Dimensional Fund Advisors

Winthrop helped a founder cement his legacy, while giving his successors the tools they needed to build on it.

Dimensional Fund Advisors is an investment management firm with a distinctive approach to investing based on the theory of efficient markets. As Dimensional approached its 30th anniversary, its leadership team was preparing to pass the torch to younger managers who would preside over an institution that had been transformed by growth in offices, people, products, and markets. Founder and CEO David Booth put great stock in the values and principles that had guided the firm for nearly three decades. How could he make these principles explicit and transmit them to Dimensional’s next generation?

Dimensional engaged Winthrop to produce a “Master Narrative,”™ a compact, rigorously researched narrative that described those early decisions, put the firm’s development in perspective, and explained what made it distinctive in a crowded marketplace of money management firms. Using stories and anecdotes drawn from interviews with dozens of people up and down the organization, we illustrated how the firm had consistently managed to innovate and tread new paths while remaining true to its founding investment philosophy. The master narrative quickly found a range of applications: as a discussion document for intergenerational dialogue among executives; as a roadmap to the alignment of strategy and corporate culture; and as an integral part of the firm’s orientation and training programs.