With Launch of New “Stackable Credential” Pilot Program, CAIA Association Introduces Another Alternative Investment Industry First

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"CFA Institute is thrilled to be involved with the rollout of this first-of-its-kind stackable credential program for the alternative investment industry,” said Stephen Horan, Ph.D., CFA, CIPM, Managing Director, Credentialing, CFA Institute.

Pilot program will allow a select number of CFA Institute members to leverage their previously earned credentials to move directly to Level II of the rigorous CAIA exam program.

AMHERST, MASSACHUSETTS (March 27, 2018) – The Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst (CAIA) Association, a global leader in alternative investment education and the first to offer a credential focused on the space, today announced the launch of a new pilot program that will allow a small number of qualified candidates to “stack” their acquired knowledge and credentials, and move directly to Level II of the rigorous two-part CAIA exam. 

As part of this new program, up to 500 candidates, made up of CFA Institute members in good standing, will be able to waive passage of Level I of the CAIA exam and immediately begin preparing for Level II.  Upon successfully passing the Level II exam and joining the CAIA Association, the candidate will earn the prestigious CAIA Charter, a mark of distinction in the fast-growing and highly competitive alternative investment industry. The CAIA Association will study the results of the pilot to better understand how to best meet the growing need for education in the alternative investment space, particularly with an audience who has already acquired a base of knowledge.

“The ways in which people work and learn are going through a massive upheaval,” said William J. Kelly, CEO of CAIA. “’Stacking’ is a concept we have been closely following in the worlds of both professional credentialing and academia; rolling out a cutting-edge stacking program like this with an excellent collaborator like CFA Institute is something we’re very excited to be able to do.”

The financial services industry has never been a one-size-fits all space, unlike the accounting profession with its Chartered Accountant or CPA designations, or the law for which professionals must pass a competency exam in most jurisdictions. Credentials such as the Chartered Financial Analyst® (CFA®) cover a broad range of topics, while the CAIA Charter is an example of a more specialized credential that forces candidates to take a deeper dive into specific areas of finance.

“Asset owners are clearly moving to a multi-asset, multi-service model, requiring today’s professional to be more rounded,” added Kelly. “Credentialing organizations must continue to evolve to meet these changing needs.”

"CFA Institute is thrilled to be involved with the rollout of this first-of-its-kind stackable credential program for the alternative investment industry,” said Stephen Horan, Ph.D., CFA, CIPM, Managing Director, Credentialing, CFA Institute. “We applaud CAIA for bringing this forward-looking concept to our members and we think the interest in participation from our membership will be very strong.”

The pilot program will also be open to students in the soon-to-be-launched Masters in Alternative Investments program at the Isenberg School of Management at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, one of the original founders of the CAIA curriculum. This program was selected for the pilot based on its adoption of the learning curriculum from CAIA’s Level I textbook. In the future, other academic programs using CAIA’s curriculum in their teaching may also be added to the stacking initiative.

“Preparation for specific career readiness and related skills needs to begin in the initial stages of higher education, and what is learned there is then built upon with industry and continued formal and informal learning and training,” said Tom Robinson, president and CEO of AACSB International and a member of CAIA’s Board of Directors.

In the first phase of this program, CAIA will be limiting enrollment by CFA charterholders looking to “stack” their credentials within a handful of markets, including most regions of the world. Applicants to this program who meet all of the relevant criteria will be able to register for the September 2018 Level II exam cycle. Go to https://caia.org/stackable-pilot for more information.

“Today’s alternative investment professionals, be they asset managers, asset owners, consultants or in some other key role in the industry’s infrastructure, need to have a well-rounded education,” added Kelly. “Building from the tremendous base that one forges in earning the CFA designation, the most successful professionals tend to branch out in the next phase of their education, delving into areas of specialization that can deliver a powerful boost not only to them individually but also to the firms where they apply their trade. In rolling out this new stackable credential initiative, we’re pleased to provide another avenue for the next generation of alternative investment industry leaders to earn their CAIA Charter and take their next steps.”

The CAIA Association offers the only credential focused on the alternative investment space and has become the global benchmark for alternative investment education. The CAIA Charter, an educational designation uniquely designed for individuals specializing in institutional-quality alternative investments, is granted upon successful completion of two levels of qualifying exams combined with relevant professional experience and joining the Association membership.

The Association now supports 30 global Chapters in financial centers in Europe, Asia-Pacific, and North America, including a Virtual Chapter that brings together Members from far-flung locations in more than 90 countries.

CAIA sponsors more than 120 educational and networking events each year and has entered into academic partnerships with 61 leading universities in the Americas, EMEA, and the Asia Pacific region. 


About the CAIA Association

The CAIA Association is the world leader in alternative investment education, offering the only education pro­gram uniquely designed for individuals specializing in institutional-quality alternative investments. The Association is best known for the CAIA Charter, an internationally-recognized credential granted upon successful completion of a rigorous two-level exam series, combined with relevant work experience. Earning the CAIA Charter is the gateway to becoming a Member of the CAIA Association, a global network of more than 9,000 alternative investment professionals located in more than 90 countries. CAIA also offers the Fundamentals of Alternative Investments certificate program (“Fundamentals”), an introductory-level online course, designed to provide a foundation in the core concepts in alternative investing. This program represents a natural extension of CAIA’s mission to provide solutions to specific market needs for alternative investment education.


About CFA Institute
CFA Institute is the global association of investment professionals that sets the standard for professional excellence and credentials. The organization is a champion of ethical behavior in investment markets and a respected source of knowledge in the global financial community. Our aim is to create an environment where investors’ interests come first, markets function at their best, and economies grow. There are more than 150,000 CFA® charterholders worldwide in 165+ countries and territories. CFA Institute has eight offices worldwide and there are 151 local member societies. For more information, visit www.cfainstitute.org or follow us on Twitter at @CFAInstitute and on Facebook.com/CFAInstitute.  CFA®and Chartered Financial Analyst® are registered trademarks owned by CFA Institute.


To learn more about the CAIA Association, contact Deborah McLean (413) 253-7373 or dmclean@caia.org. For more information on the CAIA Charter, please visit caia.org.

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