Dimensional Fund Advisors plans to launch three active ETFs later this year, after filing registration statements for the funds with regulators last week.
News of DFA’s plans to launch ETFs has sparked renewed focus on why the factor-focused investment shop — which to date has sold its mutual funds to retail investors exclusively through financial advisors — did not move earlier into the $4.4 trillion market for exchange-traded funds.
“It’s about time. 10 or so yrs ago the head of PowerShares product development went to visit them in Santa Monica but majority had no interest in ETFs. Wonder where they[‘d] be today if they had,” said Ed McRedmond, CEO of the consulting group etfEd Advisory, on Twitter last week.
“I visited them on this topic in 2007, when I was CIO of Quant/Indexing at @NorthernTrust, together w/other senior execs. No interest then either,” tweeted Steven Schoenfeld, founder of BlueStar Indexes, in a response to McRedmond.
DFA has about $506 billion in client assets as of May 31. Its funds had roughly $4.5 billion in net flows last year, according to Morningstar.
But this year, the Austin, Texas-based firm’s fund outflows already have gotten close to that level. Plus, its outflows over the past 12 months topped $19.5 billion as of May 31, the fund research group says.
DFA’s announcement of its filings came about one year to the date after former executive Eduardo Repetto was hired by American Century to help it roll out ETFs and other products under the Avantis Investors brand.