The Future Fund’s head of debt and alternatives believes the Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst Association (CAIA) provides an important educational baseline for investment managers wanting a broad portfolio view.

David George, who also volunteers as the Australian chapter head of CAIA, said as the Future Fund takes a whole-portfolio view it was important for his team to have knowledge across a broad range of areas, particularly as alternatives have become more prevalent and complex.

“Am I the property expert now? No. But I understand everything that is said to me when we are talking about a property investment at our investment committee,” George said. “CAIA is really well positioned and designed in that it’s got a broad curriculum that evolves with the market. I’m happy to hitch my cart to it.”

There are eight people on the debt and alternatives team at the Future Fund, with half holding CAIA qualifications.

The chapter celebrated its one-year anniversary in December, and has worked with both the Chartered Financial Analyst Institute and Alternative Investment Management Association at their local events to help educate investors.

“CAIA makes a lot of sense for people in super,” George said. “If you have a specific portfolio focus, that’s one thing, but you don’t find that at every fund, so getting some additional and pretty specific education about what they are looking at can only be a good thing. It fits well with the allocator role most super funds end up falling into.”

George predicted the CAIA would become more relevant as the avenues to invest in alternatives increased. He added that the domestic financial services industry would not just consume, but would produce and create products as it becomes more mature.

For example, the banking industry has shifted away from providing private credit, because of changes to regulation, allowing institutional investors to step into the space.

“The real theme is that regulation is creating a huge amount of change in the finance centres. It’s something that most of the market understands is happening, but it’s a rolling set of opportunities for an investment manager like me.”

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