Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst (CAIA)
is a professional designation
offered by the CAIA Association to investment professionals who complete two examinations in succession. The "alternative investments" industry is characterized as dealing with asset classes and investments other than standard equity
or fixed income
products. Alternative investments can include hedge funds
, venture capital
, private equity
, real estate
, managed futures
and other derivatives
, and foreign exchange
investments. The CAIA curriculum is designed to provide finance professionals with a broad base of knowledge in altenative investments with a focus on hedge funds, managed futures, and private equity.
The CAIA Association was founded by the Alternative Investment Management Association (AIMA) and the Center for International Securities and Derivatives Markets (CISDM).
The CAIA program is divided into two distinct levels. The Level I curriculum focuses on the fundamentals of alternative investment markets, while Level II concentrates on advanced topics in alternative investments. Both incorporate issues of ethics and professional conduct. The Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst Association is an independent, not-for-profit global organization committed to education and professionalism in the field of alternative investments. Founded in 2002, the Association is the sponsoring body for the CAIA designation. CAIA holders are required to maintain membership in the CAIA Association and adhere to professional and ethics standards. Currently, there are over 2,000 CAIA members.
The Level I curriculum is broadly divided into two sections – quantitative methods and an introduction to alternative investments. Candidates study the application of basic analytical tools, as well as the fundamentals of alternative investment vehicles. Candidates learn to differentiate between the various AI trading strategies and performance measurements. Candidates registered for the program are assumed to have an elementary undergraduate understanding of the basic concepts of traditional finance.
The Level I curriculum covers such areas as:
- quantitative analysis
- regulatory frameworks
- trading strategies
- performance measurement
- credit derivatives
The Level II curriculum is also broadly divided into two sections - alternative investments and Current and Integrated Topics. Both sections take a global perspective. Candidates must apply the skills and knowledge from Level I to gain a deeper understanding of issues involved in each of the areas of alternative investments. Current and Integrated Topics is updated annually to reflect the latest industry and research developments, such as new products and advances in risk management techniques.
The Level II curriculum covers such areas as:
- Asset allocation
- Portfolio management
- Style analysis
- Risk management
- Structured products
- Indexation and benchmarking
- Current topics and case analyses
As of the September 2007 Level I exam curriculum, the CAIA program no longer covers traditional investments material and focuses exclusively on alternative investments.
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