On a wintry February morning in St. Louis, we were honored to spend time with Dave Butler, Co-CEO of Dimensional Fund Advisors. Over breakfast, we were reminded why Dave is the type of leader we’d all work for. That’s saying something, as we’re picky about who we’d follow.
We’ve been collaborating with Dimensional since we launched Hill Investment Group, but this was the first time we heard Dave’s own story about how he discovered his life’s calling there.
Dimensional is now one of the largest mutual fund companies in the world, with 1,300+ employees, 13 global locations, and over $500 billion in global assets. But it was a fraction of its current size when Dave joined them back in 1995. At the time, he was working on the East Coast, and wanted to return to his California roots. He sent his résumé to this nascent fund manager in response to a Wall Street Journal ad he spotted, and beat out over 300 other applicants to get an interview.
Knowing very little about Dimensional, Dave told us he’d contemplated skipping the interview. Fortunately for all of us, the Santa Monica office was on his way to something else, so he showed up for the scheduled meeting after all.
Minutes into the interview, Dave was invited to have lunch with a Nobel Prize laureate who was part of the Dimensional team. His impression of the firm changed quickly that day; he could almost physically feel the team’s enthusiasm for its novel approach to “applying academic research to practical investing.” From that day on, he was hooked.
We are grateful to be surrounded by a similar level of enthusiasm in our own firm and among our key strategic alliances, like Dimensional. They and we are mindful of who we work for – our clients, that is – and how exciting it is to help them put the evidence-based odds of successful investing on their side. We’re also very glad Dave made it to his interview!