Thinking of the CAIA® Charter: The Chartered Alternative Investments Analyst Curriculum

To earn the CAIA Charter requires completing a rigorous, self-study education program created by the CAIA Association to help give finance professionals the necessary knowledge and skills to perform at a high level in the world of alternative investments. The CAIA Charter is recognized as the global benchmark in alternative investment education and is a steppingstone for many new entrants into the field.

CAIA Program Overview

The CAIA program is appropriate for you if you want to develop a deeper understanding and demonstrate expertise in alternative investments. This program may be appropriate for professionals working at or advising hedge funds and private equity firms in such roles as:

  • Risk managers
  • Analysts
  • Portfolio managers
  • Traders
  • Consultants
  • Business development/marketing
  • Operations
  • Advisors

To complete the program requires, on average, a minimum of 200 hours of study time for each of the two levels of the CAIA exam (400 study hours total). Because these exams are offered only in the months of March and September, you have the potential to complete the entire program and earn the CAIA Charter in a year’s time. The computer-based exams can be taken virtually anywhere around the lo globally via testing centers.

CAIA Exam Format

Level I

Professional Standards and Ethics

  • Professionalism
  • Integrity of Capital Markets
  • Duties to Clients
  • Duties to Employers
  • Investment Analysis, Recommendations, and Actions
  • Conflicts of Interest

Introduction to Alternative Investments

  • What Is an Alternative Investment?
  • The Environment of Alternative Investments
  • Quantitative Foundations
  • Statistical Foundations
  • Measures of Risk and Performance
  • Foundations of Financial Economics
  • Benchmarking and Performance Attribution
  • Alpha, Beta, and Hypothesis Testing
  • Regression, Multivariate, and Nonlinear Methods

Real Assets

  • Natural Resources and Land
  • Commodity Forward Pricing
  • Commodities: Applications and Evidence
  • Operationally-Intensive Real Assets
  • Liquid and Fixed-Income Real Estate
  • Real Estate Equity Investments

Hedge Funds

  • Structure of the Hedge Fund Industry
  • Macro and Managed Futures Funds
  • Event-Driven Hedge Funds
  • Relative Value Hedge Funds
  • Equity Hedge Funds
  • Funds of Hedge Funds

Private Equity

  • Introduction to Private Equity
  • Equity Types of Private Equity
  • Debt Types of Private Equity

Structured Products

  • Introduction to Structuring
  • Credit Risk and Credit Derivatives
  • CDO Structuring of Credit Risk
  • Equity-Linked Structured Products

Risk Management and
Portfolio Management

  • Cases in Tail Events
  • Investment Process, Operations, and Risk
  • Due Diligence of Fund Managers
  • Portfolio Management, Alpha, and Beta

Level II

Asset Allocation and Institutional

  • Asset Allocation Processes and the Mean-Variance
  • Model
  • Tactical Asset Allocation, Mean-Variance
  • Extensions, Risk Budgeting, Risk Parity, and
  • Factor Investing
  • The Endowment Model
  • Pension Fund Portfolio Management
  • Sovereign Wealth Funds
  • The Family Office Model

Private Equity

  • Private Equity Market Structure
  • Private Equity Benchmarking
  • Fund Manager Selection and Monitoring
  • Private Equity Operational Due Diligence
  • Private Equity Investment Process and Portfolio
  • Management
  • Measuring Private Equity Risk
  • The Management of Liquidity

Real Assets

  • Real Estate as an Investment
  • Real Estate Indices and Unsmoothing Techniques
  • Investment Styles, Portfolio Allocation, and Real
  • Estate Derivatives
  • Listed Versus Unlisted Real Estate Investments
  • International Real Estate Investments
  • Infrastructure as an Investment
  • Farmland and Timber Investments
  • Investing in Intellectual Property


  • Key Concepts in Commodity Markets
  • Allocation to Commodities
  • Accessing Commodity Investment
  • Products

Hedge Funds and Managed

  • Managed Futures
  • Investing In CTAs
  • Relative Value Strategies
  • Hedge Funds – Directional Strategies
  • Hedge Funds: Credit Strategies
  • Volatility, Correlation, and Dispersion Products and Strategies
  • Hedge Fund Replication
  • Funds of Hedge Funds and Multistrategy
  • Funds
  • Hedge Fund Operational Due Diligence

Structured Products

  • Regulation and Compliance
  • Structured Products I – Fixed-income
  • Derivatives and Asset-backed Securities
  • Structured Products II: Insurance-Linked
  • Products and Hybrid Securities

Once you complete both levels of the CAIA exam, you are then eligible to join the CAIA Assocation and become a CAIA Charterholder.

Ready to learn more? See why you should become a CAIA® Charterholder.