The Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst Association (CAIA) has launched its first chapter in China amid what it describes as rising demand for alternative investment knowledge in the country.

Separately, CAIA says India could be next in line for a chapter this year, with interest in alternative investing on the rise on a comparable scale to China.

The non-profit provider of alternative investment education says it hopes to use its presence in Shanghai to help demystify the asset class as schemes, such as the qualified domestic limited partnership (QDLP), gain traction. This has been accompanied by the launch of the qualified domestic investment enterprise programme in Shenzhen. 

These schemes allow international hedge fund managers access to China’s onshore market.

Speaking from Shanghai, CAIA chief executive Bill Kelly told AsianInvestor the time was right for a China chapter, with the organisation having relied on its Hong Kong branch since November 2009.

It will seek to foster Chinese members and set up a local CAIA committee to organise educational events and networking programmes for those in the alternative investment industry. An estimated 100 Chinese professionals having taken its examinations to date.

Kelly said CAIA was aiming to increase recognition of its brand and educational programmes on the ground in China.

There has been competition to play a leading role in the education and development of China’s alternatives industry. Last June the Alternative Investment Management Association's signed a memorandum of understanding with the Asset Management Association of China.

Under the agreement, the two organisations said they would explore holding professional development events and seminars in the country.

Jo Murphy, CAIA's Asia-Pacific managing director, said the rise of alternatives was indicative of the changing investment landscape in China. “All these regulatory changes adds to the diversity of products which are available," she said. "It is encouragement for a broader palette of investment strategy, and that requires education and knowledge.”

Kelly said that CAIA hoped to make India the association’s next chapter this year, and would be spending much of the next week in Mumbai and Delhi. There are around 75-100 individuals in India who are holders of the CAIA qualification.

Kelly pointed out that 13% of CAIA’s members were based in Asia Pacific, but said he imagined that figure would be "substantially higher" within a few years.