CAIA - Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst
Written by True Tamplin, BSc, CEPF®
Updated on July 10, 2021
What is a Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst?
A Chartered Alternative Investments Analyst or CAIA is an individual who is designated by the CAIA Institute as having the necessary abilities to research, analyze, and manage alternative investments.
Alternative investments or AI are those which do not fall into the traditional categories of equity, income, or cash categories.
Examples include private equity, commodities, real property, and hedge funds.
The distinction of CAIA is important to the industry because AI is minimally regulated by the SEC.
To become a CAIA, candidates must pass two standardized tests including the fundamentals of risk and return for AI and a practicum on alternative investment portfolio management.
Due to the unregulated environment of AI, ethics and the professional environment also comprises 15-25% of the exam.
The CAIA designation is relatively new and came about in the early 2000’s when alternative investments, especially private equity, grew as a mainstream investing practice.
CAIA’s are mainly tasked with setting the standard for AI best-practices and furthering the knowledge of the profession.
They are able to analyze the risk-reward tradeoff of AI and determine how they fit into portfolio goals.
Similar to a Chartered Financial Analyst, career paths of CAIA’s include investment analyst, portfolio manager, investment manager, credit structurer and Senior Vice President at private equity or other investment firms.