James Dondero: A Scion of Bold Investment

The unrivalled success that James Dondero has enjoyed over the years as an entrepreneur and investment banker is built on making bold decisions when it comes to investment. From cofounding Highland Capital Management in 1993 to investment in alternative markets, industries and economies where prominent individuals and companies have failed, James Dondero has built a reputation of swimming against the investment tide. His bold investment and top-heavy portfolio development began with the founding of Highland Capital Management. Together with the cofounder, Mark Okada, they made the bold step to relocate the business to Dallas, Texas. What began as a small business with less than 10 employees grew in stature: they bought out the parent company they partnered while increasing the company’s employee base to 165.


The synergic working of the company’s professionals including James Dondero has helped it vet thoroughly investment options. The company allocates significant amounts of its funds to new investment ideas. This has driven its success in various investment decisions including Argentina where it bought government bonds for 70 cents on the dollar in 2015. Within three years, political stability saw their value rise to 120 cents on the dollar in 2015. The company also successfully invested 15% of its funds in MLPs at a time when the oil industry was performing poorly. Within a year, their values rose up to 18.3%. This success was replicated in Texas where it invested in Vistra Energy at a time when it was steeped deep in debt. Vistra’s fortune had a turnaround and is currently planning to enlist its shares on the New York Stock Exchange.


Academic Certifications


James Dondero is an alumnus of University of Virginia where he graduated from its McIntire School of Commerce with a degree in accounting and finance. He graduated at het top of his class at the university. He is also a certified management accountant as well as a chartered financial analyst.


Professional Career


James Dondero’s three-decade long industry experience as a hedge fund manager and investor began at Morgan Guaranty as an analyst in 1984. He later joined American Express as a corporate bond analyst in 1985 before being promoted as the company’s portfolio manager. He later joined Protective Life as a chief investment officer. Other than his duties at Highland, he also serves as a lead manager at NextPoint Credit Strategies and Highland Small-Cap Equity.