Dodge & Cox was started by Van Duyn Dodge and E. Morris Cox in 1930. The San Francisco-based asset manager offered its first mutual fund, the Dodge & Cox Balanced Fund, to the public in 1931. The firm has survived and thrived through the Great Depression, the Great Recession, World War II and just about every kind of economic cycle imaginable. The independently owned firm has grown to be one of the nation's largest asset managers with assets under management (AUM) of $270 billion as of Dec. 31, 2015.

Management

Chief Executive Officer Dana M. Emery joined Dodge & Cox in 1983 after receiving her B.A. from Stanford University. She became director of fixed income in January 1996 and is the CEO and president as of January 2016. Charles F. Pohl, chief investment officer (CIO) and chairman, has an MBA from the University of Chicago and joined Dodge & Cox in 1984. Many of Dodge & Cox’s other top executives have similar stories. Most joined Dodge & Cox straight out of school and have tenures of 10 to 30 years with the firm. The company prides itself on its ability to recruit and retain top talent.

Investment Decisions

Dodge & Cox is fully owned by its active employees, and decisions are made by committee. An overall investment committee oversees committees for international investments, equity investments, fixed-income investments and private client accounts. There is also a committee responsible for firm-wide business decisions. Investment committee members have an average tenure with the firm of 15 years. Most of these committee members have spent their entire careers with Dodge & Cox.

Diversity

Dodge & Cox does not have a posted diversity policy or any published diversity data available as of 2016. However, it should be pointed out that Dodge & Cox has a female CEO in a male-dominated industry. Younger employees tend to have a range of ethnicities, whereas those in more senior positions tend to be white men.

Marketing

Dodge & Cox has reached its current size without any public marketing. It has no sales charge or 12b-1 fees on its mutual funds. The firm pays no compensation of any kind to brokers. All customers are obtained based on referrals or individual research.

Services

Dodge & Cox funds offers a family of six mutual funds to the public. All of these funds are no-load and low expense ratio funds. The family of funds covers equity, fixed-income and international investments. The firm’s oldest fund, the Dodge & Cox Balanced Fund, is an asset allocation fund that divides investments between fixed-income securities and stocks.

Dodge & Cox also has a large private client group that provides individualized services to wealthy individuals, nonprofits and institutional investors. It is a focal point for company expansion.

Overall Performance

There is no way to examine the performance of privately managed accounts, but the publicly offered mutual funds are subject to full reporting. This data shows that most of the funds have only average returns compared to their peers and tend to underperform their comparative indexes. This is unusual for well-managed no-load funds. The one exception is the Dodge & Cox Balanced Fund (NASDAQ: DODBX).

The Dodge & Cox Balanced Fund receives a Morningstar overall rating of four stars and has a five-star rating for the last three- and five-year periods as of January 2016. The fund has annual returns of 7.4% and 8.06% over those time periods. The fund was founded in 1931, and it has an annualized total return of 9.61% since its inception. A $1,000 initial investment made in 1931 would be worth $2.5 million today.

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