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Need advice from existing fund manager(s)


I am currently studying for the level II CFA exam and am also considering undertaking the CAIA (Chartered alternative investments analyst) program. To give you a backdrop about myself, I am a futures trader and have been for the past 5 years. I am currently in the process of setting up an hedge fund style investment company. My question is, are there any fund managers on here that hold both CFA and CAIA designations? Is it worthwhile putting in the added time and effort to pursue CAIA in addition to the CFA program as a requisite of entering the Hedge fund world?


  • SophieSophie Posts: 1,997 Sr Partner
    I recall @Dollarstodonuts has a CAIA designation, maybe he'll be able to comment/help.

    @Mattunderwood on the other hand is in portfolio management, and has an MBA (but not CAIA), perhaps he can give some perspective of what is the norm/expected in the industry.
  • @shoaibster It seems like you and I are in similar situations. I'm also a level II CFA candidate and I'll be taking level II of the CAIA exam this September.

    To directly answer your question, I would say yes. And the main reason I say that is because of the relative difficulty of the test now. Since the designation is new, the pass rate is still high (around 65%) since the people at CAIA want to collect membership dues. As the test gains more notoriety, it is going to become much more difficult--similar to the process that the CFA exam has gone through.

    I look at it as an investment in an unknown security. Right now it's unknown and you can "buy it cheap." But in about 10 years I can see the designation being worth much, much more.
  • LagartaLagarta Raleigh, NCPosts: 62 Jr Portfolio Manager
    Hey there @shoaibster, just wanted to pop in to give my two cents (thanks Sophie!)

    As far as the CAIA, it does cover a lot of the necessary tools to work in a hedge fund, including the due diligence, internal reporting, etc.

    It, however, is NOT a prerequisite. Depending on the type of hedge fund job you want (quant momentum, Long-short, etc). There will be different preffered designations. For instance, I know MANY more PhD in Physics or MS Mathematics graduates that work in Hedge Funds than CAIA Charterholders. MBAs tend to go the Private Equity route in my experience (closing deals, I suppose, is a job skill :) ).

    I know several colleagues who hold both CFA and CAIA charters, however, they use the designation to better understand the potential investment universes available to their groups in AA decisionmaking.

    CAIA is still up-and-coming. I could see value in it, but it is not yet a "gold standard" like the CFA charter in Investment Management.

    Hope that helps!
  • I think @MattUnderwood brings up a great point. The CAIA designation is really helpful in getting an understanding of alternative investments at a "mile-wide, inch-deep" level, which is why many advisers tack on the designation, since they are mainly concerned with AA.

    However, the curriculum doesn't make you a specialist in any of the topics, which is something to keep in mind. For example, the CAIA won't help you become a better long/short hedge fund manager.
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