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FAQ "Responsible Actuary (RA)"

1. Appointment, transitional periods

Does every group or every conglomerate have to appoint an RA?
For every insurance undertaking (IU) subject to supervision by FOPI, an RA must be appointed (art. 23 ISA). For groups and conglomerates, however, no such legal requirement exists.

According to art. 90 para. 4 ISA, the Federal Council may set a transitional period for the RA to acquire the required professional qualifications. Does this mean that the RA may wait until after his appointment to acquire the necessary qualifications?
The Federal Council has not made use of the option granted by the ISA (see art. 216 SO). The RA must therefore have the necessary professional qualifications at the time of his appointment.

Does the RA have to be a Swiss citizen and/or a resident of Switzerland?
There are no requirements concerning the citizenship or residence of the RA.

Does the RA have to speak a Swiss national language?
No. However, he must understand the regulatory requirements.

2. Position of the RA in relation to the insurance undertaking, conflicts of interest

Does the RA have to be an employee of the IU?
No, he must only be designated by name. For instance, he may be employed by a consulting company that has been mandated by the IU.

May the RA be a consulting company?
No, he must be a natural person designated by name.

May the declaration of status be signed by the employer of the RA?
No, it must be signed by the RA.

How are the responsibilities governed between the RA and the general management?
The RA must report inadequacies in the areas for which he is responsible to the general management and recommend possible measures. However, it is the responsibility of the executive management whether it takes such measures.

May the RA be a member of the board of directors or of the general management of the IU?
This is not expressly ruled out by law. In the case of conflicts of interest, however, the supervisory authority may prohibit the appointment of the RA or link the appointment to conditions. A conflict of interest would arise, for instance, if the RA in effect addresses the actuary's report to himself.

May the RA also be active as a pricing actuary?
If a risk of conflict of interest exists, he may not.

May the RA of a captive be an employee of the parent company?
If a risk of conflict of interest exists, he may not.

May the RA be the beneficiary of an incentive plan?
Yes, unless this leads to a conflict of interest. As a rule, tying the compensation of the RA to the success of the undertaking is permissible.

May the RA be a member of the Internal Audit body?
No. The risk of a conflict of interest would be too great.

May the RA be an employee of the External Auditor of the undertaking?
This is not expressly ruled out by the ISA. With such a constellation, however, the risk of conflicts of interest is great. Providing the service as an RA and External Auditor from the same service prociding company to an IU is subject to approval. The justified application must be submitted to FOPI with an explanation of the cost effects and the concrete planned organization and separation measures. Where necessary, FOPI shall specify demands for the special case under article 114, paragraph 3 SO.

3. Responsibilities

Is it true that the RA is only responsible for the debit amount of the tied assets required?
No, the RA is responsible for ensuring that the entire tied assets required and the provisions (on the assets and liabilities side of the balance sheet) comply with the requirements of supervision law (art. 24 ISA). For this purpose, he may obtain the requisite assurances from the responsible internal offices.

Is the RA responsible for the business conducted by branches of the IU as an RA?

The content of the actuary's report is described in art. 3 SO-FOPI. Will the supervisory authority specify the structure of the report in more detail by way of instructions?
No. The precise content of the report depends on the situation of the undertaking. When compiling his report, the RA relies on his expertise and his professional experience. For this purpose, he receives support from the Swiss Association of Actuaries (SAA), which has issued guidelines on the actuary's report for life and non-life insurance in its expert opinions.

Is the actuary's report submitted to the supervisory authority?
No, to the general management. However, the supervisory authority has the right to receive the actuary's report at any time.

Does the actuary's report have to be written in one of the official languages?
No, the actuary's report is submitted to and must be understood by the general management (see previous question). However, FOPI may reserve the right to demand a translation of the actuary's report into a national language, if the report should play a role in a regulatory or legal procedure.

Is the RA responsible for the correct calculation of the SST?
The RA is only responsible in this regard to the extent that his training and experience as well as the size and risk structure of the IU allow it. He is therefore only responsible for those areas of the SST that he has effectively mastered thanks to his training and experience and that he actually can handle given the size and risk structure of the IU for which he works. This does not release the IU from the responsibility for the areas of the SST not covered by the RA. The board of directors and the general management have an organizational and managerial responsibility to appoint appropriate staff members who assume expert responsibility for the areas of the SST not covered by the RA (art. 22 ISA and art. 14 ISA in conjunction with art. 12 and 14 SO). Often, this responsibility is assigned to a Chief Risk Officer, who generally does not have to be an actuary but should have a mathematical education (e.g. mathematics, physics, etc.).

What is the appropriate technical basis for the calculation according to art. 24 para. 1b ISA?
This is the technical basis specific to insurance (e.g. the mortality table for life insurance, technical interest rates).

4. Information

What are the relevant provisions under supervision law?
Art. 23 and 24 ISA, art. 99 SO, art. 2, 3 and 4 SO-FOPI and the FOPI Instructions of 1 March 2006.

Will FOPI issue more detailed directives on the responsibilities of the RA?
No. However, the SAA issues guidelines on the actuary's report in its expert opinions.

What other texts should be taken into account?
The relevant guidelines of the SAA, which can be found in the expert opinions of the SAA.

Where can the new FOPI directives be found?
FOPI informs the companies concerned and makes the directives available on the Internet.
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Specialist staff: info@bpv.admin.ch
Last updated on: 26.01.2007

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