FAQs for Fundamentals of Alternative Investments

All your questions about the Fundamentals of Alternative Investments certificate program answered. Can't find what you need? Contact us anytime.

Are there any prerequisites, continuing education, or membership requirements for Fundamentals?

No. There are no prerequisites for the course. Once you pass the online course, your certificate is complete and there is no further commitment required.

Can I earn continuing education credits by taking the course?

The Fundamentals of Alternative Investments certificate program is accepted by the Investments and Wealth Institute (IWI) for 20 hours of IWI-sponsored continuing education hours for the CIMA®, CIMC®, and CPWA® designations. CE credits will only be awarded for completing all program modules. No partial credit will be given. Participants will have 11 months from date of purchase to complete the course. Visit http://investmentsandwealth.org for details.  

In addition, the Fundamentals program is accepted by the CFP Board for 20 hours of CE credit for CFPs and NASBA for CPAs.  

In Canada, IIROC registered representatives can earn 20 hours of credit.  

Can I join the CAIA Association when I successfully complete the Fundamentals of Alternative Investments program and earn my certificate of completion?

No, CAIA Association Membership is only available to CAIA Charterholders. You will receive a certificate of completion at the successful end of the program, and you will also receive notification of a digital badge being issued to you via our partnership with Credly. Learn more about digital badging here.

For more information about the CAIA Charter Program, please visit https://caia.org/programs/the-caia-charter.

How is the course structured and will I need to take an exam?

The course includes 20 modules, plus 3 emerging topic modules, each lasting about an hour. The modules may be accessed from your home, office, or mobile device. At the end of each module, there is a 10-question open book quiz that may be accessed from the location of your choice. You must pass each open-book quiz before moving on to the next module. However, there are no formal exams in the course.

How much time will it take to complete the Fundamentals of Alternative Investments program?

The course includes 23 modules, and each module is about one hour long. You may take the course at your own pace and will receive a certificate upon completion of the first 20, with the additional 3 modules providing learning on emerging topics. Once enrolling and obtaining your log in information, your course will be due in one year. However, we allow a 90-day window after your due date to complete the program before your access is shut off. 

Is the Fundamentals of Alternative Investments certificate program a prerequisite to the CAIA Charter program?

No, the two programs are independent from one another. However, CAIA offers those who have completed the Fundamentals of Alternative Investments certificate program a $500 discount off the standard exam registration fee* for a CAIA Level I exam in the CAIA Charter program.   

If you have completed the program and are interested in this discount, please reach out to candidate@caia.org.  

*Only available for new CAIA Candidates. Not available for retake exams.  

Should CAIA Charterholders consider taking the Fundamentals of Alternative Investments certificate program?

No. The Fundamentals of Alternative Investments certificate program is not intended for CAIA Charterholders. The program is designed for finance professionals who need to get up to speed quickly on the fundamentals of alternative investments, but do not require the high level of expertise provided by the CAIA Charter.   

What is covered in the Fundamentals program?

The Fundamentals of Alternative Investments course offers a foundation of the fundamental topics in alternative investments. There are 20 modules that are required to earn the certificate of completion along with two optional emerging topics courses. The courses include the following:  

  • Traditional vs. Alternative Investments   
  • Investment Returns and Risks  
  • Correlation & Efficient Frontiers  
  • Portfolio Management & Asset Allocation  
  • Due Diligence  
  • Risk Management  
  • Hedge Funds 1: Structure, Categories & Biases  
  • Hedge Funds 2: Relative Value & Event Driven Strategies  
  • Hedge Funds 3: Macro & Managed Futures Strategies  
  • Hedge Funds 4: Equity Strategies  
  • Hedge Funds 5: Funds of Funds   
  • Real Assets 1: Timberland, Farmland & Intellectual Property  
  • Real Assets 2: Real Estate Equity & Debt Markets  
  • Private Equity 1: Introduction & Performance Analysis  
  • Private Equity 2: LBO, VC & Debt Strategies  
  • Commodities 1: Markets & Inflation Protection  
  • Commodities 2: Beta Products, Alpha Products & Benchmarks  
  • Structured Products 1: Credit Default Swaps  
  • Structured Products 2: Collateralized Debt Obligations  
  • Capstone: The Risks and Rewards of Alternative Investments  
  • Emerging Topics: Liquid Alternative Investments (OPTIONAL COURSE)   
  • Emerging Topics: Opportunities in Private Credit Investments (OPTIONAL COURSE)  
  • Emerging Topics:  ESG Investing 1: History, Approaches, and Integration (OPTIONAL COURSE) 

Who will benefit from taking the Fundamentals of Alternative Investments program?

Anyone who wants to master a fundamental understanding of alternative investments will benefit from this course. This includes:  

  • Financial advisors, planners, and consultants  
  • Administration/operations personnel  
  • Students  
  • Sales and marketing personnel  
  • Legal counsel/compliance   
  • Accountants  
  • Media personnel  

I see a due date and an expiration date. Which one is correct?

Your due date is 1 year from the day you enrolled in the Fundamentals program. However, we offer a 90-day window to complete the course after your due date. The later date, the expiration date, is when your access to the Fundamentals curriculum will be no longer be available. 

What are the payment options for the Fundamentals program?

You can pay with a credit card when registering for the program.   

If you require an invoice before purchasing or if you would like to pay via check (from a US bank) or wire please email a request for an invoice to CAIALMS@caia.org.   

I am interested in purchasing Fundamentals for my entire team. Is there a discount for purchasing multiple courses?

We are happy to offer discounts to institutional Fundamentals clients. Please reach out to us at fundamentals@caia.org to discuss group discounts. 

I was told there is a discount for students. How can I apply the discount?

We offer the Fundamentals program at the discounted rate of $295 for enrolled, full-time students. Please reach out to CAIALMS@caia.org from your school email address if you are interested in enrolling at the reduced rate. 

I registered for the Fundamentals program, but I am having problems logging into my account.

Please make sure you are logging in at https://fundamentals.caia.org rather than the sign-in link at the top of your page as that log in is for the CAIA Charter program.