Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst CAIA

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 alternative 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 4,200 CAIA members. The Journal of Alternative Investments is the official publication of the CAIA Association. Edited by Thomas Schneeweis of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, the JAI is one of nine journals published by Institutional Investor Journals.

Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst Level I

The Level I curriculum is divided into seven sections having been recently updated (2008/2009). Candidates initially study the background to alternative asset investing and their use in a tactical asset allocation (TAA) strategy. This understanding is then developed by considering different asset classes or investment strategies that are considered "alternative". 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; "this includes awareness of the instruments that trade in traditional markets, models used to value these instruments, and the tools and methods used to analyze data."

The Level I curriculum covers:

* Professional Standards and Ethics
* Alpha Drivers and Beta Drivers
* Real Estate
* Hedge Funds
* Commodities and Managed Futures
* Private Equity
* Credit Derivatives

Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst Level II

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:

* Professional Standards and Ethics
* Advanced topics in alternative investments
* Asset allocation
* Portfolio management
* Due Diligence
* Risk management
* Structured products
* Indexation and benchmarking
* Current and integrated topics


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