Dimensional Fund Advisors (DFA) is the manager of all the equity mutual funds we recommend to our clients. In today’s issue of Barron’s, DFA was ranked the best for 2010 in a special report on “The Best Mutual Fund Families.” You can read the full article at Barron’s website, but here are some excerpts:

Dimensional Fund Advisors, whose quant[itative] funds operate almost like indexes, was in precisely the right markets and watched its pennies.

Of course, it’s impossible to time stock- and bond-market changes and the strategy that’s paid off for the best big fund families – as well as investors – is a diversified one. Our No. 1, DFA, is a global asset manager that oversees $206.5 billion in all and owns a mind-boggling 13,000 stocks, or about 70% of the world’s publicly listed equities. Because DFA’s investment process is purely quantitative, it doesn’t have the option of succumbing to fear in the face of adversity. It certainly helped that DFA focuses much of its attention on some of last year’s highest-performing equity areas – value, small-cap and emerging markets.

The privately held firm (Arnold Schwarzenegger is an investor) also is known for keeping a lid on costs that can rob shareholders of performance points, steering clear of some foreign markets where it doesn’t believe funds can get a fair shake on prices.

Congratulations to DFA!