What Can You Do With a CAIA® Charter?

By: Kaplan Schweser
January 13, 2021
Man at computer working working in a CAIA Charterholder career

Top employers value the CAIA® Charter, and it is recognized globally as the highest standard of achievement in alternative investment education. Charterholders demonstrate their knowledge and interest in specific financial products known as alternative investments.

But, what kind of jobs are available to them? Let’s take a look at some of the most common job titles for those who have earned the Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst℠ designation. We’ll describe these positions in alternative investment terms.

What Can I do with a CFA® Charter? »

Where CAIA® Charterholders Work

Many of the titles held by those with the CAIA designation appear at first to be the same as those of CFA® charterholders and other financial certifications or degrees. The difference is the investments they analyze or manage and where they work. Alternative investments are assets other than stocks, bonds, and cash, such as private equity, hedge funds, real estate, derivatives, commodities, and more. You can find CAIA Charterholders in hedge funds, private practices and firms, investment management firms, companies, foundations and trusts, colleges and universities, pensions, and state and local governments, to name a few.

Investment Analyst

Investment analysts analyze investment risk and return data, conduct performance attribution, carry out peer benchmarking, and perform investment operations tasks. CAIA Charterholders are good candidates for this position because of their specialized knowledge of alternative investments and risk management. Employers currently advertising for CAIA Charterholders for investment analyst positions on the CAIA Careers web page, maintained by CAIA Association, include equity divisions of wealth management firms, state and local government or higher education retirement funds, credit funds, ratings agencies, and venture capital firms.

Investment Consultant

Investment consultants provide clients with investment products, advice, planning, or any combination of these. They formulate investment strategies, helping clients fulfill their needs and reach their financial goals. CAIA Charterholders bring alternative investment product knowledge and asset allocation skills to the role. A small sampling of the types of employers who hire CAIA Charterholders as investment consultants includes accounting and finance firms, consulting firms, global investing firms, life insurance companies, and firms specializing in audit, tax, and advisory services.

Investment Advisor

Investment advisors provide investment guidance to clients in exchange for specific fees. They differ from stockbrokers, who earn a commission. Investment advisors often have what is called discretionary authority, which means they can act on behalf of their clients without formal permission. Clients and investment advisors usually formalize this authority as part of onboarding. A CAIA Charterholder’s specialized knowledge in everything from ethics to structured products is valuable in this position. Investment advisors with the CAIA Charter can be found in mutual funds, investment banks, brokerages, private equity firms, and tax firms.

Portfolio Manager

Portfolio managers are in charge of an investment fund or group of funds, making informed decisions for their clients based on expert insight and experience. They work with analysts, researchers, and clients to stay current on the markets and business news. They make decisions to buy and sell assets throughout the day as the markets fluctuate. CAIA Charterholders demonstrate specialized knowledge on how to apply alternative investments to the decisions they make for their clients. Among the employers who hire CAIA Charterholders as portfolio managers are hedge funds, banks, financial services firms, brokerages, equity funds, and government or college and university pension plans. You can learn the skills you need to succeed in this position in this article.

Investment Manager

Investment managers administer clients’ funds, pooling their money into long-term investment strategies, including alternative assets. They differ from portfolio managers because they have a wider range of responsibilities; most are expected to have advanced degrees. Along with meeting with clients and evaluating investment options, they develop financial documents and reports, make projections for expected returns on investments, monitor economic factors, and manage or supervise analysts and other employees. Employers who hire CAIA Charterholders as investment managers include hedge funds, consulting firms, investment banks, and capital investment firms. You can get a broader view of this position here.

Credit Structurer

Credit structurers blend or repackage financial assets and complex transactions in the credit area (also an alternative investment). They manage product development, marketing, and risk analysis, and obtain approvals. This is a job role well suited to CAIA Charterholders. The types of employers who hire them include financial services firms, investment banks, private equity firms, and asset management firms.

Managing Director or Senior Vice President

CAIA Charterholders often move up in their careers to hold managing director or senior vice president positions at private equity, capital investment, investment management, financial services, and hedge fund firms. They are responsible for the performance of their firms as determined by its board of directors and C-Level executives. They report to the CEO and even the company’s chair or board of directors.

Chief-Level Executive

Chief executives make the strategic decisions that drive the success and the direction of the organization. As such, C-level positions are viewed as the highest level of business success. Chief-level executive positions held by those with the CAIA designation can include chief information officer (CIO), chief financial officer (CFO), and senior investment officer. Their responsibilities vary based on the structure of the firm and the specific role. You can find CAIA Charterholders in these positions in higher education retirement funds, trust companies, global investment advisory firms, hospital systems, and mutual funds.

Interested in Pursuing the CAIA® Charter as a Boost to Your Career?

Although earning the CAIA designation does not guarantee you a job or a top position at a firm, it can make a difference when an employer is deciding between two otherwise equally qualified candidates. In that situation, the CAIA Charter could be your competitive advantage. Passing the CAIA exam and earning the CAIA charter takes hard work and dedication, but our CAIA exam prep study packages can help. It’s a career move worth considering.

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