Sunday, April 8, 2012

Are Real Estate and Private Equity Part of the Principles Level Curriculum?

A Principles level candidate sent me the following question:

Hi John,
The CFA institute website has 15 sample questions for the principles exam on their website for anyone considering the program at the below link. Question 14 asks about GIPS private equity valuation principles.
I was under the impression that private equity was not a required topic in the principles level. Perhaps the questions are old? Or are there some main concepts I should understand about the above topic before I sit for the exam?

I believe the candidate is referring to the sample questions found here.

I believe that is an oversight on the part of CFA Institute, or at least they did not plan to update the sample questions to reflect curriculum changes.  Real estate and private equity were previously covered at the Principles Level, but that is no longer the case.  If memory serves, this was removed from the Principles Level curriculum in 2011.  These subjects are now included at the Expert Level.  The sample questions that the candidate is  referring to were developed prior to these changes, and probably have not been updated to reflect curriculum changes.

Now, I believe that the candidate is referring to the GIPS provisions dealing with real estate and private equity (sections I.6 and I.7 of the GIPS Standards, respectively), Appendix D in GIPS 2005 (Private Equity Valuation Principles) and the related guidance.  My answer is with respect to that content as well.  Having said that, your curriculum may make occasional reverence to these asset classes, and you are responsible for that information.

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