Why is CAIA....

so expensive?!

Because by the time you’ve done CFA and FRM they know you’re hooked and they just ramp up the price.


My undergrad education in the US cost something over 160k US. I had textbooks that cost 200 dollars. I spent usually 1-2k a semester on textbooks.

Compared to that, this cheap.

A better question might be Why are CFA fees almost as high as CAIA fees, when the CFA Institute is collecting fees from 10x or 20x more candidates/members. The CAIA association seems to be operating on a shoestring in comparison.

I completely agree with ChickenTikka…all of these credentials are a bargain compared to your undergrad and/or Master’s. And in many respects, it is the first thing that many see, even before a high-caliber MBA. I know in the institutional investing world, quickly inspecting whether a person has their CFA charter on their business card or not is a subconscious screen to instantly determine whether this person is “serious” about understanding investments (unless, of course, the person dates to a time before the CFA Charter was necessary for this). Now, I should say that I admit that that heuristic is flawed on like 100 levels, but I’m saying that people still make that determination.

I think I have a very simple explanation: 2 and 20!!!

With regard to ChickenTikka’s comments…the CAIA has definitely helped in my current position and I do not have a degree from a stellar top 20 university, nor would I ever waste 200K on one. A friend of mine recently hired two individuals from a “reputable” school that costs 50K+++per year and says they are dreadful; one has already quit due to the workload. I feel these exams (CFA, CAIA, FRM, etc,) helps put everyone on a level playing field and shows your determination to succeed in the field of finance. They require a lot of studying especially if you are already working 50+ hours per week. I make sure to always explain the beneftits of these designations. ANYBODY with minimal effort can get a BA or MBA. Not everyone can pass CAIA Level I. In this regard the fees are cheap compared to any private university and may get you a lot further.

Anyone can pass CAIA Level 1. It is not a difficult exam, IMHO.

Last I checked about 25-30% fail Level I every six months. That is 1 out of every 4, not one out of every 10. Seems as though plenty of people find it not that easy.

I intent to do CFA level 2 June next yr and CAIA level 1 in March , do u think its doable or will do CFA Level 2 in June then CAIA Level 1 in September. Advise and thank u

Doubt it…but you didnt list all the factors that could affect your time and ability to study effectively…

Do you have a job?

Do you go to school as well?

Do you have a baby at home?

Do you have a social life or none at all?

I couldn’t do it I know that, but I am sure someone will come on here and tell you it can be done. It all depends on you; you know yourself and your study habits better than anyone here.


a friend of mine did CFA L2 in summer and CAIA L1 in september. he failed CFA L2 but passed CAIA L1. passing CAIA L1 was due to the fact that he was jobless from June to October. If you do CFA L2 and CAIA L1 next year: slow down in autumn 2013. Too much of learning stress will kill your learning motivation for forthcoming exams


Taking both is possible, however, you basically are going to not have a social life or any sort of life until June. That is you are learning at max capicity to your brain.

Doing CAIA1 in March 2013 and CFA2 in June 2013 is a bad idea. CFA2 is difficult enough that you don’t need any additional distractions – The majority of CFA2 candidates fail that exam.

Doing CFA2 in June 2013 and CAIA1 in September 2013 is a good idea. 3 months should be plenty of time to prepare for a CAIA exam.

Keep in mind that CAIA is a relatively worthless designation compared to the CFA; your best bet is to focus most of your efforts on the CFA.

Expensive is a realtive term - my employer pays for it.

The fact that 25% fail the exam doesn’t mean the exam is difficult. To me it says more about the quality of the candidate pool. If you’re studying for CAIA, you better work in Alts( or really aspire, for some reason, to be in Alts). And if you are in alts, CAIA level 1 IS easy! Period! Discount all the college grads and those who don’t really know what they want and you will get a better candidate pool. Oh, also, I’ve seen a lot of wholesalers for hedge funds take the CAIA exam…that’s not who the CAIA associacion should target…they should target the analysts! Credibility in this business is key! Look at CFAI!

CAIA both levels are easy. Period.

Its about the society coining it. They saw how much CFA were making and copied. Same thing happens every other part of finance. That is why they have such a high pass rate. It’s a joke. How can you take it seriously when 75% of test takers pass. It’s not about the quality of test takers, it’s about building a captive audience of charterholders who will have to pay annual dues. They may as well go the whole hog and securitise the stream of future dues and cash themselves out. Sounds just like a PE business plan to me.

The fact that there are so few charterholders and its so expensive yet you still have to exaplain absolutely everyone what it is says to me it’s not a serious qualification.

To most it seems like a cheap CFA. Couldn’t hack the CFA so did CAIA just to get something on your cv. I sat both levels only because I was doing the CFA at the same time, there was significant overlap and someone else was paying for it.

While both CAIA and CFA may be expensive lets be honest, anybody would rather have CFA on their business card than CAIA.

^True. Although, CAIA will get much harder with time as it develops. Pass rates and depth of curriculum will become similar to the CFA I think. Keep in mind it’s still in its infancy…CFA started in 1963…CAIA started in 2002. It’s got a long way to go BUT at least we got it out of the way so when it is fully respected and hard to get, we’ll be able to say we’re charterholders.

I disagree to an extent. I don’t disagree that the CAIA is easier than the CFA, but your ideas on the organization and implications of profit motivation are completely wrong. I know several top people at CAIA Association and I am familiar with the history of how it has evolved. Those people never intended to start a credential. It was merely a convergence of the people who ran CISDM, AIMA and some other alternative investments research groups filling a need for alternative investments education given the explosive growth of the asset class worldwide.

Some younger folks forget that alt investment allocations were less than a tenth of what they are now prior to the time that the CAIA Association was formed – growth really was that rapid, particularly among institutional investors. The other piece is that distribution channels have exploded, making previously unavailable strategies now available, even to investors who are “unaccredited” (take for instance the huge growth in liquid alts or hedge fund-like strategies masquerading around as “traditional” investment portfolios).

While there may be some critics of the curriculum within the CAIA program, I challenge you to find me a program that will comprehensively organize all of the alternatives papers, empirical research, overviews, etc. into one complete package that you can bang out in a year. The CFA program’s alternatives-related components are incomplete. No university program currently does that job. Pure and simple, even if I couldn’t display the “CAIA” after my name, the program would have been worth it for the useful industry knowledge that I have gained from the program.