Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst – Definition

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Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst (CAIA) Definition

The Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst (CAIA) is a certification that guarantees that the holder has completed the level I and II examinations and the holder can be regarded as a specialist in Alternative Investment. This professional certification details that the holder has been trained in areas such as hedge funds, venture capital, private equity, funds of funds,  derivatives and real estate investments. This professional certification is granted by the Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst Association.

A Little More on What is a Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst (CAIA)

Though, a CAIA designation is specifically for financial professionals whose area of interest is alternative investments such as private equity and hedge funds. This credential can also be earned by professionals managing the derivatives book or trading desk, these are individuals in non- traditional financial institutions.

Requirements for the Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst Designation

The CAIA examination is conducted in March and September, while the level I and II exams cost $2,900, it is recommended that the student studies for 200 hours to ensure success. It is also a prerequisite that professionals who should be awarded this designation must have a professional experience of a year and above, a U.S. bachelor’s degree and must have passed a two-level curriculum that includes topics ranging from qualitative analysis and trading theories of alternative investments to indexation and benchmarking. Upon designation, it is expected for such professionals to have a self-evaluation exam within 3 years and also pay a sum of $350 annually.

Differences Between the CAIA and the CFA

They have similarities in that both offer career change, job change, membership options, and education. Different in scope,  the Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst (CAIA) focuses on alternative investments but the Chartered Financial Association includes content on alternative investments. The CFA is a general designation for the financial industry, but the CAIA is a specific aspect of finance like private equity or hedge funds. Just another important difference, the CFA designation is difficult to get compared to the CAIA. Lastly, CAIA is more specific and deeper than the CFA, which combines many aspects of financial concepts.

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