James Dondero is the CEO of Highland Capital Management, and he was recently appointed to the board of directors of NexPoint Advisory Group. The Dallas-based Highland Capital is a global financial service on nexpointadvisors.com that specializes in alternative lending options. The company strives to find the best financial options for all of its clients. “We are not a cookie cutter operation,” says Dondero. We tailor plans to meet the specific needs of the client,” says Dondero. When he and his business partner, Mark Okida, started the business in 1990, they were looking do accomplish things no one else has in the industry. In fact, Highland Capital became the first such institution to offer the Collateralize Loan Obligation (CLO). A number of corporations have attempted to duplicate the company’s success with little luck.
Dondero attributes his over 30 years of banking and insurance experience for his approach to investing. Jim Dondero graduated with an economics degree at the University of Virginia, which has also served him well. Dondero says he will never ask a client to do something he wouldn’t do. Whatever advice he gives his clients, he will follow himself. Many of Dondero’s investment strategies may seem a bit unorthodox, but as he explains it, that’s the beauty of it. “I’m not afraid of trying things that other investors won’t,” says Dondero.
Dondero had the funding business down pat after college. He cut his teeth as a few investment houses and Morgan Guaranty. By the early 90s, he was ready to strike out on his own. He felt he could offer services just as good as any other investment or hedge fund company. He proved that and then some. Not only is he considered a pioneer, but one of the foremost authorities in the industry. He hand-picked some of the best financial minds in the U.S. and built a powerful team of professionals. He says he’s always on the lookout to create bigger and better products for his clients. “Money in the bank for them means money in the bank for us.”
Now that Dondero has built his multi-billion dollar corporation, he is concentrating on other things. His is big on philanthropy and often gives to a number of Dallas-area charitable organizations. Dondero says it is his mission in life to help others less fortunate. He has give to a number of homeless shelters and area charter schools. Dondero also mentors students and anyone interested in a career in business or finance. He stresses the importance of a good education and cautions individuals to never give up on their dreams. Dondero also sits of the board of the Dallas-are Girls and Boys Club, as well as The Chamber of Commerce and Morgan Guaranty Bank.