James Dondero, the co-founder, managing partner, portfolio manager, and President of Highland Capital Management, has over 30 years of experience in the private equity and credit industry. Some of his present responsibilities include deciding and securing completion of Highland Capital Management’s investments and operations. He is 52 years old and resides in Dallas, Texas. Throughout his career, Mr. Dondero has focused on distressed and high-yield investments. As of May 2015, NexPoint Residential Trust announced that they were appointing Mr.Dondero and associate Arthur Laffer to their board of directors. Mr.Dondero was elected to serve as Chairman of the Board. The main focus of Nexpoint Residential Trust is the purchase, ownership, and use of middle-income properties in upper middle class areas throughout mostly the Southeastern and Southwestern states in America.
Today, Highland Capital Management holds assets equal to about $20 billion, and they specialize mostly in credit investments. The fund invests a small portion in equities as well. Since it’s humble beginnings in 1993, HCM has become one of the industry’s biggest and most well known alternative credit managers. An office in Singapore was opened in 2008 and another in Seoul in 2011.
After he helped open the doors of Highland Capital Management in 1993, it quickly helped pioneer the development of the Collateralized Loan Obligation (CLO) market, along with credit solutions for different investors across the globe. Some of HCM’s funds have won awards (hedge funds, mutual funds, REITS, institutional separate accounts, CLOs, and ETFs) including Morningstar’s 5-star designation for Global Allocation in 2014 and the Lipper Award for Floating Rate Opportunities in 2014. Mr. Dondero’s portfolio doesn’t stop there, either. He also has experience with emerging markets, leveraged bank loans, common stocks, preferred stocks, mortgage-backed securities, and more.
James Dondero presently serves on the board of directors of American Banknote Corporation, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, and MGM Studios. He is also Chairman of NexBank, Cornerstone Healthcare, and CCS Medical. Mr. Dondero has a serious philanthropic side, donating to Veterans causes, education, and initiatives for public policy.
Before starting Highland Capital Management, Mr. Dondero acted as Chief Investment Officer of Protective Life’s GIC subsidiary, and in the course of about four years, he took the business from a concept to clearing $2 billion dollars! Prior to that, from the years 1985-1989, he managed fixed incomes equal to about one billion dollars for American Express, where he worked as Corporate Bond Analyst and then a Portfolio Manager. Before his work with American Express, James completed the Morgan Guaranty Trust Company financial training program. Since 1987, he has been a Chartered Financial Analyst, and he still holds the designation of Certified Management Accountant. He focused on Accounting and Finance throughout his college career at the University of Virginia, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Commerce, Beta Gamma Sigma. His accomplishments seem to know no limits.