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San Francisco Staff’ Retirement System Drops DFA for Underperformance

Share this…FacebookPinterestTwitterLinkedin After ten years of investing with Dimensional Fund Advisors, the $34.6 billion San Francisco Staff’ Retirement System is…

By Staff , in Investments , at January 14, 2022



After ten years of investing with Dimensional Fund Advisors, the $34.6 billion San Francisco Staff’ Retirement System is giving the supervisor the boot.  

On Wednesday, the SFERS board voted in favor of dropping the fund’s $155.1 million allocation to DFA’s rising markets core fairness fund, in addition to exiting a $120 million funding in its small-cap rising markets fund, a spokesperson confirmed through e-mail. Each funds have underperformed their benchmarks for the three- and five-year intervals.

DFA, a $679 billion agency that made its identify on issue investing, has just lately had a tough go of it. As SFERS’s assembly paperwork word, the asset administration agency’s “worth bias will underperform in periods of sturdy outperformance of progress, which has been the case for a lot of the final 10-plus years.” 

In 2020, Dimensional confronted billions in outflows, in line with Institutional Investor’s sister publication RIA Intel. It reported that between November of 2019 and October of 2020, the agency’s belongings below administration fell 10.36 p.c.

DFA’s rising markets core fairness fund had been below overview at SFERS for the reason that second quarter of 2020, whereas the small-cap rising markets fund has been below overview for the reason that fourth quarter of that yr. SFERS was a longtime DFA investor, having first allotted about $80 million to DFA’s small-cap rising markets technique in October 2011, and $75 million to the rising markets core technique the next month.

However SFERS has shifted its focus in recent times, which prompted the overview. The group now “favors smaller, extra nimble companies which have specialty expertise, a singular funding focus, and area of interest methods,” and “believes that distinctive managers have a singular, important, and sustainable edge and a excessive diploma of alignment with buyers.”  

DFA’s rising markets core technique fund had underperformed its benchmark — the MSCI rising markets investable market index — by 6 foundation factors on an annual foundation since 2011. It underperformed the benchmark by 9 foundation factors over a trailing 7-year interval. “Outperformance has been extremely cyclical and extra just lately has been trending downwards,” SFERS paperwork confirmed. 

In the meantime, DFA’s small-cap rising markets technique has really outperformed its benchmark by 89 foundation factors on an annualized foundation for the reason that preliminary funding. Nonetheless, newer efficiency “has been difficult,” because the technique underperformed its benchmark by 375 foundation factors within the first three quarters of 2021.   

It additionally underperformed its benchmark by 50 foundation factors over the 7-year trailing interval.  

In keeping with SFERS assembly paperwork, DFA’s funds are “not constant” with the pension’s plan for its public fairness portfolio. Each funds carefully monitor their benchmarks, indicating that their “return profile is kind of just like the benchmark,” the assembly paperwork mentioned. 



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