Hello, Has anyone enrol to the CAIA exam? Any suggestion of which study manual to use?

i used schweser, passed both level 1/2 on first attempt

Is it as challenging as the CFA exam? How many hours did you study?

The CAIA and the LI CFA have almost nothing in common. The CFA I is: Finnacial accounting (a lot); basic statistics; econ (major emphasis); fixed income; plus some stuff on corp fin, derivatives, some equity / alts; ethics. It looks like the total amount of reading would be in the range of 1800 pages(??). They use advanced college / grad skul text books. I found the Level I CAIA a real sofaB (which I passed). They have changed the ciriculum some (I liked the one I did better), but it reequired a guru level unmderstanding of Bodie/Kane’s Investments (this is an excellent graduate school level text book BTW). It also includes stuff on real estate in general, a couple of books on alternatives themselves. It really requires (both tests) that you UNDERSTAND the analytical foundations of modern finance theory, plus do most of the math and solve real world problems w/ a hand calculator. The LI now emphasizes hedge funds more. While you don’t have to prove you know how to derive, say, Treynors beta optimization solouton, they play tricks and will ask how the result would differ if this variable was replaced by that one. It was also VERY quantitative, you have to solve, using a 12C, for std dev, var, correl, cov, etc of a time series of data they give you. Level II is: ethics, convertible arbitrage (a bitch), REIT’s, private equity, quantitative trading methods, more math. For this you have to read, and understand the contents of 4 professional books plus about 20 academic journal articles on a whole bunch of pretty advanced topics (pricing catestropic risk insurance, portfolio re-balancing, tax, legal, regulatory stuff as it relates to hedge funds, institutional stuff, CDO’s, benchmarks, commoditiy term structure pricing, etc). I think the articles are kind of crappy. Thats 50%, the remaining 50% are essay questions (of which I think there are 4 which appear to be kinda like case studies, one of which ties the whole ciriculum together in a giant institutional portfolio case (deals with investing in timber properties). The LII involved reading about 2000 pages of academic / detailed books / articles. Plus theres about 40 equations you need to memorize for this LII test and probably 150 for the LI (most of which you should already know about, like whaats the std dev of a portfolio, beta, commodity futures pricing, etc.) They say you can do this in 150 - 180 hrs – HA! For both tests they give you lists of very detailed things to kinow about each subject , which for each of 11 topics amounted to about 30 - 40 questions each (350 total?). If you KNOW, not memorize, the answers to all these topics you should do fine.

Thanks for sharing your opinions here!

How much time before Frank chimes in? So if I understand, the CAIA material is more voluminous than the CFA material?

For L1 CAIA, i spent 120 hrs, L2 CAIA 80-90 hours using schweser study notes only. took a risk for level 2, CAIA recommended 120 hours. Pass rate for L1 CAIA Mar 07 => 76% Pass rate for L2 CAIA sep 07=>65% I cleared L3 CFA last yr, CFA is definitely alot more difficult and harder to pass. would rate the exams in this order of difficulty L3 CFA > L2 CFA > L1 CFA > L2 CAIA > L1 CAIA

here I am…just getting ready for hte Cotto Mosley this Saturday and the FRM next saturday… I’ll consider my options after i’m done my FRM. but i have a lot of options and very few options at the same time if you know what I mean.

are schweser notes enough for CAIA level I?


maratikus…it is problably enough, but i would strongly recommend the books. the notes aren’t that great and i had to refer to the original books a lot to clarify certain things.

What is the value of CAIA in the job market? Do people recognize this designation? Will it be easier to find job after CAIA? I already have an MBA.

Good luck on the FRM. Is the FRM well recognized in Canada, Frank?

stern, not sure if the FRM is well recognized. i doubt it though since the CFA has already become a prerequisite. i actually saw 3 postings related to hedge funds that mentioned CAIA. if you have an MBA already, you already have the strongest tool in terms of getting a job.

I’ve seen HF postings with CAIA in new york as well. I’m looking forward to studying for the FRM next nov. though. It’s very useful information. While the MBA is obviously the premier “letter”, if you examine the course loads for the average MBA program, it’s not that sophisticated. An investment management track MBA is basically an undergrad finance degree with five or six more courses. And the courses are stuff covered in equal or less degree with the combined FRM/CAIA. And an MBA costs 60,000 USD+ With CFA, FRM, CAIA, knowledge combined, it’s probably greater than MBA finance. And cheaper…but not for the risk adverse. I took the generalist business core [the core of MBA] a year ago in undergrad, and it’s virtually the same as the MBA program…shallow, easy classes with marginal value.

But my MBA doesnt come from “Target School” and thats why I am thinking about other alternatives (CFA and CAIA) for Target Jobs.

stern, i’m very surprised to hear that considering you’re going to a school NYU that i would have no chance of getting into. i would think the MBA would be harder then the CFA. i mean, I did grad studies in economics, and believe me, it was depth wise, 5 times deeper minimum then anything encountered so far. i would expect the MBA to be even tougher considering it is 2 full years. how can it be shallow though or cover the same topics as the CFA? i mean, most people who get into your school have strong GMAT and problably pretty damm smart with a CFA. not to mention, most of them have gotten jobs i can only dream of at this point. don’t people stand up and say, “look, this is stupid, i didnt’ pay 60k for something i could’ve taught myself. now teach me something relevant and mind twisting.”. we had a grad student that said that and believe me, the teacher turned it up. the 60k however is a bit too steep and I see it as a big rip off. you can’t convince me that teaching MBA courses is that much more expensive then teaching econ courses. most people in academic graduate studies programs get in for free anyways, but it would’ve only cost 20k max for two years even if they didn’t get the full ride. i will write the GMAT though after the FRM just for the hell of it. i want to see what score i can get.

The first few courses in the MBA track for NYU Stern are the same as the undergrad track we take. Same textbooks, same course, same professors. It’s just that undergrads don’t have access to the more sophisticated courses. Recently, behavioral finance has been offered to undergrads which is pretty cool. The undergrad general business core I took is nearly the same as the general business core that MBA’s take at Stern. I frankly don’t believe I got that much out of it except for knowing the basics of management, marketing, operations, economics, stats,accounting. Which are covered in such a short [1 class] and shallow manner. MBA has a lot of reputation and marketing value though… I personally feel after I do the CFA, CAIA, and perhaps the FRM, going back to Stern for MBA would be a waste of time. A lot of the NYU MBA students who did undergrad business feel like they’re throwing money and time away for the recruiting aspect and a lot of courses are “BS”. I’m not sure how it is in other institutions though. I think the only thing you would be missing out are all the projects and group work experience.

i had spoken to some Schullich and Richard Ivey undergraduates, they essentially told me the same thing about how the grad. level is essentially the same as the undergrad. i find it hard to believe since the MBA is recruiting the “top” people, ex ibankers, traders, associate PMs. but then again, you have a better chance at becoming an associate at an ibank after.

Frank, KJH, Thanks for your input. I’m thinking about taking CAIA without being too distracted from CFA. good luck on FRM!