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The Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst (CAIA) program is the first and only designation focusing on alternative investments. The CAIA Charter gives you professional credibility, access, and connections. The rigorous, self-directed two-level qualifying exam is designed to provide finance professionals with an extensive foundation of knowledge in traditional and alternative investment vehicles including hedge funds, venture capital, commodities, managed futures, real estate, and private equity. In addition, the program emphasizes the importance of high ethical and professional standards.

In today´s economy, employers and clients alike are looking for trustworthy professionals and the CAIA designation is recognized globally as the benchmark for analysis, application, and standards of practice in the alternative investment arena.


Founded by the CAIA Association® in 2002, it has quickly gained momentum over the past few years. CAIA Association is headquartered in Amherst, Massachusetts, US and has regional office locations in Hong Kong, and Geneva.
13,000+ Members Worldwide & 34 CAIA Chapters.

CAIA Association

Since 2002, the CAIA Association has endeavored to cater to the needs of investors by imparting the latest knowledge and best practices pertaining to the dynamic realm of alternative investments. By certifying investment professionals, advocating for regulatory reforms, engaging with esteemed leaders, and producing exceptional thought leadership, CAIA strives to elevate the industry’s benchmarks. As a collective body, we, as a member organization, are accompanied by CAIA Charterholders hailing from 100 nations, united in our mission to collectively nurture a genuine profession that serves the greater good of the public.


Hold a bachelor’s degree, or the equivalent, and have more than one year of professional experience, or alternatively have at least four years of professional experience. Professional experience is defined as full-time employment in a professional capacity within the regulatory, banking, financial, or related fields.


  • Portfolio manager
  • Research analyst
  • Investment banker
  • Investment Consultant
  • Risk manager
  • Corporate financial analyst
  • C-suite
  • Investment Analyst
  • Investment Advisor
  • Investment Manager
  • Credit Structurer
  • Managing Director
  • Senior Vice President


CAIA Level I – Exam Topics

Level I Topic

Approximate Exam Weight
(Multiple Choice)

Professional Standards and Ethics15-25%
Introduction to Alternative Investments20-28%
Real Assets11-17%
Private Equity6-10%
Private Debt8-12%
Hedge Funds11-17%
Digital Assets4-8%
Portfolio Strategies4-8%

CAIA Level I – Outline

• Professionalism
• Integrity of Capital Markets
• Duties to Clients
• Duties to Employers
• Investment Analysis, Recommendations, and Actions
• Conflicts of Interest

• What Is an Alternative Investment?
• The Environment of Alternative Investments
• Accessing Alternative Investments
• Quantitative Foundations
• Statistical Foundations
• Financial Economics Foundations
• Derivatives and Risk-Neutral Valuation
• Measures of Risk and Performance
• Alpha, Beta, and Hypothesis Testing

• Natural Resources and Land
• Commodities
• Other Real Assets
• Real Estate Assets
• Real Estate Methods

• Private Equity Assets
• Private Equity Funds
• Private Credit and Distressed Debt
• Introduction to Structuring
• Credit Risk and Credit Derivatives

• Structure of the Hedge Fund Industry
• Macro and Managed Futures Funds
• Event-Driven and Relative Value Hedge Funds
• Equity Hedge Funds

• Distributed Ledger Technology

• Funds of Funds
• Equity-Linked Structured Products

CAIA Level II – Exam Topics

Level II TopicApproximate Exam Weight
Multiple ChoiceConstructed Response
Emerging Topics0%10%
Universal Investment Considerations0%10%
Institutional Asset Owners and Investment Policies8-12%0-10%
Risk and Risk Management8-12%0-10%
Methods for Alternative Investing8-12%0-10%
Accessing Alternative Investments8-12%0-10%
Due Diligence and Selecting Strategies8-12%0-10%
Volatility and Complex Strategies8-12%0-10%

CAIA Level II – Outline

• Digital Assets: Bitcoin, Web 3.0, and DeFi
• Private Equity: Value Creation in Private Equity, and Forecasting Returns
• Portfolio Management: Rebalancing Illiquid Portfolios, Managing Liquidity for Capital Calls, and Assessing Long Term Performance

• Professionalism and Fiduciary Responsibilities
• Global Regulation
• Geopolitics
• ESG and Alternative Investments
• ESG Analysis and Application

• Modeling Overview and Interest Rate Models
• Credit Risk Models
• Multi-Factor Equity Pricing Models
• Asset Allocation Processes and the Mean-Variance Model
• Other Asset Allocation Approaches

• Types of Asset Owners and the Investment Policy Statement
• Foundations, and The Endowment Model
• Pension Fund Portfolio Management
• Sovereign Wealth Funds
• Family Offices and the Family Office Model

• Cases in Tail Risk
• Benchmarking and Performance Attribution
• Liquidity and Funding Risks
• Hedging, Rebalancing, and Monitoring
• Risk Measurement, Risk Management, and Risk Systems

• Valuation and Hedging Using Binomial Trees
• Directional Strategies and Methods
• Multivariate Empirical Methods and Performance Persistence
• Relative Value Methods
• Valuation Methods for Private Assets: The Case of Real Estate

• Hedge Fund Replication
• Diversified Access to Hedge Funds
• Access to Real Estate and Commodities
• Access Through Private Structures
• The Risk and Performance of Private and Listed Assets

• Active Management and New Investments
• Selection of a Fund Manager
• Investment Process Due Diligence
• Operational Due Diligence
• Due Diligence of Terms and Business Activities

• Volatility as a Factor Exposure
• Volatility, Correlation, and Dispersion Products and Strategies
• Complexity and Structured Products
• Insurance-Linked and Hybrid Securities
• Complexity and the Case of Cross-Border Real Estate Investing


EXAM FORMAT200 multiple-choice questions with an optional 30-minute break between each section. Sections 1 and 2 each consist of 100 multiple-choice questions, which measure candidates’ knowledge of the CAIA Level I curriculum100 multiple-choice questions and three sets of constructed-response (essay-type) questions that measure candidates’ knowledge of the CAIA Level II curriculum
EXAM DURATION4 hours with an optional 30-minute break between each section2 hours to complete the multiple-choice question section and 2 hours to complete the constructed-response section
EXAM DATESExam cycles occur in March and September


First-Time Level IFirst-Time Level IIFirst-Time Level II CFA StackersRetake
Exam Registration995 $1395 $995 $1395 $995 $1395 $795 $
Program Enrollment400 $400 $400 $400 $
1395 $1795 $995 $1395 $1395 $1795 $795 $


CAIA exams are administered in computerized format exclusively at proctored Pearson VUE test centers around the globe.


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