According to James Dondero, his investing success lies in thinking through debt deals, trends, and turnarounds. Jim’s bio highlights his imposing picture. He pioneered the collateralized loan obligations market. Dondero has had success in growing Highland Capital Management into a leading alternative asset manager having an asset base of $15 billion. Over the years, he has made several bond calls, including American Airlines to Argentina. James found value in a Texas energy company that went bankrupt after renowned investor Warren Buffet lost money.
Thus far, Jim defies the label of a Texas-based powerful person. According to the Myers-Briggs tests, Dondero fits in the category of intuition, introversion, thinking, and perceiving. The portfolio manager is often reluctant to talk about himself. When pressed, he notes that as an investor, his main strength is puzzle-solving where he thinks through issues that are vital to Highland’s investment strategy.
Highland Capital Management provides mutual fund investors with relatively inexpensive and liquid access to a number of its investment ideas. These ideas are curated by Dondero through the $894 million Highland Global Allocation fund. In the last 12 months, the fund has been up by 29.6 percent and is highly ranked by Morningstar in its world allocation category. However, it has little resemblance to similar funds in the industry. It holds just under 200 compared to the average global allocation fund that holds about 400 securities. In 2014, the fund was ranked highly. However, its entry into the energy sector pulled it to the bottom in 2015 before rebounding to occupy the leading position in 2016. These swings serve as an indication that volatility is unavoidable in the territory.
About James Dondero
James Dondero is the co-founder and president of top global alternative asset manager, Highland Capital Management. He was born in Hoboken, N.J. Jim is a graduate of the University of Virginia where he studied accounting and finance. His initial interest was to pursue a career in the real estate industry, but ended up joining the credit industry. Five years after graduating, Dondero was managing a fund of $1 billion for the American Express.
Previously, Jim worked for GIC and the Morgan Guaranty Training Program. Jim is a certified management accountant and certified public accountant. He serves on the boards of MGM Studios and American Banknote.