What Is the Society of Actuaries (SOA)?

The Society of Actuaries (SOA) is a global organization that provided actuaries with professional development, education and exams, research, and a variety of other resources to promote the field of actuary and the careers of its members. With roots going back to the 1800s, the Society of Actuaries (SOA) boasts more than 31,000 members globally; the largest professional organization of its kind in the world.

Key Takeaways

  • The Society of Actuaries (SOA) is a global organization for actuaries providing a variety of resources to its members in the field of actuary.
  • The organization has its roots going back as far as the 1800s and currently has over 31,000 members, making it the largest professional organization of its kind.
  • The Society of Actuaries (SOA) is dedicated to research in actuarial science, professional development and education, and professional standards.
  • Actuaries work to analyze risk by using modeling and data analysis techniques for a variety of applications in a variety of fields.
  • The Society of Actuaries (SOA) provides many educational resources, exams and certifications, resources and tools, seminars, continuing education, publications, podcasts, and mentorship for its members.

Understanding the Society of Actuaries (SOA)

The Society of Actuaries (SOA) is dedicated to research in actuarial science, professional development and education, and professional standards. Members of the SOA are steeped in knowledge of math, statistics, and business management across many industries, including life, health and property insurance, banking, investments, government, energy, e-commerce, marketing, employee benefits, product development, enterprise risk management, predictive analytics, consulting, and more.

Within these industries, actuaries work to analyze risk, use modeling and data analysis techniques on large data sets to discover predictive patterns and relationships for business use, help set policies and compensation levels, and provide broad business and management oversight, among other roles.

The organization’s mission is to "advance actuarial knowledge and to enhance the ability of actuaries to provide expert advice and relevant solutions for financial, business, and societal challenges." The SOA's vision is for actuaries to be the leading professionals in the measurement and management of risk.

Membership

As of 2019 (latest figures), the total membership is 31,209. This consists of 20,550 members in the U.S., 5,139 in Canada, 4,288 in Asia-Pacific, 20 in Latin America, and 1,212 in the rest of the world. Candidates as of 2019 total 41,506, with 24,119 in the U.S., 5,142 in Canada, 9,684 in Asia-Pacific, 106 in Latin America, and 2,455 in the rest of the world.

Membership varies depending on when an individual became a member and where their location is. For fellows and associates that became fellows before 2018, annual dues are $670 for non-U.S. residents and $725 for U.S. residents. Members can also add or subtract section dues depending on what they are interested in. Section dues range from $20 to $40.

Activities

The Society of Actuaries (SOA) is a broad organization that provides an immense amount of resources to its members. The organization holds many networking events, seminars, and conferences around the globe. It provides professional development on a variety of topics, ranging from annuities to enterprise risk to life insurance to predictive analytics and more.

Courses and events can be accessed through in-person meetings, webcasts, e-courses, recording, and archival footage. The organization also has a research institute that members can access that covers strategic research programs, trending research, and a multitude of specific sectors and topics.

Further information is available through podcasts, publications, and mentors. The organization also offers a variety of education pathways, such as becoming a chartered enterprise risk analyst (CERA).

The SOA also conducts detailed studies on the field of actuarial science, aiming to understand its trends, challenges, and future outlook. As part of this, it develops long-term strategies, including multi-year strategic plans, that aim to prepare actuaries with a roadmap on how to succeed in the field going forward. It details the case for change and the strategies for success.

Its most recent strategic outlook covers areas such as the rise of data science, how artificial intelligence is changing the nature of the workplace, the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion, how skill development is changing, and how to strengthen membership engagement.

What Is the Pass Rate for Actuarial Exams?

The initial exams that actuaries need to take are three hours long, consisting of 30-35 multiple questions, with a pass rate of approximately 30% to 40%.

What Are the Seven Actuarial Exams?

The seven preliminary actuarial exams that an individual needs to pass are Exam P: Probability, Exam FM: Financial Mathematics, Exam IFM: Investment and Financial Markets, Exam SRM: Statistics for Risk Modeling, Exam STAM: Short Term Actuarial Mathematics, Exam LTAM: Long Term Actuarial Mathematics, and EXAM PA: Predictive Analysis.

How Much Does an Actuary Make?

The average salary for an actuary in the U.S. is $124,879. This ranges from a low of $82,000 to a high of $190,000. The salary will depend on your location, company, job type, and level.