Does the CAIA open any new doors?

As stated in the subject line, does the CAIA or passing Level I open any new doors? Also, what opportunities are presented to CAIA charterholders as opposed to non-CAIA charterholders?

I am not sure the CAIA will present too many new opportunities that wouldn’t otherwise be available with your experience or credentials, especially just with level 1.

The credential is still in the early stages of building its brand recognition (at least here in Australia), so it isn’t going to carry a lot of weight in the selection process compared to these other factors. That being said, I do believe it can give you an edge in the selection and interview process.

With level I only? i’m not sure…

it will at least give you plenty of good materials to talk about and impress ppl, and do better in interviews…

With full CAIA? of course it opens doors!

NO designation in the world would give you such insight and depth in the alternatives world like the CAIA… it is a very tough charter to get… specialized and niche (not for everyone)

keep in mind that the CAIA is only about 12 years only (CFA is more that 32 years old), and CAIA already has nearly 6500 charter holders!! and increasing.

SWFs, pensions, F-o-Fs, PE & HF advisors, and foundations are starting to see a lot of CAIAs between their employees…

^ Maybe it does in The Kingdom.

I earned the CAIA several years back, and my experienence is that CAIA does not open any doors. I believe that the problem is that the pass rates for the CAIA exams are so high that (unlike the CFA designation), it cannot be assumed that a CAIA holder is a highly intelligent person. Anyone can earn the CAIA.

How does one even measure whether a certification opened any doors or not? Can you name one certification which truly “opens the doors”?

Even if one gets the most respected and tough chapter - the CFA - it will not right away catapult him/her in a hot position. Perhaps we have unrealistic expectations, which is natural when we invest significant amount of effort and time into these exams. In reality none of these exams is truly life/career changer.

What do you think?

Maybe if the charter comes in credit card format…

I got it. No it doesnt. No one knows what the f**k it is.

Yes, an MBA from a good school like Chicago, MIT, Columbia, etc is a relatively surefire way for even a non-finance person to land a six-figure finance job at a bulge-bracket bank.

+1

MBA is not a certification, it’s a degree.

If we’re going to split hairs about nomenclature, CAIA is a designation, not a certification. If the question is about which credential opens the doors to a good job on finance, the answer is: a top MBA.

In 2012, CAIA Association heavily revised the level I curriciulum (apparently, it used to be a joke; rest assured that that is no longer the case, in spite of pass rates–more on this below). CAIA level II, while presumably not in the same league as CFA level II (the ultimate challenge, unless I’m mistaken), has never been easy, and by no means can “anyone” pass it. I would venture that anyone with a ~125+ IQ can pass it, should they study (memorize shit…let’s remember that these exams are tests of *memory*, first and foremost, which may or may not be regarded as a component of “intelligence”) sufficiently. You might be a genius, but for someone with only a 135 IQ (yours truly), passing level I on attempt one was something I’m proud of (two people I know, who [incidentally] work in or around hedge, failed…), and studying for level II is proving to be a hell of a task (I have created and compiled nearly 1000 note cards [concepts, formulas, etc.], given that, thanks to essays, everything must be known without potential answers having been provided). (Let’s also remember that all MC questions within both CAIA I and II have at least four potential answers [some have up to six, if memory serves], not three, as is the case with at least CFA I.) (Please correct me if mistaken.)

Now, the counter-argument will be, “yes, but 60% still pass each level.” True…but we have to look at who is taking CAIA exams (as compared to who is taking CFA I). CFA I is seen (quite inaccurately) as the “key” to “getting one’s foot into an investment role,” so naturally, it is targeted by *everyone* who is sick of their mundane back office work. (Unfortunately, most of them belong there.) The only people I know who have studied for CAIA exams (or even know what CAIA is) are highly intelligent, experienced, and already work in Hedge/PE (etc.). These are the people, en masse (at least as far as I can see, though surveys might refute this), who are taking the exams…not kids one year out of college (any college…with any old BS…) who think CFA I is a breeze and therefore don’t study appropriately, assuming they have the mental capability to pass it (which is not a wise assumption to make). Of course they fail, only after realizing that CFA charter is way out of their league. Sure, some of them may turn to CAIA…and they’ll fail to attain said designation, as well.

Further, CAIA I requires much of what CFA I provides (at least from the research I’ve put into CFA I); if you hadn’t studied for CFA I (or if you lack a BS in Finance), CAIA I would be that much more difficult (CFA I-level knowledge appears to be a prerequisite, though only CAIA Association could confirm that).

In sum, realistically, a very small percentage of the population is mentally capable of earning the CAIA designation, just as is the case with the CFA designation. CFA obviously requires much more time and rote memorization (it’s difficult to imagine any course of study that is more difficult, based on my research…maybe someday, if I determine that it is worth what seems to be potentially enormous opportunity cost), but they’re both logically difficult, they both require a ton of memorization and effort, and neither is a guarantee of *anything, at all* in the job market (finance, like nothing else I’ve seen, is as nepotistic and fraternal as can be imagined [nearly entirely, it seems, these days]). Will the CAIA designation do anything for me? I doubt it, if we’re talking about getting a “better” job. With graduate degrees in business and finance, “alternatives” was a definite weak spot, for me, so learning about them was not only an interest of mine, but something I see as increasingly essential. The typical Hedge/PE is looking for HBS, etc., not CAIA, so don’t pursue the charter in hopes of it making you a millionaire. (My perception of charters is that they’re beneficial primarily for people who are *already in industry*, but maybe this is inaccurate.) My suggestion: pick a different industry. Go to medical school. :slight_smile:

Feel free to counter/disagree.

Even after the revision, level 1 is still fairly easy and requires significantly less study time than CFA L1. I know several people of average intelligence and below who passed it with ease. None of the material is conceptually difficult. A high IQ will help you cut down on study time, but anyone of reasonable intelligence who puts in the time can pass without straining their brain too much.

I disagree with this statement. There is overlap in ethics, quantitative methods, and alternatives, but that’s about it. CAIA gives you a deeper understanding of alternatives than CFA L1, but doesn’t touch upon several topics covered by CFA L1 (economics, accounting, corporate finance, fixed income and equity valaution, etc.). By no means is CFA L1 knowledge a prerequisite for CAIA. In fact, I know a couple people who failed CFA L1 multiple times, but passed CAIA L1 and L2 on first attempt without difficulty.

Anyone with an interest in finance, reasonable intelligence (pretty much anyone with a college degree), and a good grasp of English can obtain CAIA. CFA is a different beast. Each level covers MUCH more material, it has 3 levels vs. 2 for CAIA, and CFA isn’t offered as frequently as CAIA.

The CAIA material is interesting and will give you a basic understanding of alternatives, but it’s one of the easier designations to obtain. CFA, FRM, CFP, CPA are all substantially more difficult.

CAIA may give you a deeper insight into alternatives than other designations, but overall it will only give you a basic understanding of a wide range of concepts. You’re not going to excel in real estate, PE, or HF, just because you read a couple hundred pages about each and answered some questions correctly. CAIA will give you a solid base to start learning MORE about alternatives.

It’s not tough. See post above.

“Even after the revision, level 1 is still fairly easy and requires significantly less study time than CFA L1. I know several people of average intelligence and below who passed it with ease. None of the material is conceptually difficult. A high IQ will help you cut down on study time, but anyone of reasonable intelligence who puts in the time can pass without straining their brain too much.”

This is a predictable response (with all due respect); how did you determine that they were of “average” intelligence (and how/why were you associating with them, if so)? The average individual, by the standards of CAIA and/or CFA, is an idiot. :slight_smile: The CFA curriculum is longer; thus, your statement regarding “study time” is absolutely logically accurate. The comments you’ve made regarding “conceptual difficulty” also apply to the CFA curriculum (so say a number of charter holders I know). Thus, I don’t see a distinction. A photographic memory will help cut down on study time; memory and “intelligence,” while possibly correlated, are not equivalent.

“I disagree with this statement. There is overlap in ethics, quantitative methods, and alternatives, but that’s about it. CAIA gives you a deeper understanding of alternatives than CFA L1, but doesn’t touch upon several topics covered by CFA L1 (economics, accounting, corporate finance, fixed income and equity valaution, etc.). By no means is CFA L1 knowledge a prerequisite for CAIA. In fact, I know a couple people who failed CFA L1 multiple times, but passed CAIA L1 and L2 on first attempt without difficulty.”

Porfolio management doesn’t overlap? That’s half the CFA 1 curriculum, is it not? When did they take the CAIA exams? CAIA I also requires an understanding of regression, which I believe is a CFA level II topic.

"Anyone with an interest in finance, reasonable intelligence (pretty much anyone with a college degree), and a good grasp of English can obtain CAIA. CFA is a different beast. Each level covers MUCH more material, it has 3 levels vs. 2 for CAIA, and CFA isn’t offered as frequently as CAIA.

The CAIA material is interesting and will give you a basic understanding of alternatives, but it’s one of the easier designations to obtain. CFA, FRM, CFP, CPA are all substantially more difficult."

“Easier” doesn’t mean “easy.” For the “average” person, all of these charters (excluding CPA, which is most definitely logically easier than CAIA) would quite literally be “impossible” to obtain, including CAIA. A college degree by no measure equates or correlates to “intelligence.” :slight_smile: (Where you obtained that degree is another matter, of course.)

I am clearly not disputing that CFA requires much more time and work (thus, effort). This fact is plainly obvious. Your claim is that the average person could complete CAIA without effort, and my response is that that is unfounded (and also that your estimation of “average” is skewed [again, with all due respect]). CAIA is not significantly logically easier than the CFA program, so say the majority of CFA/CAIA designees that I’ve spoken with (you disagree, and that’s fine…you’ve earned the right). It (level II) is “easier” to pass, so they tell me, because CAIA Association currently passes a slightly higher percentage of candidates, because the amount of material that must be memorized is significantly lesser, and because it (seems to be) much more interesting than the CFA curriculum (I truly enjoyed studying the level I curriculum). Again, this doesn’t make it “easy,” or something the “average” (100 IQ individual) could accomplish (outliers aside). Something tells me that you haven’t interacted (in any substantial way) with “average” people in a fair amount of time (given that you have both charters [which I respect a great deal, incidentally]). :slight_smile:

They attended average universities, got average grades, and currently hold lower level finance positions. Some of them are my friends, some of them I know through work.

While the CFA isn’t conceptually very difficult either, it is MORE difficult than CAIA. The CFA is much more quantitative and also requires you to piece together more information (this goes for both quantitative and qualitative concepts).

Portfolio management is a VERY small part of CFA L1 and L2. It is heavily weighted in L3. The portfolio management portion of CAIA is VERY narrow is scope. It seems like you are really reaching to prove significant overlap.

For an average college grad with an interest in finance, the CAIA is relatively easy to pass. I’ve seen it in person. Apologies if that statemtent offends you.

I never claimed the CAIA doesn’t require effort. In fact, most people that fail simply do not put in enough effort. That said, the CAIA requires much less effort than other exams.

I’m guessing if you put as much effort into your studies as you do into these posts, you will pass with ease.

On that note, I’m out.

How much effort did these posts require of me? :slight_smile: I appreciate your comments, but again, your idea of “average” is IQ ~120. That ain’t average. So, I’ll drop my 125 estimate down to 120, and we’ll be done with it. That’s still 10% of the population, which is the vast minority. I know “average” people, by each factor of your definition, who hold CFA charter. Again, the distinction eludes me.

CAIA isn’t “easy,” nor is it attainable by anything approaching the majority of the population. Thanks for the conversation. :slight_smile:

p.s. I’m not offended…I’m not pursuing CAIA for respect. I simply figured that I may as well earn a charter that might have value to someone, somewhere, while learning about alternatives (which I desperately needed to do; as such, for me, I perceive little to zero opportunity cost). Further, CFA exam pass rates were once in the 90s, yet CFA charter holders who earned the designation thirty+ years ago are treated as equals (as far as I can tell, minus the occasional joke someone might make about the rigor [lack thereof] of the exams they took). Ten to twenty years from now (if not sooner), CAIA pass rates will likely mirror current CFA pass rates.

Agreed. I passed the CAIA level 1 exam relatively recently, and I think that any person of average intelligence would find it to be quite easy.

I suppose it depends on your background etc.

I recently witnessed multiple parties, employed in industry, with intelligence well above average, fail the exam. CAIA should be easy for anyone who has passed CFA exams…no argument there (pardon me if I misspoke to the contrary above)–but it would most definitely not be “easy” for the “average” person.

(See Claritas for an exam that the “average” person can probably pass.)