- In Brief: CAIA Candidate Performance and Satisfaction Reach All-Time Highs
- Exam Updates
- CAIA News
- Industry Events
By Lynne Feldman, Director of Marketing
A new survey shows that candidates are more satisfied than ever with the CAIA program. About 800 Level I and Level II candidates responded to the survey, which CAIA Association conducted in April 2013 before exam results were released.
Who takes the CAIA program?
Most CAIA candidates work in roles such as analyst, portfolio manager, or in business development functions. Top areas of experience were hedge funds or managed futures, traditional equity markets, and asset allocation or consulting. While most candidates have between two and nine years of experience, as in other years, current candidates are slightly more diverse in tenure of experience at both ends of the spectrum.
Why do candidates enroll in the CAIA program, and does it meet their needs?
Candidates hope to advance their careers by earning the CAIA Charter. In particular, they want to become more marketable to firms specializing in alternative investments and to develop a working knowledge of alternative investments. The results show that CAIA is meeting that need: a record 95% and 98% of Level I and Level II candidates, respectively, would recommend the CAIA program to colleagues. More than 96% of candidates rated themselves somewhat or very knowledgeable in alternative investments after taking the program (with a starting point of 50% for Level I and 70% for Level II prior to studying).
Candidate study habits
In 2012, CAIA released the second editions of its core textbooks, "CAIA Level I: Introduction to Core Topics in Alternative Investments" and "CAIA Level II: Advanced Core Topics in Alternative Investments." The new texts are easier to understand and based on the most current thinking in alternative investments. "The book is great. It is comprehensive and well-structured," said one survey respondent.
Also in 2012, CAIA published sample exams for each level, free to registered exam takers, which allow candidates focus their study on areas of weakness, saving time and improving performance. "I found this to be a very accurate representation of the exam's difficulty and style," said one candidate. Candidates rated the textbook and the sample exam the most helpful study tools available.
Perhaps because of a more engaging textbook and the availability of more study tools, candidates are spending more hours studying. For Level II, 48% of candidates spent more than 200 hours studying, up from an average of 32% over recent cycles.
CAIA spells success for candidates
These enhancements have contributed to the outperformance of the most recent class of candidates compared to earlier classes. In March, 68% passed the Level I exam and 65% passed Level II, up from 64% and 62%, respectively, from September 2012.
Momentum has increased, with more candidates completing the program within one to two years after first learning about the CAIA program.
Candidates also show an interest in being part of the CAIA Association. "[I value] the leadership role the organization has played in the industry," said one candidate. "The education and awareness that the group fosters in the highest quality manner is noteworthy. CAIA helps portray alternative investment professionals as diligent, thoughtful and experienced which is important particularly in an area that is less well known as, and perhaps with a worse reputation (perceived) than traditional investments."
Candidates report that the CAIA program is a structured, comprehensive way to educate themselves in the fast-changing environment of alternative investments and earning the designation signals their expertise and enhances their credibility in the marketplace. "This is the best alternatives orientation program in the world, by far. The materials are first-rate and incredibly interesting," said a respondent. They also report that the knowledge they obtain is practical. "I like the knowledge and a broad level of exposure provided by the program to a candidate working in either traditional investments or only dealing with a specific field in the alternative investments universe," said another.top
September 2013 Exams
- Standard registration: May 14-July 31, 2013
- Level I exam window: September 16-27, 2013
- Level II exam window: September 9-20, 2013
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66th CFA Institute Annual Conference
May 19-22, 2013 - 12:00pm
TradeTech Swaps & Derivatives
May 21, 2013 - 8:00am
Alternative Investment Series
June 6, 2013 - 11:00am