in a case where the evidence isn’t public
(for example, if it involves an item such
as your observations), the ABCD will
need to communicate your name to the
other actuary along with a copy of your
complaint in order to proceed with an
inquiry. If your submission contains no
independent evidence (such as a filed report or news article) and you withhold
your name from the other actuary, the
ABCD may have to forgo an inquiry.
Before making a complaint, you can
suggest that the other actuary request
guidance from a member of the ABCD
about the issue, in order to move the
discussion to an objective third party
and depersonalize the issue. The other
actuary may resolve the issue as a result
of the discussion. But keep in mind that
you will not know what he or she said by
way of explanation. If the issue isn’t reasonably resolved, you should go ahead
and make a complaint.
Don’t react defensively if the other
actuary makes accusations about your
motives or expertise. Those accusations
aren’t relevant. If you’re concerned that
the other actuary will complain about
your behavior, you can contact the ABCD
to get another opinion about your own
compliance with the code.
There may be instances when you
follow all of the above advice and still
make an enemy. While your professional
obligation to follow the code may have
this result, at least you will have taken
appropriate steps to ensure that the other actuary understands your position.
making a complaint will result in
a lawsuit against me.
It’s an unfortunate fact that litigation is
common in our society. It can cost you
valuable time and money to defend.
However, I’m not aware of any case in
which a lawsuit was filed solely because
the defendant made a complaint to the
ABCD. The possibility of a frivolous lawsuit shouldn’t deter you from complying
with your obligations under the code.
making a complaint will result in a
retaliatory complaint against me.
Similarly, you can’t prevent a frivolous
complaint to the ABCD. The chairpersons are obligated to evaluate every
complaint. However, your response to a
frivolous complaint is likely to be brief
and easy to write. Also, such complaints
are usually dismissed quickly, based
on the information provided by both
parties, without the need for an investigation or a hearing.
i don’t know why my complaint
resulted in dismissal or
counseling, rather than a
recommendation of discipline.
The ABCD is governed by Article X of
the Academy’s bylaws. Section 9 of that
Confidentiality. Except as otherwise provided in these Bylaws, all
proceedings under this Article shall
be kept confidential by the ABCD, its
staff, investigators, and advisers. This
requirement as to confidentiality shall
not preclude the ABCD from:
A. Advising complainants and subject
actuaries about the progress and outcome of matters under consideration;
B. Reviewing previously closed files
as they may relate, in any manner,
to the consideration of a new matter
C. Accepting a bona fide waiver of
confidentiality from a subject actuary
and disclosing information pursuant
to that waiver that would otherwise be kept confidential under this
section, subject to such terms and
conditions as the ABCD deems necessary to protect the confidentiality
rights of other parties and the integrity of the ABCD process.
Based on this requirement, the ABCD
is very limited in its ability to disclose
information about its proceedings. (The
bylaws don’t define “proceeding,” but
the dictionary calls it “a particular action
or course or manner of action.”)
However, it’s important to note that
both the investigator and the subject of
the investigation receive information
following an investigation.
If discipline is recommended to
the organizations of which the subject
actuary is a member, then those organizations’ discipline committees are given
the recommendation and all of the information considered by the ABCD,
including a transcript of the hearing.
Under current rules, the ABCD always
holds a hearing before it sends a recommendation for discipline to actuarial
The ABCD communicates periodically with the complainant about the
progress of the case and will notify him
or her of the final disposition when the
case has been completed.
How can i learn more about the
ABCD and the ways in which it
Recognizing the value of a wide discussion of ethical issues within the
profession, the ABCD spends quite a
bit of time providing case studies of
violations of the code. These fictional
cases are carefully designed to present
the issues while avoiding specifics from
particular cases. Usually the cases contain features from several different past
complaints. Some of the cases are given
in presentations to actuarial organizations, some appear in this column and
some have appeared in other articles by
members of the ABCD and are listed on
the ABCD’s website, www.abcdboard.
It’s our hope that you will take advantage of the ABCD’s outreach to members
of the actuarial profession. And please
don’t hesitate to contact us for specific
JULIA T. PHILIPS is a life and health
regulator for the state of Minnesota,
chairperson of the Contingencies editorial
board and a member of the AbCD. She is
an Academy member and a fellow of the
Society of Actuaries.