Standards of Actuarial Practice and Advisory Practice Notes 


Standards of Actuarial Practice (SAPs) and Advisory Practice Notes (APNs) are practice area specific standards and advisory notes. They are issued by Council to assist members in carrying out their professional responsibilities.  

The numbering convention reflects the practice area. The following numbering convention has been adopted:


Series 100 dealing with Life Offices 
Series 200 dealing with Retirement Funds
Series 300 dealing with Healthcare
Series 400 dealing with Short-term Insurance
Series 500 dealing with AIDS
Series 600 dealing with Social Security
Series 700 dealing with Delictual and Other Legal
Series 800 dealing with CPD and educational matters
Series 900 dealing with general guidance to actuaries when performing actuarial services

Distinction between SAPs and APNs 


SAPs are standards that all members must adhere to. A material breach of the SAP will in itself be ground for a complaint under the disciplinary procedures and will amount to strong prima facie evidence of unprofessional conduct. A member choosing to depart from a strict interpretation of a SAP is strongly advised to disclose and justify any such departure in his report. 


APNs provide advice to members to guide them in their relevant area of practice. Failure to comply with an APN will not in itself constitute grounds for complaint under the disciplinary procedures. However, the Committee investigating an allegation of unprofessional conduct will take into account the extent to which a member complied with an APN in this category. It is recommended that any departure from an APN be disclosed. 


Amending and drafting of SAPs and APNs 


The following steps must be followed in developing new guidance and amending existing guidance:

Identification, by any of the Society’s committees or boards of the need for professional guidance in particular area.

Presentation to the Professional Matters Board (PMB), or to Council if the proposal originates from the PMB, by the relevant committee or board, covering the technical and strategic reasons for developing professional guidance in a specific area and the proposed format of such guidance.

Agreement in principle by the PMB (or by Council if the proposal originates from the PMB) that specific guidance is required and the proposed format thereof and the provision of a mandate to a specific committee or board to draft such guidance. If this decision is taken by the PMB, then Council will be asked to ratify this decision.

  • Drafting and consideration by relevant practice area committee.
  • Submission to the PMB for input on professionalism issues. The PMB may decide to involve the Actuarial Governance Board as well.
  • Final draft approved by relevant practice area committee and PMB.
  • Circulation among members for comment by specified cut-off date.
  • Consideration by the practice area committee and PMB of members’ comments and approval of final version.
  • Approval by Council on recommendation of the appropriate practice area committee or board and the PMB. 


Changes to Professional Guidance Notes 


All active Professional Guidance Notes (PGNs) have been replaced with effect from 31 December 2012. This was done in order to make them consistent with the International Actuarial Association (IAA) framework. The IAA has established as a strategic objective, the convergence of international actuarial standards and several task forces have been at work looking at different aspects of achieving this aim. The IAA will now publish:

  • International Standards of Actuarial Practice (ISAPs) which are model standards which member associations may or may not decide to adopt.
  • International Actuarial Notes (IANs) which are educational notes for the use and information of member associations or actuaries and to be used entirely at their discretion.

The mandatory PGNs were replaced by Standards of Actuarial Practice (SAPs) and the best practice and advisory PGNs were replaced by Advisory Practice Notes (APNs).  The numbering convention remains the same, thus for example, APN 107 replaces PGN 107.

These changes result in a clearer distinction between the mandatory standards and non-mandatory guidance and also allow Council to issue interim guidance when further developments, e.g. legislation, are awaited.

In addition, Council can issue educational notes on issues where comment or elucidation is required, but where a standard of practice is unnecessary or undesirable. A system of less formal guidance or educational notes, which complement formal standards of practice, allows the organisation to build up a more comprehensive body of guidance, to the benefit of its members.


Professional conduct


The Code of Professional Conduct governs the professionalism of members of the Actuarial Society based on the following main principles:

  • the application of specialist and up-to-date knowledge and expertise
  • the demonstration of ethical behaviour
  • professional accountability to the Actuarial Society.

The Disciplinary Procedure details the steps to be followed in the event of a complaint about the unprofessional or unacceptable conduct of a member of the Actuarial Society.

Code of Professional Conduct (pdf)
Disciplinary Procedure (pdf)
Whistleblowing - Explanatory Note (pdf)
Peer Review - Explanatory Note (pdf)