54-year-old, Jim Dondero spent his very first years in Hoboken, NJ. He got his accounting and finance degree from the University of Virginia opting to venture into real estate. The market, however, propelled him into the credit industry. He was already managing assets that were worth well over a billion for American Express, five years after graduation.
In 1993, James Dondero partnered with Mark Okada to form Highland Capital Management. After a few years, they moved their operation base to Dallas to minimize expenses and bought out their parent company. Currently, the company offers nonbank collateralized loan obligations. Jim Dondero’s greatest strength is his problem-solving techniques that allow him to analyze difficult debt deals and take advantage of emerging trends.
In 2000, Highland Capital Management opened its first alternative mutual fund. The company offers liquid and fairly inexpensive information to some of its best investments. The company employs over 50 investment professionals dedicated to researching and vetting viable ideas for the company to invest.
In 2012, the company took a chance on Australia spending a lot of resource and over two years to research about the economic cycle in the country. The company, then, heavily invested in 2014. Their efforts paid off in 2015 when the company was in economic recovery, and the prices of their investments shot up.
Around the same time, Highland Capital Management also invested in oil and gas companies that were not faring very well in the market due to the overdraft in 2015. Partnerships that owned such refineries were an easy buy at the time, though they still cost the company more than 15% of its funds. In 2016, the MLP index was back to 18.3% leading to a quadrupling of the positions held by Highland Capital Management.
The success of Highland Company can be attributed to two major things. The first is Jim Dondero’s business intuition and his inspiring leadership. The second is the strategic position the company has which makes it able to deal with investments that traditional investors avoid. The company is also passionate about giving back to the community as it currently supports nonprofit startups and a math technology to schools in Dallas.