Student May Have Made Actuarial History

Passing your first actuarial exam can be difficult, and achieving the top grade is harder still. So Antonio Molina (pictured) may have made history by completing both feats at the age of 16.

The Grade 11 student from Fredericton, NB, recently scored 10 in the first of the Society of Actuaries (SOA) exams, a challenge that is normally faced by third- or fourth-year university students or those on specialized actuarial programs. Although no records are kept of such statistics, CIA member Howard Slaney believes Antonio may be the youngest Canadian student to ever pass the exam.

It is partly due to Mr. Slaney, a partner at Morneau Shepell, that Antonio sat the three-hour test. Antonio—who has completed every math course offered by his school and now studies part-time at the University of New Brunswick, while still taking lessons at École Sainte-Anne—spent time job shadowing at Morneau Shepell. While he was there, Mr. Slaney mentioned the actuarial exams.

The CIA Fellow told Antonio’s local paper, the Daily Gleaner, that he was impressed to see a student performing at the same level as employees who had been there several years. He added: "He can solve problems like nobody’s business . . . I’ve been in the business for 36 years, I’ve spent my life around brilliant mathematicians because that’s who we hire into this profession. This kid is a notch above."

Following news of his achievement, Antonio, who turned 17 last month, said: "I don’t fully appreciate it at the moment. It was a challenge for me, but it feels pretty cool.

"I studied for the exam for a while, but it was still difficult. I hadn’t done all the calculus that you are expected to have done, so that did slow me up at the beginning, although I never got stuck."

Antonio told the CIA he wanted to sit the test because it represented a new challenge; he had never found math work at school very difficult, and he was enjoying his university studies, despite being much younger than his classmates, because they were "fun and challenging".

However, he said that completing the first SOA exam did not necessarily mean he wanted to become an actuary. "I like mathematics because I like seeing patterns and everything going together nicely, but I haven’t looked too far ahead. If I do choose to go along the path towards being an actuary, though, I will have done the exam already."

His friends and family have always known of his ability with numbers, and he added: "It was a bit stressful for my parents before the exam, but for them I think this is pretty normal."