Most people start with the theory, and then learn the practice. CAIA provided me with the opportunity to flip this process on its head. I knew some of the practice, having helped my clients work through how much they should allocate to alternatives, how they should construct their portfolios and manage allocations through time, but I wanted to let that experience rest on a stronger foundation. I had received my CFA Charter in 2007, so it has been a while since I have sat exams. I was 15 years into my career when I started preparing for CAIA.

As a working mother with two boys, I’d rush home after work, help the kids with their Korean studies and school homework, get them into bed, and then start studying the curriculum. So my study time was after the boys went to bed from about 10pm to midnight. Weekends were reserved for further concentrated study. I passed Level 1 in March 2015 and Level 2 in September 2015. As with any goal, it’s the process and commitment to that process that makes the difference. The learning was its own reward in a sense because much of it was relevant to my day job, while also allowing me to fill in gaps in my knowledge where I had less day to day exposure. As a result, whether or not I passed the actual exams, I felt that I was better equipped to assist my clients. Alternative investing is no longer on the fringes, it is mainstream, and a key part of many institutional portfolios. I feel that for any portfolio adviser, developing a strong grasp of the alternative investment universe and how it can enhance the risk-return profile of investors is essential.

Bringing that diversity to portfolios is a core part of the value-add we bring to clients as their advisers. Not long after receiving my CAIA designation, I was appointed as Head of Investments for Asia. The team that I work with covers a dozen countries across Asia and come from just as many different nationalities, so diversity is an important part of our team culture. In a similar way, CAIA is also a diverse and growing community in Asia and I’m proud to be the first person on my team to hold the designation. As professionals, we have busy lives, but we also have responsibility for our own learning and development. I would support anyone from my team that wants to rise to the challenge, and my message to any prospective member would be, “Commitment gets you halfway there. Consistency does the rest. Go for it!”

With Jayne’s recent appointment as Head of Investments, Asia, at Willis Towers Watson, she brings 17 years of extensive industry and leadership experience to the role. She is responsible for leading Willis Towers Watson’s Investments business strategy, client delivery and business development across Asia. Jayne leads a diverse regional team to help clients meet their goals and achieve better outcomes through a flexible range of delivery models – from providing proprietary tools, offering advisory services, through to assisting clients with implementation via delegated solutions.

Jayne started her career at Willis Towers Watson in Korea, as a consultant in the Talent & Rewards segment, where her clients were primarily from the financial sector. She transferred to the Hong Kong Investment Practice in 2004, returning to Korea in 2005 to successfully build the leading local investment consultancy in Korea. Jayne returned to Hong Kong in 2013 as Head of Sovereign Advisory, expanding her remit beyond Korea to a regional role covering government pension funds, sovereign wealth funds, central banks and other state owned investment entities across Asia.

This allowed her to leverage her organisational consulting background and her experience working with Asia’s largest investors on a wide range of key topics including: global best practice; governance; investment beliefs; portfolio strategy; alternatives investments; investment process; and ESG and sustainability.