James Dondero is the Co- founder and CEO of Highland Capital Management. Highland Capital Management is an investment company that focuses on alternative investments. They are also the largest manager of collateralized loan obligations in the United States. Under the leadership of Dondero, Highland Capital Management has managed to grow into one of the world leaders in investment management. When it was founded in 1993, Highland Capital Management focused on loan market. Today, it has evolved to become a diverse investment platform that serves investors on a retail basis and as institutions.
His secret to growing this company is in the relationships he forges with clients. He insists that company stuff focus on helping their clients achieve their goal, which is making profit, more than anything else. His argument is, when his clients make money and are happy, the company smiles all the way to the bank. As a result, Highland Capital Management cares and stands by its clients regardless the circumstances.
When one of their clients, The Lake Las Vegas resort, suffered loss because of fraudulent activities by Credit Suisse they took the matter to court. After a long legal battle, the jury concluded that Credit Suisse had enticed investors to back a loan the amounted to 540 million dollars. The loan was meant to go into the building of Lake Las Vegas resort on an artificial Nevada lake. However, shortly after investors put in their money, the Lake Las Vegas resort project declared bankruptcy. This resulted in many investors losing money.
This year, the court ruled in favor of Highland Capital Management and upheld the 350 million dollars award. According to James Dondero, this is a big step towards helping their investors get their money back. He said that though Credit Suisse plan to take the matter to the Texas Supreme Court to appeal the verdict, the fact that the court recognized that Credit Suisse acted fraudulently and breached the contract works in their favor. The award upheld by the court will accrue an interest of 9% per annum should Credit Suisse follow through with their appeal. For now, the money will be held.
Other than inspiring dedication to company clients, James Dondero inspires his colleagues to carry out their tasks in excellence. Since the company deals mainly in asset investment and collateralized loans, company stuff has to do lots of research to give their clients the right advice. This calls for excellence when researching on behalf of a client. To make sure he stays updated with the developments of the financial market, he takes time to read and interact with like-minded people. This has enabled him to keep the company growing and has resulted in many of colleagues looking up to him as a mentor. He is willing to pour wisdom he has acquired during his career in the lives of those around him.
As a result of his experience of over 30 years in credit markets, he also is the Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer at HCM Acquisition Company.