Florence Lombard of CAIA discusses the Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst qualification and approach to education, and explains why it matters to have this designation.
Date: Oct 2011
The CAIA designation today allows individuals to stand out from the rest of the analyst profession, she explained.
It does this by giving them an in-depth approach and analysis to structure and monitor a diversified portfolio of alternative investments – including hedge funds, private equity, real assets, real estate, infrastructure funds, commodities and all related strategies, said Lombard.
Benefits for members and clients
Once individuals have passed both levels of the CAIA exam, and have at least one year of professional experience in the field, they can join and become a member of the Association, said Lombard.
To keep the designation current, she said the Association offers various current research and up-to-date information on the relevant strategies and asset classes. Plus, the curriculum and book are updated every two years to stay at the forefront of the alternative investment world.
The designation also gives credibility in the eyes of clients by showing that the analysts have reached a minimum benchmark of education, said Lombard, explaining that it is a rigorous programme which requires at least 400 hours of study to complete both levels.
Even some of the buy-side investors send some of their staff through the course, she added, so it provides a common language and level of knowledge.
CAIA in Asia
According to Lombard, the Association has put resources and senior representatives on the ground in Asia this year – specifically in Hong Kong, Singapore and Korea.
She said the Association has experienced a 66% growth across the region with its candidate registration in the last cycle.
The CAIA exams
Lombard said that 3,300 candidates signed up for the September exams globally, including around 300 in Hong Kong and Singapore.
And on average, the pass rate has, in the last nine years or so been an average of 70% for level one and roughly 55% for level two, she said.
In total, out of the 15,000 exam candidates over the Association’s existence to date, Lombard said there are 5,000 people with CAIA designations.
To make it relevant to people’s jobs, Lombard said the Association includes a lot of practical case studies as part of the curriculum, to help people to understand the real issues of the industry today.
Further, she added, the curriculum is written by a combination of academics and senior practitioners, including some of the members. It has also become less US-centric, and regularly incorporates new strategies or asset classes that are appearing in the alternative investment basket.