Do you think its right for situation?

Hey I’ve had my mind all but made up on going for my CAIA for a while and I just wanted to get some opinions about whether you guys think its a good idea for me or not. I’m currently attending college, and plan on going into Investment Management when I graduate. I have been working part-time with my dad in Financial, Estate, and Business planning for a couple of years, now. We primarily work doing COLI, SERPs, Split Dollar, estate planning, and management of life and securities brokers(as my dad is a registered principal). I have liked the idea of the CAIA a little more because A) (most important) I enjoy learning about alternative investment strategies such as swap agreements, credit arbitrage, etc. more than portfolio theory, B) the fact that I can finish it in a year, and C) The fact that I will be a full CAIA when I graduate because I’ll already have enough experience, and the CFA I would need several more years of experience. Also, I discovered today that Kaplan has a partnership with my school that gives 3 scholarships for the CFA L1. One of my professors said that I would be a shoe in for that scholarship if I had already completed level 1 CAIA. I wasn’t planning on going for my CFA(and instead pursuing a different 2nd designation), but with this information I think it might be a good idea. So what do you guys think?

Judging from your experience, have you looked into CFP which is more geared towards individual or HNW clients? And btw what is your major in college? CAIA presumes you have the basic knowlege of Finance 101. I suggest you take up a finance course or two while still in college. The other alternative is to go through the CFA L1 just to gain a solid foundation in basic finance theory.

Well dealing with individuals is what I currently do, but after graduation I want to try to get in one of the big investment management companies. While I like the approach of dealing with individuals, for at least a descent amount of time I want to help manage large INSTITUTIONAL portfolios. Yes I am a finance major, and have a very, very good understanding of finance. And as I said before I think I would enjoy studying the material in the CAIA more than for example Elliot Wave theory and Modern Portfolio theory. A good portion of these theories, I don’t even agree all that much with. I am a monetarist at heart, and I usually make my calls primarily by looking at the fed and other central banks. Obviously that doesn’t pertain to questions of this stock vs. that stock, but it does pertain to the choice of market–i.e. stocks vs. bonds vs. international markets, etc. While I may still get my CFA, it just appears that it would cover a lot of material that I would care less about. But my ultimate question is whether or not that designation would be useful in investment management(as I see most people that get it are private equity and hedge fund people)? And if so, to what extent? Are you saying that CFA L1 is easier than CAIA L1 and 2?

All of these questions are subjective, and really apply to your unique situation. For example, I don’t truly agree with the monetarist point of view but that doesn’t make it wrong, or make my views any more correct. Similarly others have said CFA-L1 is harder then CAIA L1 or L2, while others have voiced loud disagreement (use the search function). In this environment it doesn’t come to what content you like in what part of the curriculum, it comes to how you can sell it and yourself. If you believe the CAIA is strong enough to sell to get where you want to be (institutional portfolios) then don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. IN MY OPINION (note caps), I think for institutional portfolios the CAIA would be a great fit, but it ultimately comes down to the CFA. Its the most recognized, easiest to sell, most marketable. It may not be your cup of tea but, I personally think its the greatest tool to sell yourself in any format. Expanding the CAIA, FRM, PRM or any other designation builds upon the CFA…well at least, in my opinion. If you want my advice, take the CAIA-L1 in September, the CFA-L1 in June, and the CAIA-L2 afterwords. Go for both. I am taking the CAIA in September, I hope to see you in the forums.

That is exactly what I’ve been leaning towards. Thanks a bunch for the advice. Last question, I’ve read that many people just use the study notes for the test. Since, I’m not currenty in the hedgefund or private equity industry, should I plan on getting both the study notes(I’m using kaplan/schweser) and the books? Or do you think the study notes will be enough?

For CFA schweser notes are excellent, for CAIA Uppermark do the job perfectly.

Most people say you only need the study notes. I got the books and will order the study notes when they come available. I got the course books out of interest, not requirement. Its a personal choice, but I heard they are interesting reads if your into it.

If I had the time I would have like the original texts, I will get them one day no doubt…