James Dondero is the president of Highland Capital. He appeared in the cover story of Barron’s Magazine a few months ago. He was asked about his biggest strength. Dondero said that it was puzzle-solving. This trait helped him to identify emerging trends and work through complex debt deals. Dondero manages the Highland Global Allocation fund that is worth $900 million. He has gained attention from the market for the performance of the fund that grew by 30% in the past year. The fund gives investors access to investment ideas that are picked by him.
The fund is in the world allocation category, but its investment approach is different from other funds. It holds only 200 securities when others have as many as double that number. Dondero said that the fund prefers to invest in many companies in one sector or just one of them. The approach has resulted in variations in the performance of HGAF in the past two years. Highland began to explore the investment landscape in Argentina and the opportunity for growth in 2012. They conducted research in the area for two years before deciding to invest in the sovereign debt of the government in 2014. The move paid off when the country elected Mauricio Macri to be president in 2015.
James Dondero graduated from the University of Virginia with a degree in business majoring in Accounting and Finance. He is also a Charted Financial Analyst and a Certified Management Accountant. James joined the Morgan Guaranty program as an analyst after school. Dondero moved to American Express where he worked as a corporate bond analyst. He was then promoted to Portfolio Manager where he oversaw billions of dollars in assets.
James joined GIC as the chief investment officer in 1989. This is a subsidiary of Protective Life. Dondero was responsible for growing the firm’s assets to $2 billion in four years. He co-founded Highland Capital Management with Mark Okada in 1993. He is the chair of the boards of CCS Medical, Nexbank, and Cornerstone Healthcare. Dondero is a philanthropist. He has supported initiatives in public policy, education, and healthcare.