James Dondero: The Futuristic Executive of Highland Capital Management

James Dondero, the co-founder and the President of Highland Capital Management, is a champion of equity and credit markets with more than three decades of expertise. He is known for many innovative products that revolutionized the market and credited as one of the pioneers of Collateralized Loan Obligation (CLO). Since Dondero co-founded the Highland Capital in 1993, he focused on providing high-value products in private equity market. His insightful leadership with marketing-winning strategies helped the firm to grow quickly in the market, and currently, it holds assets worth more than $20 billion under its management. The company based in Dallas expanded its operations to all the major financial centers, and currently, it has offices in Singapore, London, and New York City.


Dondero expanded the business verticals as well during the period and created multiple affiliates under the firm. It includes Acis Capital Management, offering CLOs; NexPoint Capital, a healthcare BDC; NexPoint Advisors, closed-end funds; and NexPoint Residential Trust. While Dondero oversees the firm’s operations and investment strategies as the President of Highland Capital, he also assumes the role of a portfolio manager. The funds managed by Dondero has offered quality returns to the customers and received many accolades throughout his career. His funds won the 5-star designation of Morningstar for Global Allocation in the year 2014, #1 rank by Morningstar for Healthcare short/long Equity Fund 2014, and the Lipper Award in 2014 for Floating Rate Opportunities.


Dondero started his career in 1984 as an analyst after enrolling to the Morgan Guaranty training program. A year later, he joined American Express as a Corporate Bond Analyst. Later, Dondero elevated as a portfolio manager and managed fixed income funds worth approximately $1 billion. In 1989, he left American Express and joined GIV, a subsidiary of Protective Life, as its Chief Investment Officer. The start-up firm grew into a $2 billion business under the leadership of Dondero. He completed his graduation from the University of Virginia in accounting and finance. Dondero also earned some financial certifications including Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) and Certified Management Accountant (CMA). Dondero serves on the boards of MGM Studios and American Banknote.

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