Case study: dimensional fund advisors, 2002

Suggested Assignment Questions:

1. What are the philosophical beliefs of Dimension Fund Advisors (DFA)?  What type of products

does DFA offer? How does DFA add value for its investors?

2. How is DFA’s business model related to the research of FAMA and French?  Why do you think

small-cap stocks outperformed large-cap stocks historically?  That is, do the better returns of 

small-cap stocks reflect the compensation for extra risk or the correction in mispricing?  In other

words, do you think small-cap stocks are riskier than large-cap stocks?  Or small-cap stocks are

undervalued relative to large-cap stocks and such mispricing is corrected as time elapses?

Do you expect this pattern to continue?

3. Similarly, why do you think value stocks outperformed growth stocks historically? That is, do

The better returns of value stocks reflect risk compensation or corrected mispricing?  Do you

Expect this pattern to continue?  

4. Why does DFA care so much about trading?  What rules does the firm adopt for its trading

practice?  Do you think DFA can maintain its competitive advantage in trading in the future?

5. How does DFA’s new tax-management business work?  What are the costs and the benefits?  Is the tax-managed fund business likely to be successful on a broad scale?

6. How should DFA manage its strategy going forward?  To continue its success, do you think DFA

should make any changes?  If so, can you suggest any directions?  If not, why?

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