CAIA to transition to energy infrastructure investing?

Hi,

question up front: I am interested in getting into energy infrastructure investing, specifically renewables, hydrogen, power transmission, etc., either on the equity or debt side. I am wondering whether the Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst (CAIA) cert is a possible way in as someone from a non-finance background. I am in Europe and would prefer to work in either Europe, the Middle East (Dubai), or Canada.

Additional details: I am currently working at a Big 4 in Europe mostly doing due diligence on integrity, reputational, and regulatory risks (i.e. corruption, bribery, conflicts of interest, that sort of thing). This is often in the context of large M&A transactions, with most of that work recently being in the renewable energy and infrastructure sectors. I have about six years work experience and am a manager. I have multiple degrees in social sciences, am pretty numerate, and can program in multiple programming languages (for data analysis). 

I am apparently not allowed to post links to jobs I'm interested in since I'm new here, but there is currently for example a job posting for an energy infrastructure associate at MIRA available, as well as an energy, utilities, transport & renewable power analyst at Brookfield.

Both jobs ask for experience in investment banking, corporate development, or similar, as well as financial modeling and valuation skills. I have neither. In your view, is there a chance that the CAIA, together with my existing experience with M&A transactions from the integrity / compliance side could be enough to make me a candidate for those types of jobs? And if not, what could I do instead? For a variety of reasons, let's exclude an MBA from the universe of possible actions to take.

I've done a search in the forum but haven't found a thread that would answer my questions.

Thank you in advance.

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Comments (14)

Nov 11, 2020 - 10:31am

To be blunt, it's going to be very difficult. MIRA and Brookfield are top players in the renewables / broader infrastructure space and if you take a look at some of the profiles of the junior class, an overwhelming majority have prior investment banking experience covering power, utilities, and infrastructure spaces with the minority coming from other top infrastructure funds or industry from top renewable energy developers. I work in the space and I'm not sure if being certified is going to help you much as the skillset that's required in the industry is very niche, highly sector-specific, and technical.   

Nov 11, 2020 - 4:56pm

Hi,

thanks for your response, it's appreciated. Given what you say, it sounds like the most viable way in for me would be to network with people at our industrial clients in renewables and see whether that could lead anywhere. Would it be roles in corporate strategy / development that would be most relevant?

Again, thanks for your help.

Nov 14, 2020 - 11:03pm

That could be a good starting point. I think any of the following roles will give you a much better chance at landing these coveted buyside roles in renewables / infrastructure: 1) Working on the investments side at a renewable energy developer where you work on acquisitions of utility-scale renewable assets, 2) Project finance arms of banks (i.e. Japanese / French banks are the most active in the space), 3) Investment banking at a good coverage group in Power & Utilities / Infrastructure or at a pureplay renewables advisory firm (there's a good number of boutiques active in the space)

Nov 14, 2020 - 10:58pm

Hmm...I do know there are legacy O&G teams based out of Houston that are working with some of the oil majors who are now looking to participate in the energy transition. If you show strong interest in the field and that you did your research, I'm sure making the pivot won't be too difficult given your general background in finance. 

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Nov 11, 2020 - 5:14pm

CAIA will not help at all.

If you're looking for a career transition, the CAIA just isn't going to do it. You need to hit a "career reset" and traditionally only a full time MBA does the trick, potentially followed by banking. 

If you're not looking at b-school, one idea would be do the CFA program (much tougher than the CAIA and more respected) and try to transition to a sell side job covering the sector at a small firm. But even that would be very difficult, as given your years of experience you may be seen as too senior. 

I don't know if networking is going to help either as it's a pretty big transition given your work experience.

Sorry mate.

Nov 14, 2020 - 11:11am

Hi, thanks for your input. I was indeed a bit worried that I might be seen as too senior to start at the bottom while not having the required background to enter at a higher level. Seems like this is certainly going to be difficult (not like I'm about to stop trying) but at least then I won't waste my time with the CAIA

Again, thanks for your help, I appreciate it.

Nov 14, 2020 - 4:11pm

CAIA is mainly useful as a cert for hedge fund sales people, and potentially allocators. definitely not a career transition certification, and despite the claims of being broad, the material is 50%+ hedge fund investing. 
-CAIA holder

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