Following his graduation from the University of Virginia in 1984, James Dondero established himself as a powerhouse in the funds and acquisition industries. In his first post-graduation job, following his completion of the financial training program at Morgan Guaranty Trust Company, he was managing roughly $1 billion in fixed income funds for American Express. As a junior professional, he worked at Protective Life’s GIC subsidiary. Serving as the Chief Investment Officer, he helped the company move from its concept to having a worth of over $2 billion. Although he is currently best known as the co-founder and President of Highland Capital Management, Mr. Dondero simultaneously contributes his time and expertise to numerous companies and projects. He serves as the President of NexPoint Capital and NexPoint Multifamily Realty Trust. Cornerstone Healthcare, CCS Medical, and NexBank all include Mr. Dondero as their Chairman. Additionally, he serves as a board member for MGM Studios and American Banknote. His philanthropic interests include initiatives in education, veteran’s affairs, and public policy. One initiative provided a $2 million dollar gift to the Endowed Tower Scholars Program Fund at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, a program allowing students in the public policy-making program to undergo an immersion experience through SMU’s John Goodwin Tower Center for Political Studies.
As a result of his extensive background and training, James Dondero on jamesdondero.com has become an expert in a variety of portfolio management areas, including mortgage-backed securities, investment grade corporations, leveraged bank loans, high-yield bonds, emerging market debt, derivatives, preferred stocks, and common stocks. Mr. Dondero has also become a Certified Public Accountant and a Certified Managerial Accountant and has been a Chartered Financial Analyst designation holder since 1987. Finally, James Dondero is credited with being one of the original pioneers of the Collateralized Loan Obligation. His exceptional understanding of each of these areas of expertise has directly contributed to his renowned status within the industry.
James Dondero now resides in a high-end suburb of Dallas, Texas, where his primary firm, Highland Capital Management, is located. Mr. Dondero is currently the Co-Founder, President, Managing Partner, and Portfolio Manager of Highland Capital Management, L.P. He co-founded Highland Capital Management in 1993 (then called Protective Asset Management Company or “PAMCO”), with his partner, Mark Okada. He now manages the private equity business and is also responsible for deciding and guaranteeing the execution of the firm’s strategic investment and operational initiatives.
Aside from his professional achievements, James Dondero has also received a variety of accolades as a result of his contributions to the fund management industry. These awards include Morningstar’s #1 ranked Healthcare Long/Short Equity Fund in 2014, Morningstar’s 5-star designation for Global Allocation in 2014, and the Lipper Award for Floating Rate Opportunities in 2014. With three decades of experience in credit markets and related industries, a bevy of highly rated companies under his control or influence, and no sign of stopping, James Dondero has truly embraced the title of hedge fund king.