Business Leaders

James Dondero Offers A Different Approach To Investing

James Dondero is a Texas-based investment banker who has made bold decisions that have resulted in substantial profits. Often finding value in entities that have been either overlooked or given up on by others. He once invested in a bankrupt energy company where Warren Buffett had lost money. Over the years James Dondero has invested in everything from countries, such as Argentina to American Airlines. As an early investor in collateralized loan obligations, James and the company he co-founded have grown into a $15 billion alternative-asset giant. Highland Capital Management, founded in 1993 and based in Dallas, Texas is an investment banking firm that is prone to invest in turnarounds and emerging trends. While he is not one to talk about himself, James feels his strength as an investor comes from his “puzzle solving” ability, being able to analyze these very complicated transactions.


Operating through its $894 million Highland Global Allocation fund Highland Capital offers mutual fund investors access to some of its best, James Dondero ideas, at relatively low prices. While the fund in very successful, showing a 29.6% gain over the past 12 months, it is not like other mutual funds. The average fund will have around 400 securities Highland Global has under 200. This type of fund can be volatile experiencing highs and lows. For example, the fund was an early investor in the energy industry in 2014, but because of poor performance in the industry, they were near the bottom in 2015. When this industry performed well again, they were back on top by the end of 2016. James Dondero does not believe in offering a me-too product that involves little risk and consequently little reward.


James Dondero is a native of Hoboken, N.J., and a graduate of the University of Virginia’s McIntire School of Commerce. James has two degrees, graduating with honors in both accounting and finance. He originally planned to pursue real estate investing, but the economy took him in a different direction, and within five years he was managing over $1 billion in fixed-income assets for American Express. His incredible 30 year career continues as the President of Highland Capital Management .