CFA vs CAIA – Which is Better?

CFA vs CAIA – Which is Better? Finding oneself confused between two courses can be a nail biting experience. Any decision can turn against you in the future. So, what is one expected to do in such a situation. Does that entirely mean that one should look for a third option? That is of course not needed. Confusion can be solved with a little bit of straining your eyes with reading exercise and working out your mind with logic and facts. So, if you are confused between which course to opt for, CFA exam or CAIA certification, I believe you need to carefully read this article before taking a decision.

It is important to choose wisely and especially between a choice like CFA and CAIA, as both is very similar and finds a great deal of takers from professionals determined to establish themselves in the field of investment or financial analysis.

The article is articulated in this order:

  1. CFA vs CAIA Infographics
  2. What is CFA?
  3. What is CAIA?
  4. CFA vs CAIA Exam Requirements
  5. Why pursue CFA?
  6. Why pursue CAIA?

CFA vs CAIA Infographics

Reading time : 90 seconds

Lets understand the difference between these two streams with the help of this CFA® vs CAIA Infographics.

CFA vs CAIA infographics

What is CFA?

CFA is the professional certification program conducted by the CFA Institute (formerly the Association for Investment Management and Research, or AIMR) for investment and financial professionals. The course is recognized and respected in the corporate world for its strong foundation of advanced investment analysis and real-world portfolio management skills that boosts the career prospects for investment and management professionals. The program module is structured in a format that it meets the demand of the global investment industry. The course keeps on evolving and adds on to the new practices of the industry, however it definitely covers the broad topics relating to investment management, financial analysis, stocks, bonds and derivatives, and provides a generalist knowledge of other areas of finance.

What is CAIA?

The Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst is a designation offered by the CAIA Association on successful clearing of the CAIA exam- an exam conducted by the institution to award the designation to investment professionals. The successful passing of the exam by a candidate allows him the recognition of being a specialist in the field of alternative investments such as hedge funds, private equity, real estate investment and venture capital. The designation is achieved by clearing two exams organized by the CAIA institute. This designation is globally recognized as a benchmark for professionals wanting to achieve a distinction in alternative investments.  It enables a professional to understand a portfolio from the investor’s perspective and implement diverse strategies and learn the fundamentals of alternative investment class and apply the asset allocated information to achieve result oriented decision making.

CFA vs CAIA Exam Requirements

To qualify for the CFA program a candidate must have a bachelor’s (or equivalent) degree or be in the final year of his bachelor’s degree program (an update is required on attaining the degree to qualify for the Level II) or minimum of four years of professional experience. The CFA certificate is only awarded after a candidate attains four years of experience even after clearing the exam. To appear for the CAIA exams candidates must have at least one year of professional experience and a bachelor’s degree.

Why pursue CFA?

The CFA study program covers almost the entire subject in its entity but it skims through the topic giving an overall outlook to the student. It also covers alternative investments but not in detail. However, CFA is a global brand and the institute enjoys a large membership base and this designation is considered to be the preferred course to achieve a better and broader scope in traditional investment. CFA should be the ideal course for you if you are looking to carve out a niche in the traditional investment roles such as fund managers and security analysts. The certificate program does not enjoy a high rate of passing and therefore has a prestige associated with it which makes a professional standout in the eyes of his employer. Unlike other international certifications CFA is cheaper and gives you a good grounding base about the financial markets and improves your expertise and knowledge on the same.

You may have a look at a detailed note on CFA examination guide for further details.

Why pursue CAIA?

CAIA is a perfect course for those individuals who wish to fill the educational gap to rise quickly in the alternative investment field. The CAIA designation holders are relatively less as compared to CFA charterholders and give a good chance to a candidate to stand out from the rest in the job market.  CAIA is seeing a tremendous growth in the last few years and anyone who is interested in specialization should prefer this course. The pass rates for CAIA are quite high; however, it does not directly open the doors to big opportunities. However, CAIA helps in achieving more client base and professional networking connections through membership in global chapters.

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You have all the necessary information in this article, its time you weigh your options carefully and take a decision. After all you alone are responsible for shaping your career. We wish you all the luck and hope you find greater success in whichever course you opt to study.

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