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

March 2021 Exam

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

March 2021 Exam

Ethics Regulations and ESG

  • Asset Manager Code
  • Recommendations and Guidance
  • Global Regulation
  • ESG and Alternative Investments
  • ESG Analysis and Application


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

Institutional Asset Owners and Investment Policies

  • 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

Risk and Risk Management

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

Methods for Alternative Investing

  • 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

Accessing Alternative Investments

  • 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

Due Diligence & Selecting Managers

  • 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 and Complex Strategies

  • 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


Level II Topic

Approximate Exam Weight

  Multiple Choice Constructed Response
Ethics, Regulation, and ESG 0% 10%
Models 8-12% 0-10%
Institutional Asset Owners and Investment Policies 8-12% 0-10%
Risk and Risk Management 8-12% 0-10%
Methods for Alternative Investing 8-12% 0-10%
Due Diligence and Selecting Strategies 8-12% 0-10%
Volatility and Complex Strategies 8-12% 0-10%
Current and Integrated Topics 0% 10%


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