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The ABCD Process from the Inside
The Actuarial Board for Counseling and Discipline (ABCD) performs several functions for the actuarial profession. We are all
aware of the public face of the discipline process and recommendations for public discipline. There is, however, another function
that is performed behind the scenes. I’m referring to private
counseling—the “C” in “ABCD”—as an outcome of a disciplinary
complaint or hearing.
While some recipients of such counseling consider it as
little more than an annoyance or a slap on the wrist, others
take it for what is intended—a frank discussion of what went
wrong in the actuary’s work and how to avoid it in the future.
The following article was written by an actuary who found
him/herself as the subject of a discipline hearing. The outcome
was counseling. In this case the author took the counseling as
an opportunity to improve in several ways, and volunteered to
share his/her perspective on the process as a service to the other
actuaries. As one of the counselors in this case, I was gratified to
see such a positive outcome of a difficult process.
—Janet Fagan, Chairperson
Actuarial Board for Counseling and Discipline
ABOUT THREE YEARS AGO, as I was returning from vacation, I
received a letter that none of us want to receive. It was a notice that
I was the subject of a complaint to the Actuarial Board for Counseling
and Discipline (ABCD). Since then, I have learned a lot about myself, my
profession, and the work of the ABCD. Ultimately I received confidential counseling from two members of the ABCD. This article provides
you with some of the lessons I learned along the way.
Take It All Seriously
Respond to every request for information and attend any hearings in person,
if at all possible. No matter how strongly
you believe that your work is not in violation of the Code of Professional Conduct,
much of what we do is subject to interpretation—and there are often two sides