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CAIA, a Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst, is the financial certification title I was after.

The choice to take up the certification didn't come easy. Having been in a situation where I was a full time student and working 2 part time jobs (while simultaneously working on an online business), it didn't make sense to wear myself out again now that I have a stable full time job. But boss was supportive on my own further personal development, so I took it.

3 things I found CAIA better than CFA is the focus of the study, levels, passing rate, and how it fits my situation right now.

The curriculum focuses on Alternative Investment (Real Asset, Hedge Funds, Private Equity, Structured Products, Portfolio and Risk Management) in comparison with the all-encompassing CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) which many people are much more familiar with.  Also, since I'm working in Partners Group, a recently-hailed large-cap publicly-listed investment manager in the private markets with AUM of USD 66 billion, surely it makes sense to understand what exactly I'm dealing with on a day-to-day basis, even though I may not be directly involved as the involvement professional.

Unlike CFA which consists of 3 levels and 4 years of relevant working experience to use the title, you'd need to only pass 2 levels for CAIA. Cost-wise, they're approximately similar. CAIA is also one type of a more specialized certification which is not widely-known to outsiders, similar to FRM (Financial Risk Management), and hence may have a possible impact on the higher passing rate of 60% rather than CFA's mere 30%.

It wasn't that easy, however. I prepared myself more than 6 months before the exam amidst the effort to strike a work-life balance, and never thought myself to ever going to be at the losing end. Although, it was still an opportunity to learn to be a better self in the future. 


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