Highland Capital Management has become a household name among global investors. The Dallas-based firm has made a name for itself over the many years it has successfully served its clients. The last two decades have seen the firm evolve to be counted among the largest and most experienced alternative credit managers across the globe.
The long journey started back in 1990 when the founders, James Dondero and Mark Okada, came together to form a joint venture with another large firm, Protective Life Insurance Company. The joint venture had its focus on fixed income markets. This included the management of senior secured bank loans. In 1993, the venture underwent an evolution to see the formation of Protective Asset Management Company (PAMCO). Protective Life held a 60% stake while the founding partners held a 40% stake in the SEC-registered investment advisor.
In 1997, as the firm began to make huge strides in the industry, Jim and Mark went ahead to acquire the stake held by Protective Life in PAMCO. They also established Ranger Asset Management as an independent SEC-registered investment advisor. The following year, Highland Capital Management was born after Ranger Asset Management changed its name.
Highland Capital Management in 2000 launched its first commingled bank loan fund. It later established an alternative investment 40 Act platform in the same year. In 2004, the firm expanded its product lines by diving into the mutual fund business. This was after the acquisition from Columbia Asset Management of two floating rate funds. The firm went on to set up office in Singapore in 2008 and later Seoul in 2011.
The man in charge of steering the firm through this successful path is its co-founder and President, James Dondero. James has worked in the credit and private equity markets for over three decades and has a track record of success to match. James bears the responsibility of determining and ensuring that the strategic investment and operational initiatives of Highland Capital Management are well executed.
Jim left the University of Virginia in 1984 and joined the Morgan Guaranty Trust training program as an analyst. In 1985, he joined American Express where he was responsible for managing fixed income funds. In 1989, he moved on to join the GIC Subsidiary of Protective Life as the Chief Investment Officer. He left the firm in 1993 following the formation of Highland Capital Management.
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