Does the CAIA open any new doors?

I think the level of difficulty is not the key issue here.

To answer the OP’s question:

  • CAIA level 1 - no doors open
  • CAIA - potentially, yes, but you already have to be in the building

Using CAIA to break into the industry is a waste of time. The only other people I see with CAIA are HF or PE marketers or people in asset allocation on the LP side. In both cases they got it when they were already in the industry.

And I think it is a bit like an MBA, in the way that without work experience it is relatively useless. Whereas, CFA is more like a M.Fin, solid skills that can be applied at any stage.

Yep, this. ^ . When you see bios for CAIAs that have jobs at hedge funds etc, don’t mistakenly conclude that they did the CAIA and then subsequently got hired into a job at a hedge fund. . In every case I’ve seen, it was people already working at a hedge fund that decided to pursue CAIA.

I’ve seen some job descriptions for PE firms say, “CAIA desired or CAIA highly desired.” Is this only specific to those individual PE firms or is the designation becoming more respected and valued?

Complete the CFA program first. Then, if you feel you have enough time in your schedule after networking, kicking a$$ at work and personal hobbies, you can consider the CAIA.

A person that finds CAIA “extremely challenging” should’t even consider tackling the CFA exams.

I feel the CAIA definitely helped obtain my current role (which I have been in for 3 years now) and I am also a CFA candidate. I was able to explain to the interviewer exactly what I learned and how I felt the information would translate to the position. Some individuals with designations (mulitiple I might add) just don’t have the ability to sell themselves. They think the letters themselves should be enough to land them their dream job…wrong. If you can’t sell yourself to the interviewer or hiring manager, all the designations in the world are not going to help you. Nowadays if you can’t “Sell” the hedge fund or institution your are working for to prospective clients (wherever you might be) who wants you anyway? CFA Charterholders can whine all day how much harder the exam is and how much smarter you need to be…so what! Book smarts…one designation over another, etc., etc., don’t always translate into success on the street. Learn the material and make that work for you rather than getting letters and thinking the street owes you something for doing so.

No, it’s for marketers is what you’re seeing. CAIA won’t get you into a real PE of HF role, it might help you get into IR. I have CAIA and I recently made the transition into an analyst role at a PE shop…trust me CAIA didn’t help, nor did I think it would. No one had any idea what it was…they were slightly impressed with passing L2 and the fact I passed L1 and L2 on first attempts (yes they asked me that). A lot of it was me pressing for work to do with knowledgable people at my old job…got me good exposure and allowed me to speak knowledgably at the interviews. I love CAIA don’t get me wrong…but you have to be pretty dumb to fail.

I see this a lot of AF and I wish it could stop. Being Dumb, Stupid or anything related to that I don’t think has anything to do with passing or not passing. A lot of smart people I am sure just don’t allocate (or just don’t have the time) the time necessary to pass the exam. There are a lot of smart people in my department none of which I think are capable of passing CFA or CAIA Level 1. Only because I know they would give up at some point due to timing and frustration issues. Some people take these exams when their calling and intelligence might be best served in another industry. Their fault is watching movies like “Wall Street” too often and have been blinded. If they made a similar movie about Doctors, Plastic surgeons and showed them living the high life with models and bottles I am sure Medical School applications would be on the rise. It is a free site and everyone is entitled to their own opinion but referring to people as being “dumb” for not passing an advanced exam (I mean it is not high school algebra) is rather childish. Haha…my MD probably makes 500K (if not more per year) and could care less about having any designation. For those posting if you recall from the ethics section, part of your responsiblity is to IMPROVE the competence of others…not knock them down.

In my opinion no designation/degree by itself will open doors. In the end it’s you who has to do the work of researching the industry, looking for a position, meeting with the people, interviewing, moving up the ladder, etc.

I’ve seen plenty of people without MBA/CFA/CAIA excelling in PE, IB, HF and other industries. I also seen good share of people with degress from top schools and designations getting nowhere.

So, don’t get into thinking that some certificate will magically change your life…don’t expect too much from CAIA and you will not be disappointed.

@blu2014…well said.

@blu2014…well said.

Reread to what Blu typed. Words of wisdom.

I’m surprised about all this talk about IQ and charters. It’s really about study time. And if you have no financial background, you’ll need to invest a bit more time, that’s all. As for jobs, having a charter like the CFA (or CAIA when it is known) communicates a lot to an employer.

But at the end of the day, hard work and social skills really says it all. We like to think the modern workplace is meritocratic (which it mostly is in N.A.) but employers are human. If an employer hears great comments about a candidate through his/her network, that has a HUGE influence on hiring. The financial industry is not that big and has its fair share of busybodies. So build a solid rep and maintain healthy relationships at all costs, even with those you dislike.

^ I agree you don’t need a high IQ to pass these exams. You can make up a lower IQ with more study time. The material is only an inch deep.

Are you referring to the CAIA exams when you say, “these exams?” I would argue that an average joe can’t complete all three CFA exams and a relatively high IQ is necessary to obtain the designation. I may be biased, but there are a lot of people who have failed to ever pass Level I, Level 2, or Level 3 that would be considered fairly intelligent.

I would agree with former trader - these exams are hard but its not the intellectual aspect of the exams which is the most difficult; it’s the dedication, effort and consistency that is required.

On the contrary, I’ve met a handful of individuals who have passed L1/2/3 and make you question the difficulty of the exams. It’s the attitude that’s required to complete the exams successfully which is what stands out to me with respect to completing the CFA exams and CAIA to a lesser extent as you can write the exams twice in a year.

Agreed: I have yet to meet a CFA that was a real dumbass. CAIA? I believe that anybody with half a brain could get that one.

go ahead and show me how you’ll understand complicated HF and arbitrage strategies with a half a brain!!

I agree with 99.9% of what you said… and great job!

I still think CAIA opens door. Blackrock, JPM, and Russull are only few examples of companies that put (CFA, or CAIA preferred) in job posts.

I did not say that, you have me in the wrong quote. In fact, I believe the opposite.