Improve Your Hedge Fund Candidacy with Designation


In today’s competitive hiring marketplace it is very important for candidates to have the best credentials available. Hedge Fund candidates are always judged first and foremost on their past performance, as are most Hedge Fund managers. Once your qualifications have passed that basic filter what makes one candidate look stronger than another?   

For many hedge funds academic pedigree and/or past academic success are usually a key yardstick. So what can you do to improve your credentials if your performance has only been marginal and your academic background is not stellar?

Earn one of the four main designations which are highly valued by most Hedge Funds for individuals in investment or risk management oriented roles. As these accreditations are sought after by Hedge Funds as well as the funds’ investors – giving your candidacy added traction in the marketplace. These four designations include: Chartered Financial Analyst CFA®, Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst (CAIA), Financial Risk Manager (FRM®) and Certified Public Accountant (CPA).

Chartered Financial Analyst®

The CFA is probably the most well know designation in the investment world today. This accreditation was started in 1963 as the ICFA. Since that time, we estimate over 1 million individuals have tried to receive this designation to enhance their hedge fund candidacy.

The certification requires you to pass three separate tests (Level 1, 2 and 3) sequentially over a minimum of seven years. The administering organization now permits Level 1 and Level 2 to be taken within a seven month period; however, there are only two specific test dates a year for the CFA so you must be able to property coordinate your schedule. The CFA also requires 4 years of relevant professional work experience.

These three tests encompass a comprehensive range of investment principals, thus the designation is highly sought out by most Hedge Funds.  We believe the CFA is generally more valuable to Hedge Funds than an MBA, unless you are earning the degree from a top 10 business school.  The CFA designation attests that the holder possesses a very strong and encompassing foundation of finance and investment principals.

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Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst

This is a newer designation which was created in 1999.  Although it is still not as well known as the CFA this designation is gaining popularity. Many large Hedge Funds now require their entire investment staff to take this test.  The designation is only rewarded upon passing two separate tests within a 3 year window and the candidate must have 1 to 4 years of professional experience depending on their academic background.

This designation was created with the alternative investment universe in mind and the test questions are a combination of basic investment principals and specific alternative investment questions.  With the CAIA’s popularity growing we are seeing many individuals including CFA holders taking this test to make them more competitive in the hiring marketplace. This designation can enhance your hedge fund candidacy.

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Financial Risk Manager

This designation was started in 1997 and has gained tremendous popularity especially in the past few years as risk and risk management has become a much more important component of Hedge Funds and trading.  There are still fewer than 15,000 people who can use the FRM designation.  To receive the designation you must pass the FRM exam and have at least two years of professional experience in the field of financial risk management.

This is the only designation we know of that is focused purely on financial risk and risk management.  We are seeing more and more hedge fund candidates who posses this designation along with at least one of the other above mentioned designations.

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CPA – Certified Public Accountant

This is the most commonly know designation and although we do not see it on many front office or risk management job requirements, it can be extremely valuable to you and your hiring potential.  We will not go into all of the details since it is so popular but as with the designations mentioned above you must pass numerous tests and have years of professional experience before being rewarded the designation.

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Summary of Hedge Fund Candidacy Designations

Each of these designations takes countless hours and sometimes years of studying and dedication to achieve. In addition to the knowledge gained in going through the process of becoming accredited, the designation is also a sign of your ambition and perseverance. Each of these designations can also make your hedge fund candidacy stand out from many of your peers – helping you to establish a personal brand that is unique and sought after!

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