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. Both Levels have been updated in 2020 and each exam reflects content from the 4th edition only.

CAIA Level I Exam Topics

September 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

September 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

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

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

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%
Accessing Alternative Investments 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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