Dimensional Fund Advisors was started in 1981 by co-CEO and chairman David Booth and academic Rex Sinquefield. Their goal was to provide access to small-cap stocks, based on research about the outperformance of small caps.
DFA has built its strong brand around its hybrid active-passive management and limited access to its funds through the advisor channel and the institutional channel. Its "DFA-approved" advisors must undergo training in its philosophy that promotes low cost investments and long-term asset allocation over market timing.
DFA currently operates subsidiaries or funds in Australia, Canada, Germany, Ireland, Japan, the Netherlands, Singapore and the United Kingdom.
In 2007 DFA officials announced that they were moving its headquarters to Austin, Texas from Santa Monica, California. The decision was part of tax planning process for a possible sale of the firm by Booth and early investors.
In 2006-2007 Booth quietly shopped the firm, eventually turning down an offer from JP Morgan Chase. He took the firm off the market after the value of Dimensional fell because of the drop in AUM following the 2008 stock market collapse. Dimensional has since regained and surpassed its pre-crash AUM levels.
On January 1, 2010, Eduardo Repetto was promoted to co-CEO alongside Booth. The management shift comes as part of Booth's succession planning.
At one point, Booth had publicly revealed plans to step down as co-CEO at the end of 2013, which would have left Repetto as the sole CEO. .
Booth was part of a team at Wells Fargo & Co that created the first institutional index products in the early 1970s (those products beat Jack Bogle and Vanguard out of the gate).
He took that experience into a venture with Rex Sinquefield after the two former University of Chicago MBA classmates were swayed by a Rolf Banz paper that showed small cap stocks had historically outperformed large cap stocks. Booth's apartment served as the money manager's first office.
David Booth Co-founder, Executive Chairman, Dimensional Fund Advisors
Dave Butler Co-CEO, Head of Global Financial Advisor Services, Dimensional Fund Advisors
Gerard O'Reilly Co-Chief Investment Officer, Head of Research, Dimensional Fund Advisors