Dallas has a long history in banking, and one of the more sterling examples of this is James Dondero. He co-founded Highland Capital Funds in I993, which is an international company that now manages $18 billion of assets. This the biggest share of collateralized loan obligations in the US, as judged by dollar amounts.
James Dondero was an old hand in the financial sector even before he co-founded Highland. He attended the University of Virginia and got a BS in Commerce, and then went through the financial training program at JP Morgan. He became a Certified Managerial Accountant and a Chartered Financial Analyst.
His real world experience is just as impressive. He managed $1 billion dollars in fixed income funds for American Express from 1985 to 1989, and then served as chief investment officer of Protective Life’s GIC subsidiary from 1989 to 1993. He co- founded the banking company Nexbank, and is currently its president. He serves as Chairman for Cornerstone Healthcare Group, CCS, and he recently joined the board of the Southern Methodist University Cox School of Business. All this is on top of being the Chief Executive Officer at HCM Acquisition Company.
If James Dondero sounds familiar in another context, it’s because he was in the news in June of 2016 for consulting with Dallas civic leader Linda Owen on how to increase how much his company gives to charity. He also just recently announced that his company would give a $1 million challenge grant to help The Family Place, which is a charity devoted to supporting victims of family violence. He said that the philanthropic arm of Highland Capital would match 50% of any funds up to $1 million that the charity’s campaign could raise, and this helped them finish their campaign on a high note on April 4 of this year. This is almost the exact same deal he reached in 2011 with the Perot Museum of Nature And Science expansion project and, in 2014, the Snowball Express, a charity that supports the children of fallen soldiers.
The Highland Capital Management may have offices in New York, Singapore and Seoul, but its founder has his heart in the home office of Dallas, and his work and philanthropy show it.