Everyone Wants a Piece of the Private Markets — Even the CFA Institute

The certification and education body is now offering a private investment credential.


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The CFA Institute is pushing further into private markets, launching a certificate program for the alternative investment sector.

The Private Markets and Alternative Investments Certificate, which debuted Thursday, is a five-course, self-paced online program.

It targets a large swath of the market: new industry entrants who want to work for a general partner, existing investors and asset owners who are looking to allocate to the asset class, and consultants who want to better understand the industry.

The news comes on the heels of the CFA Institute’s broader curriculum changes, announced in March. These changes included the addition of a private markets pathway for CFA Level III exam takers. At the time, a source from the organization told Institutional Investor that they believed the specialized track would work in concert with other designations, including the Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst certification.

The CFA credential has long been a coveted title for limited and general partners alike. People can only obtain the CFA credential after completing all three levels of the program. The program previously did not place a special focus on private markets. The CAIA certification, meanwhile, is focused on the alternative investment industry.

“The investment landscape is constantly changing, and CFA Institute recognizes the importance of adapting to the needs of an ever-evolving, dynamic, and diverse investment profession and client needs,” said Richard Fernand, head of certificate management at the CFA Institute, in a statement. “The development of the Private Markets and Alternative Investments Certificate acknowledges both this increasingly important investment specialism and the changing demands of candidates looking to develop as they pursue a successful career in the alternatives industry.”


The certificate program will include five courses which participants will take at their own pace online. The classes are: Introduction to Private Markets and Alternative Investments, Private Equity and Private Credit Investments, Real Estate and Infrastructure Investments, Commodities and Natural Resources Investments, and Hedge Fund Investments.

“The Private Markets and Alternative Investments Certificate offers strong foundational learning and practical content providing candidates with increased confidence and enhanced credibility within their organizations,” said Fernand in a statement.

CFA participants can expect more programs like this to come. According to Fernand, the organization plans to release more advanced certificates in the “near future.”

“The certificate aims to develop a learner’s ability to think critically, ask insightful questions, and innovate within the private markets and alternative investments space, introducing foundational concepts, tools, and techniques needed to open doors, further their careers, and benefit clients,” Fernand said.