James Dondero is a financial executive and investor with more than three decades of experience. Dondero attended the University of Virginia where he majored in Accounting and Finance. Dondero is a chartered financial analyst (CFA) and a certified management accountant (CMA). Dondero started his career as an analyst at JP Morgan before becoming a corporate bond analyst at American Express. He was later promoted to portfolio manager before becoming the chief investment officer of Protective Life. He is credited with growing the firm’s assets to $2 Billion in four years. He is the Chairman of Nexbank, CCS Medical, and Cornerstone Healthcare.
Dondero is the co-founder and CEO of Highland Capital Management. Dondero was featured in Barron’s magazine cover story last month. Dondero said that his biggest strength as an investor has been his ability to solve puzzles. Highland offers mutual fund investors access to its investment ideas that are curated by Dondero. The Highland Global Allocation Fund is worth $900 million dollars today. The fund has increased to 30% over the past year. It is listed in Morningstar’s world allocation category. The fund invests in a single company or several firms in the same sector that have produced large performance swings.
James Dondero and his team decided to venture into Argentina in 2012. They foresaw a massive recovery of the country’s economy. They did a lot of research and visited the country many times over the course of two years. The firm made a sizeable investment in Argentina’s debt in 2014. The move paid off for them in late 2015 when the country elected a new president. The firm decided to invest in MLPs in 2015 after the oil prices plunged. The fund invested close to 15% of its assets in several MLP companies. It worked out very well for them. MLPs averaged 18% return last year. Highland was able to double some of its positions.
Highland has a donor-advised fund that directs more than $3 million towards charitable organizations each year. One of the initiatives that the fund has supported heavily is the Reasoning Mind. It brings technology to children in remote areas.