CAIA Exam Curriculum

Curriculum Overview: The CAIA Charter exam curriculum is revised regularly to incorporate relevant, practical industry developments, and the latest academic research. The curriculum consists of two exam levels, taken in succession. Level I is brand new for the September 2020 cycle. The exam reflects content from the 4th edition text only.

CAIA Level I Exam Topics

New Curriculum, 4th Edition

Note: The September 2020 exam reflects content from Alternative Investments: Level I, 4th Edition only.

Professional Standards and Ethics

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

Introduction to Alternative Investments

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

Real Assets

  • Natural Resources and Land
  • Commodities
  • Other Real Assets
  • Real Estate and Debt
  • Real Estate Equity

Hedge Funds

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

Private Equity

  • Private Equity Assets
  • Private Equity Funds
  • Private Credit and Distressed Debt

Structured Products

  • Introduction to Structuring
  • Credit Risk and Credit Derivatives
  • CDO Structuring of Credit Risk
  • Equity-Linked Structured Products


Level I Topic

Approximate Exam Weight

Professional Standards and Ethics 15-25%
Introduction to Alternative Investments 20-28%
Real Assets including Commodities 11-17%
Hedge Funds 12-20%
Private Equity 11-17%
Structured Products 10-14%


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CAIA Level II Exam Topics

Asset Allocation and Institutional Investors

  • Asset Allocation Processes and the Mean-Variance Model
  • Tactical Asset Allocation, Mean-Variance Extensions, Risk Budgeting, Risk Parity, and Factor Investing
  • The Endowment Model
  • Pension Fund Portfolio Management
  • Sovereign Wealth Funds
  • The Family Office Model

Private Equity

  • Private Equity Market Structure
  • Private Equity Benchmarking
  • Fund Manager Selection and Monitoring
  • Private Equity Operational Due Diligence
  • Private Equity Investment Process and Portfolio Management
  • Measuring Private Equity Risk
  • The Management of Liquidity

Real Assets

  • Real Estate as an Investment
  • Real Estate Indices and Unsmoothing Techniques
  • Investment Styles, Portfolio Allocation, and Real Estate Derivatives
  • Listed Versus Unlisted Real Estate Investments
  • International Real Estate Investments
  • Infrastructure as an Investment
  • Farmland and Timber Investments
  • Investing in Intellectual Property


  • Key Concepts in Commodity Markets
  • Allocation to Commodities
  • Accessing Commodity Investment Products

Hedge Funds and Managed Futures

  • Managed Futures
  • Investing In CTAs
  • Relative Value Strategies
  • Hedge Funds - vs. : Directional Strategies
  • Hedge Funds - vs. : Credit Strategies
  • Volatility, Correlation, and Dispersion Products and Strategies
  • Hedge Fund Replication
  • Funds of Hedge Funds and Multi-Strategy Funds
  • Hedge Fund Operational Due Diligence

Structured Products

  • Regulation and Compliance
  • Structured Products I - vs. : Fixed-income Derivatives and Asset-backed Securities
  • Structured Products II - vs. : Insurance-Linked Products and Hybrid Securities


Level II Topic

Approximate Exam Weight

  Multiple Choice Constructed Response
Professional Standards and Ethics 0% 10%
Current and Integrated Topics 0% 10%
Asset Allocation and Institutional Investors 8-12% 0-10%
Private Equity 11-15% 0-10%
Real Assets 13-17% 0-10%
Commodities 5-7% 0-10%
Hedge Funds and Managed Futures 18-22% 0-10%
Structured Products 5-7% 0-10%


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