Dimensional Fund Advisors has opened an office in Austin, Texas, that will be at least as big as its Santa Monica, Calif., office and potentially become the firm's next headquarters, said David G. Booth, chairman, CEO, president and CIO. The Austin office, which is starting with some portfolio management, trading and some client servicing, will be a full-service office and handle all types of operations of the firm, he said.
Over the next few months, DFA will relocate 25 people to Austin from the current Santa Monica headquarters, including Stephen A. Clark, head of portfolio management and trading and vice president, and two portfolio managers. Company officials also plan to hire another 25 people for the new office in the next six months. "In five years, the Austin office should be about the same size as Santa Monica, which now has a staff of 230 and which the firm plans to keep at about 200." Santa Monica employees can choose whether to move or stay, he added. The firm would wait some years to assess its operations before deciding on making Austin its headquarters, he said.
Mr. Booth plans to move to the Austin office in two years. "Hopefully more senior staff will join me," he said.
"We are at a size we thought we ought to have two main offices so we can manage all of our U.S. accounts from Santa Monica or another location, and we decided on Austin," he explained. "It's risk reduction." DFA has $100 billion in assets under management. He said the moderate cost of living in Austin was a factor in deciding to move.
DFA is negotiating plans for construction of a building next year and is leasing space until the building is completed.