August Sunshine Update

We are in excellent shape to hit our goal of 600 signatures by Labor Day.  As of today, we actually have more than 600 signatures and more than 525 “audited” signatures.  We have additional signatures we just have not yet had time to audit.  By audited, I mean that we have been able to confirm that the signature is not a duplicate and the individual does indeed appear to be a member of the Academy.  We had a surprising number of non-Academy members sign the petition for Academy members.  This may be because common sense would lead any actuary who is affected by the actuarial standards to believe they would have a voice in this issue, but it is unfortunately not so.  The ASB and CoQ are housed in the Academy of Actuaries and only MAAAs may vote on Academy bylaws.

The Academy’s counsel did eventually send a long, contorted response to our offer to discuss the matter and our request for the actual membership count.  Here is the short version of their response:  The Academy is unwilling to discuss the matter apparently believing that the Academy Board of Directors does not need to be accountable to members.  And, apparently to be told the actual number of Academy members you need to have a top-secret security clearance.

I continue to be disappointed that Academy leadership will not discuss this matter.  Once the required number of MAAAs request a vote on the proposed bylaw amendment, the proposed bylaw amendment must be put to a vote by operation of the bylaws.  Maybe the Academy leadership is confident they will win on a membership vote – maybe they have a diabolical plot to prevent a vote in contravention of the intent and wording of the bylaws – I don’t know.  Before the required number of requests is made, there is an opportunity to discuss the matter – come up with a policy or a proposed bylaw amendment (approved by the Board) that better meets the needs of all.  I like the proposed bylaw amendment as drafted, but I do not have the hubris to believe it could not be improved.  Some people have emailed me with suggestions.  However, the mechanics of a member-initiated bylaw change do not practically allow for the text of the proposed amendment to be changed without starting all over again with signature collection.  A process initiated by the Board does, but they will not budge!

With respect to the number of signatures, the bylaws contemplate that we need 3% of MAAAs to request a vote.  We are all math people, so you would think it would be obvious that the number of MAAAs would be made available to members who have a collected a credible number of vote requests.  Nope.  Instead, we get a tedious explanation of the obvious – that it changes regularly as people join and are dropped.  The Academy’s website says they have more than 18,500 members.  The Academy’s Facebook page (did you know they have a Facebook page?) says they have more than 19,500 members.  From the beginning, we have been working from the idea that we need 600 signatures (3% of 20,000), but now as we approach the finish line, it would be nice to have a better idea of where the finish line is.

Thanks to everyone for their help and support.  Hopefully, right around Labor Day we will be able to announce that we do indeed have the necessary 600 vote requests!  And, then win,lose or draw, the Academy membership can decide this issue.  Enjoy the remaining days of your summer!