A Brief History of Highland Capital Management

Highland Capital Management is a SEC registered company that manages assets over $21 billion. It is one of the largest global alternative credit managers. The company specializes in a wide range of services including credit strategies, long-only funds, separate accounts, private equity and collateralized loan obligations. Highland Capital Management also provides alternative investments, such as long equities, short equities, emerging markets and natural resources. Its diversified client base include foundations, corporations, pension plans, endowments, financial institutions, governments and individual investors.

Highland Capital Management is headquartered in Dallas, Texas and has offices in various cities like Singapore, Sao Paulo, New York and Seoul. The past two decades have been a significant time for Highland Capital Management’s evolution. Its history began in 1990 with James Dondero of nexpointadvisers and Mark Okada as business partners. These two financial experts formed a joint venture along with Protective Life Insurance Corporation that specialized in fixed income markets, management of secured bank loans for seniors and much else. In 1993, the venture transformed itself into Protective Asset Management Company that was 60% owned by Protective Life and 40% by the founders. The new company was an investment adviser to individuals and corporations alike. James Dondero and Mark Okada purchased stake from Protective Life in 1997 and went on to establish Ranger Asset Management, L.P a SEC-registered independent advisory firm. Later, the same year, Ranger Asset Management, L.P. changed its name to Highland Capital Management, L.P. The 2000 year saw a major change in internal management structure of the company. James Dondero along with Mark Okada launched the company’s first commingled bank loan fund. Highland Capital Management also established alternative investment 40 Act platform.

James Dondero has more than 30 years of experience in the credit markets. He wears many hats in the company. Currently, he serves as the co-founder and President of Highland Capital Management. His combined work with co-founder Mark Okada in the credit sector was the foundation to bring new investment vehicles into the company, like CLO or Collateralized Loan Obligation. James Dondero started his career in many public and private sector credit markets. Before establishing Highland Capital Management, he worked for Protective Life’s GIC subsidiary where he raised and managed more than $2 billion in assets. He also worked for credit card company American Express from 1985 to 1989. There he managed around $1 billion in fixed income funds. James Dondero graduated from University of Virginia in Accounting and Finance. He is also a chartered financial analyst and certified management accountant. In addition to other positions like chairman of the board of directors for CCS Medical, NexBank and Cornerstone Healthcare, James Dondero also serves on the board of directors for MGM studios and American Banknote.

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