In 1969, native San Franciscan and Stanford University graduate Burt Berry took the bold step of using noload mutual funds instead of individual stocks and bonds to professionally manage assets on behalf of clients.
The concept was virtually unheard of at the time: the mutual fund industry was young, and most funds carried 8.5% loads or sales charges, and were sold by brokers. Only a few dozen noload funds were available and it was almost impossible to obtain useful performance data on them.
Using a spreadsheet and an adding machine, Burt began calculating the returns for all the available noload funds, arranging the data in a tabulated worksheet. He compared funds with similar risk or volatility, and invested in the best performers. He continually tracked performance. When a fund began to lag its peers, he redeemed the shares and directed the proceeds to a better performing alternative.
Janet Brown joined Burt in 1978. She defined the system by developing the Fund*X Score to rank funds by near-term performance, and quantified the risk-classification system still in use today. Over time, the investment strategy known as Upgrading took shape. Burt’s tabulated worksheet became the newsletter NoLoad FundX, and investing with noload mutual funds ultimately became commonplace. In the 1990s, other investment professionals joined DAL, and the firm expanded to answer the needs of a growing roster of clients.
In 1997 Janet acquired DAL, and the senior portfolio managers are all principals and partners. Since then Janet has served as company president, while Burt remains chairman emeritus.
Today, DAL has over $1 billion under management.
All the result of a simple idea that simply works.