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CHA Designation...

So we've all heard of the CFA but now there's a CHA -- Chartered Hedge Fund Associate. Yep. I received an email the other day from Hedge Fund Group (Hedge Fund Group (HFG) - International Hedge Fund Association) informing me that they were opening registration for the CHA designation. After a few emails back and forth with them, I registered. I am doing it mainly because it'll educate me on hedge funds (there's a required-reading list) and I think it'll help me have more sophisticated conversations with candidates and clients.

So I'm curious...is anyone else taking the test? More info. at Hedge Fund Group (HFG) - International Hedge Fund Association.

Maybe I'm too skeptical of everything but this seems a bit fishy to me.
The first thing that threw a red flag to me is the so-called hedge fund forum at Hedge Fund Message Board .com

The reason is that several months ago, I saw many of Mr. Wilson posts on another forum I visited. I visited his forum and at first impression, it seems he is trying hard to sell everything hedge fund.
Now, a few months later and this has become The Hedge Fund Group with its own exam? Come on.
I wonder if Richard Wilson is the sole person behind this. And according to their study guide, the first exam will only open to 100 people while they develop the website?

Sameer, take my opinion for what it's worth but I'll stay clear of this thing. Or at least, not put it on the same sentence with CFA yet ;)
Hey Andy, well it's too late to stay clear of this since I already registered and paid. :)

This is definitely a new certification and doesn't come close to having the reputation or prestige of the CFA but why would that, in and of itself, raise a red flag? They are a small group -- I think they have 4 people employed in total. I understand it might be a while (a long while) before the CHA is widely recognized but I think that goes for everything that's started new, right? You mentioned the forum and that Richard Wilson seems to be trying to sell everything hedge fund -- can you expand on that? What specifically is the concern?



Older and Wiser
Sameer, let us know how every thing goes with that test. I went to his website and it seems like some sort of advertisement site. I was looking for Corporate sponsors and I couldn't find any. That will be something that will make the site completely legit (since Andy raised some interesting issues).

Their forums have a lot of threads with only one post, very few follow ups. Maybe because it's a new site and people don't know about it or maybe because people don't think it is worth to reply to them.

Without having looked at the CHA info in too much detail it sounds like there might be some overlap between that and the CAIA (chartered alternative investment analyst).

I just started on the reading list for the CAIA so I'm by no means an expert but from what I understand the people behind that are still trying to build momentum and differentiate it from all the other qualifications out there, especially the CFA. It's been around for a little while and web forums such as this one seem to be littered with questions asking for a comparison between CAIA and CFA (the two not similar in my opinion).

I think what I was originally trying to say when I first started typing is that CAIA is still in it's infancy stages and is slowly gaining more recognition. It will take time for the CHA to reach that stage.
Vazza, yeah i looked at the CAIA (albeit after I signed up for the CHA) -- there's definitely some overlap although the CHA focus purely on hedge funds whereas the CAIA seems to cover other alternative investments. Good luck on your test!

And yeah the CHA will take a while before it starts to be recognized -- one reason I'm doing it is because as I prepare for it I'm learning quite a bit about hedge funds and it's definitely something I can leverage as part of work as a headhunter. Also, I just love this stuff -- this world of hedge funds -- and I'm actually enjoying reading up on this. I was telling my sis on the phone the other day that for the first time in a long time, I'm studying for something because I'm actually really interested in the subject matter. Grad school wasn't quite like that for me. :)

I'm interested to know how its going. I can't find any legitimate information on this program anywhere, other than on sites registered to Richard Wilson. Is this designation something that one person just cooked up?
Sameer , I am also interested in the test. I am finding that it is very hard to find independent information and opinions about CHA designation. I am actually in the midst of a career change so I have much at stake over here and do not want to waste my time. Any thoughts? Have you taken the test?
Wow! I just saw the registration page- their level 1 is $599! Thats a bit steep for an unproven charter program that appears to have been founded by a single guy with a board of advisors from small funds, some of whom wont divulge their names or even their firms' names.

Consider that the CFA is only $990, and is an actual, recognized, and well regarded program that is considered highly valuable both to the IB and HF industry.

If that wasnt enough, consider the required reading list:

Hedge Fund of Funds Investing: An Investor'...
by Joseph G. Nicholas
Investment Strategies of Hedge Funds (The W...
by Filippo Stefanini
All About Hedge Funds : The Easy Way to Get...
by Robert A. Jaeger
Hedge Me: The Insider's Guide--U.S. Hedge Fund Careers, Fourth Edition
Hedge Me: The Insider's Guide--U.S. Hedge F...
by Claude Schwab

This is certifiably a joke. Having read the second of these, and arguable the closest to a text book amung them, I'm suprised that "Hedge Funds for Dummies" isnt there. These are all "light reading" or "self-help" and are in no way a technical presentation of the material required to understand let alone actually perform a role within a hedge fund.

Now don't get me wrong- maybe one day it will grow into something, but right now this should be a huge red flag both to potential candidates and employers.