James Dondero: Founder, Portfolio Manager, CIO, CMA, & CFA

Over 20 years ago Jim Dondero co-founded Highland Capital Management (HCM), and still serves as HCM’s President. HCM’s offerings include hedge funds, CLOs, mutual funds, private equity, institutional accounts, ETFs, and REITs. Some of these areas are actually innovations created by James Dondero and he has received industry awards for their invention. Highland Funds is the retail arm of Highland Capital, also founded by the partnership of Mr. Dondero and Mark Okada. They are registered as investment advisers with the SEC. Currently, James Dondero is the Portfolio Manager at NexPoint Credit Strategies.

His career has always focused on distressed property investments that have resulted in high yields. He has also excelled in assisting other investors around the world in an arena he helped create: retail and institutional investments via credit plans. With more than three decades of credit market investor experience, Mr. Dondero has expanded his influence by serving on American Banknote and MGM Studios boards of directors. He has also distinguished himself as the Chairman of Cornerston Healthcare’s board. And in the same role for Nexbank and CCS Medical.

James Dondero’s specialty over all those years continues today: enhancing the Collateralized Loan Obligation market (CLO), which has improved the credit and equity market’s business model. Before starting HCM in 1993, he was the CIO at Protective Life’s subsidiary, GIC. He helped build GIC’s business to well over $2 billon, starting just 4 years before, in 1989. He has a breadth of portfolio management experience, such as in investment grade corporates, mortgage-backed securities, high-yield bonds, leveraged bank loans, real estate, derivatives, emerging market debt, common stocks and preferred stocks. Before GIC, he was at American Express, where he managed fixed income funds worth $1 billion in total assets.

Graduating from the University of Virginia with a BS in Commerce with an emphasis in Accounting and Finance, he also became a CMA (Certified Managerial Accountant) and later a CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst). He currently manages access to assets worth over $21 billion as well as advising investments in more non-traditional opportunities. He has built offices for HCM from the headquarters in Dallas, Texas to many locations around the globe, including New York, Seoul, Singapore, and São Paulo in South America.

When it comes to philanthropy, James Dondero is no stranger. He supports efforts in education, veterans affairs, and contributes in the area of public policy. As well as an alum of the University of Virginia, he also graduated with honors from the McIntire School of Commerce, where he majored in Accounting and also Finance.

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