concepts of soundness had been explored in depth, the pension segment of the actuarial profession reached maturity. One consequence was an immense increase (which has continued since) in the proportion of Society members practicing in the actuarial consulting field.


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