CAIA - Value add?

Hi all,

I’m considering writing the CAIA level 1 exam September. I’m not registered yet.

I just wrote the CFA level 2 exam and thoroughly enjoyed the AI material on REITS, VC, Hedge Funds, Private Equity etc.


  1. I’m based in Perth, Australia. I did a quick search on the largest Australian job board - for the key word “CAIA.” I was shocked to see that not even one job popped up in all of Australia. I thought there was something wrong with the search engine. Then I tried to input CFA / FRM and hundreds of jobs popped up. I see this as a good and bad thing. Maybe it’s way too new in Australia and it will start to blow up. So this might be the optimal time to attain it. On the flip side, maybe there is no value-add for years and years to come? Again, I’m very new to this forum and CAIA in general, so I would love to hear what others have to say.

  2. Are the exams relatively easier than the CFA exams? I understand that level 2 is not all multiple choice.

  3. I use Schweser for CFA as the CFAI books are not very pleasant to read and understand. Is it the same scenario with CAIA?

Thanks in advance.

Hey bro,

fellow aussie here. There are only 77 CAIA charterholders in the whole of Australia at this very moment so the designation is definetly in it’s infancy. I did it out of pure interest however I do think it is something that will grow pretty fast over time and will get harder to obtain. I did the first Level last September and found the content easy but not extremely easy. You won’t get by on just CFA knowledge that’s for sure.

The value add right now is not huge but it’s something people are getting interested in. I always have interviewers and recruiters ask me questions about it and are impressed that I’m doing both it and the CFA designation.

Good Luck in Level 2. Cross fingers for us.

Thanks for replying bro.

I think I’m going to enrol before the of June. 77 is a very tiny number, I’m amazed to hear that. With the amount of timberland and natural resources we have in Australia, I can’t see this not having a value-add in the near future.

I need to arrange for the books now, usually the worst part in the whole process:(

Did you use Schweser? Or the level book? Any Q-bank you recommend?

Yes, fingers crossed for CFA level 2. It was not half as bad as I thought it would be.

I used only schweser for both levels. Is registration for September still open?

I got my CAIA last year, and to be perfectly honest, I’m not sure it was worth the cost or time.

The only people I see who have it are mainly marketers. If you want to be a marketer, its probably one of the better designations you can get (or the only real one for just alternatives).

But as an analyst, it really doesn’t cut the mustard. It doesn’t include any kind of specific security analysis - mainly just goes through major asset classes and talks about their different aspects and returns/correlations over the years.

It was nice to get familiar with assets classes I didn’t know that well (mezz debt, quant hedge funds), but I wouldn’t consider myself even a novice at choosing said managers just because I took the CAIA, and therein lies the issue.

Yes, it is.

That’s a very interesting perspective…the point about Marketers.

Have you guys heard of the CMT designation? I read about it last night but do not know even one person who has it. I’m deciding between CMT and CAIA within the next couple of weeks.

I work in PE and its picking up in popularity.

CAIA designation is defenitely increasing in value and recognition…

I have gotten the same feedback from people. I once when to a HF interview where the founded (who never even heard of the CAIA) say, “it’s nice to see someone who isn’t just doing the generic CFA”.

CMT and CAIA are apples and oranges.

CAIA is a good qualification if you work in Fund of Funds, it is not a classic analyst qualification, but gives a good insight for those who create Fund of Fund Portfolios, I’ll stay away from the value of this segment.

CMT is a technical analysis qualification. I know a lot of people do CAIA because they think it adds value, personal opinon for a real analyst I think the CMT has more to offer. CFAI does not believe in Technical Analysis this is clear from it’s light treatment in CFA L1 and their insistent discussion of market efficiency. Personally I think that even if you doubt the veracity of Technical Analysis understanding it is more important than understanding Fund of Fund investing if you are an analyst or PM directly involved in the market

I like to add a little to my comment above.

Whilst it is important to study qualifications that are relevant to your role, it is also fair to recognise that value of a qualification in the eyes of those responsible for recruitment. In Switzerland CAIA has an importance that seriously outwieghs it’s value. I’ve seen job postings where it would seem that the CAIA is seen in the same light as the CFA and I know from personal experience as a certfiied FRM that you’re better off with CAIA than FRM here just because no one knows FRM.

@Monito, thank you for the prospective!

Hopefully the chapter will gain wider recognition in other countries as well.

As with anything, it totally depends on both your interest and the area of finance you work in and want to aim towards. Sorry to point out the obvious.

I manage both the fund dealing team (mutual funds and hedge funds) and client services for an institutional bank and although not everyone has hear of CAIA, those that have bring it up (not one person has mentioned my time has been wasted ;-)). Clients who haven’t heard of it, also bring it our and it’s always a positive reaction, a couple have even started studying it.

I enjoyed studying for the CAIA, fits my job and I know what I’m talking about but it depends on what you do. Also, it’s encouraged me to start studying CFA 1 :slight_smile:

registered for level 2 september 2013.

@Monito Hi Monito,

I can see that you work in a hedge fund in Switzerland. Could I ask you a few questions about living and working in the investment industry there?

Because this forum offers no PM functionality, can I write you an e-mail, in which I would ask you some questions?

My e-mail address is: If are OK with it, please write me a message and I will write my questions in reponse to it.

Thanks in advance!

growing slowly thats why its still so $$$$.

get it now while pass marks are higher.


I liked the material, it helped me prepare for the CFA (which i just finished). Overall the tests are not that difficult to pass (relative to cfa) and it teaches you most of the same material. It accomplishes this relatively quickly. You can be a CAIA charterholder in a matter of months, whereas the CFA will most likely take you years.

It’s brand is not that recognized currently. So it’s not a magic pill. But hey, if you are interested in this stuff and work in the industry, it’s not a bad way to get some basic knowledge.