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About This Certificate

The Private Markets and Alternative Investments Certificate is designed to give you a foundational understanding of these growing investment classes with content from practicing subject matter experts around the globe. The certificate teaches you the key features and differences between private equity, private credit, real estate and infrastructure, commodities, and hedge funds. By earning this certificate, you will learn practical application of leading private markets and alternative investments concepts.

Built on globally recognized CFA Program content, it provides foundational level knowledge across alternative investments.

The certificate is composed of five courses with practical application exercises and one final assessment.

Ready to start learning? Get a feel for the learning experience with complimentary access to a lesson pulled directly from the certificate coursework.

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Explore our selection of private markets learning opportunities from CFA Institute to help you advance your career.

Who Should Enroll

  • New entrants to the private markets industry: individuals who aspire to work for a general partner firm (GP) or other alternatives specialist.
  • Existing industry professionals: investors or asset owners who are looking to allocate to private markets or alternative investments.
  • Consultants: those working with General Partner or Limited Partner firms and wish to understand the industry landscape and terminology.

Courses and Final Assessment

Courses must be completed in order as concepts are related and build on each other. Course descriptions are provided below or you can view the full syllabus (PDF)

Gain valuable insights into the roles played by private markets and alternative investments in multi-asset portfolios.

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Understand the features, investment characteristics, risk and return profiles, and diversification benefits of private equity and private credit investments, and other drivers of investors’ interest in them.

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Gain valuable insights into the roles played by real estate and infrastructure investments in multi-asset portfolios.

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Gain an understanding of commodities and natural resources, illustrating their crucial role within investment portfolios.

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Understand the features of hedge funds, their structures, their risk and return profiles, and diversification benefits of hedge fund investments.

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Learners are allowed two attempts to successfully complete the final assessment which will be an un-proctored online assessment consisting of 60 multiple choice questions.

Each course will include knowledge check assessments to ensure you understand critical concepts covered in each lesson.


No prerequisites are required for this certificate.

What You’ll Learn

Upon completion of this certificate you will be able to:

  • Understand alternative investments, their benefits, and challenges, explore various investment methods, and develop a basic knowledge of risk management strategies, while gaining an introductory perspective on the performance of alternative investments compared to traditional ones.
  • Explain and analyze the features, investment characteristics, and value creation sources of private equity and private debt, compare various investment types and evaluate fund structures, terms, and financial performance from an investor's perspective.
  • Explain the features, characteristics, and investment structures of real estate and infrastructure investments; analyze their sources of return, risks, and diversification benefits, and apply due diligence and valuation approaches for informed decision-making.
  • Explain the role of natural resource and commodity investments in a diversified portfolio, describe and analyze their unique features and characteristics, apply key terms and concepts, evaluate different commodity sectors, explore market dynamics, and assess the impact of natural resources on economic growth and commodity prices.
  • Explain hedge funds' investment features and contrast them with other asset classes, analyze their sources of risk, return, and diversification, explore strategy classifications, assess the role of hedge fund strategies in a portfolio, describe the role of due diligence, and evaluate hedge fund performance both before and after fees.

Topics Covered

  • Investment Management Strategies
  • Financial Markets
  • Equity Investments
  • Alternative Assets
  • Investment Products and Asset Classes