James Dondero Discusses How You Can Win Big With Alternative Investments

James Dondero specializes in a special variety of investments and is one of the nation’s top portfolio managers at Highland Capital. Recently his expertise in alternative investments was discussed in the notable Barron’s newspaper and they had several key things to say about him. Some of Dondero’s major alternative investments that yielded returns include buying up the shares in an energy company that had previously gone bankrupt and turning its operations around. He also started investing in the sovereign debt of Argentina when they saw the chance for things to start to get under control and in doing so saw his asset values increase. Dondero has invested in many master limited partnerships that have offset stagnant oil prices in recent years.


James Dondero went into the hedge fund industry after several years of working with big banks. He had originally looked into becoming a real estate broker back in the late 1970s when he graduated from the University of Virginia, but he didn’t find an opening there so he went into the Morgan Guaranty training program for credit analysts. He first joined American Express bank where he served as an advisor and fixed-income fund manager. In 1993 he and his friend Mark Okada came to Protective Life Insurance and were placed in charge of the GIC subsidiary. They turned this subsidiary into a profitable company that soon became its own firm.


The firm that Dondero and Okada started soon became known as Highland Capital, and in the later years they partnered with NexPoint and Acis Capital Management to bring their full fledged services. Dondero serves on multiple boards including NexPoint Advisors and Nexbank, and is also on the boards of Cornerstone Health and MGM. Dondero has started a wide range of private equity and special situations investments, but he’s been mostly known for his collateralized loan obligation (CLO) funds.

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