Kaplan CAIA student Jai Doshi tells us how his career developed from being a UK graduate in risk management, to an Investment Manager in Dubai.
Hello Jai. Why did you decide to study CFA and then CAIA?
Dating back almost 10 years now, I started a graduate programme at HSBC, working within the risk management team. I stayed there for a year and a half before moving to Nomura.
During this time I signed up for CFA Level 1, and it made me realise that I didn’t want to work at a bank anymore. Instead, I wanted to work on the buying side.
I completed CFA Level 1 and ended up moving to Mercer for investment consulting. So I basically focused on fund research across all asset classes, equities, as well as fixed income alternatives, mainly on the liquid side.
I continued to study CFA and ended up completing the full CFA Program in 2017, which was a massive relief and achievement. I thought that I'd pretty much be done with studying, but then I decided to specialise in a particular asset class, and a role came up in our hedge fund team so I joined them in 2017.
That's when I realised that CFA scratched the surface
on the hedge fund side.
I pretty much felt like a newbie in this space. I thought to myself, I need to develop my understanding of the hedge fund space, and that's when I came across the CAIA qualification. So, although I thought I was finished with studying, the exams carried on, and I ended up completing CAIA in 2019.
How did you study CAIA?
I went down the route of using Kaplan Schweser for the study materials and online videos, and it was brilliant.
I really valued having that 24/7 access to the tutors, especially when you get stuck on a question.
I would suggest that anyone who studies CAIA should study with Kaplan, because I think that doing it on your own is very, very difficult, especially alongside work. I think that the online tutorials added the most value to my course.
Personally, I'm one of those people who can self-study quite well, but you need someone to distil the facts from the fiction.
The online tutorials were a blessing because it’s a 30 minute video as opposed to reading 500 pages by yourself.
I also found Kaplan's practice exam questions to be very similar to the actual exam questions. This made things so much easier, because when you're sitting there in the exam room, you think ‘Hold on, I've done something very similar to this’ so that was a massive help.
Were there any challenges you faced when studying CAIA?
There were definitely some areas which I found very challenging in terms of content, but I think with all these exams you have to strategise as well.
It boils down to looking at the topic weightings and playing to your advantages. For example if a topic makes up 5-10% of the exam, and you're not very good at it, don't worry about it too much.
It’s much better to use your time to just focus on nailing the things that you are good at, and the heavier topic areas. It's just about being smart.
Do you have any advice for people looking to study CAIA?
My main advice is: if your background is in anything to do with finance, do CAIA, as it gives you a lot of valuable knowledge.
Especially right now, markets are in quite a shaky territory with interest rates going up, inflation being ridiculously high and equities being in a drawdown. So I think a lot of investors are turning to alternative investments because it looks like a much bigger opportunity.
I think alternative investments will continue to rise so it's quite important, for allocators especially, to increase their knowledge of it. And the other point would be that alternatives tend to have more complexity than traditional investments, so it’s important to educate yourself on this.
I think there will definitely be some benefits in pretty much everyone getting involved in this qualification.
CFA provides generalist financial concepts such as asset class valuations, modelling skills and portfolio management skills. CFA scratches the surface on the alternative asset classes.
CAIA deepens this by focusing on all alternative asset classes. Given the importance of broad portfolio diversification, it is essential to learn about asset classes such as private equity, real estate, infrastructure, private debt, and structured products.
While the CFA provides a solid foundation on the core building blocks of a portfolio, the CAIA enables you to go deeper in asset classes which provide different return drivers to traditional equities and fixed income.
What does the future look like for you?
Last year, I moved from London to Dubai and now I work as an investment manager. I manage a capital markets portfolio, which basically consists of: equities, fixed income, hedge funds, private equity, and venture capital. I can see everything I've done to date has helped me in my current role.
I think the near future is all about nailing this current role. In terms of progression and specific jobs, I think it's difficult to say, but I think I would like to carry on the path that I am on and earn the trust to manage more money eventually. So that would be the end goal.
Any final thoughts?
I think the only other thing I'd say is that if you're thinking about doing it, don't think about it. Just sign up. Because I feel like it's one of those things where thinking about it just wastes too much time and you're not going to gain anything.
I think the other point is that people with families, partners or children etc can make time to study for these exams. They're not like school or university exams, they're entirely different and you can never be too old to sit an exam.
Interested in CAIA?
If you're interested in our CAIA program, visit our qualification pages for more information.