James Dondero is not the stereotypical investor, at least when it comes to the Myers-Briggs personality test. However, his biography reveals a different personality, one who turned his early successes in collateralized loan obligations into an investment giant, Highland Capital Management.
Based in Dallas, Highland is a $15 billion powerhouse specializing in alernative investments. The success stories of Dondero and his firm include investments in American Airlines and a Texas energy company that faltered despite involvement by billionaire Warren Buffet. Employing ideas promoted by Dondero, Highland provides access by mutual fund investors to opportunities, which are known for their relatively low costs, through his Highland Global Allocation plan. Valued at $894 million, Highland contains fewer than 200 securities, or only about half the number found in most funds, but allows as much as 40 percent of the assets to be concentrated into individual firms or groups of companies.
Dondero attributes his success to the fact that he is a “puzzle solving” manager, or a person who carefully considers complex debt arrangements and emerging trends. However, the 54-year-old investor is otherwise hesitant to say much about himself and could easily fall into the category of an introvert.
Majoring in both accounting and finance, James Dondero graduated from the University of Virginia and is authorized to practice as a certified public accountant, a certified management accountant and a chartered financial analyst. He helped establish Highland Capital Management in 1993 and also serves as the chairman of NexBank, Cornerstone Healthcare and the CCS Medical store.
A resident of Dallas, Dondero is committed to promoting educational opportunities in the region, having provided financial assistance to both learning programs and such establishments as the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Institute, the Perot Museum of Natural Science and Dallas Zoo. In addition to his business activities, Dondero serves as a board member of MGM Studios and American Banknote, the worldwide engraver of currency and postage stamps.
Jeffry Schneider, CEO and founder of Ascendant Capital, LLC., is a man who lives his life with purpose and dedication. Early in life, after receiving his Bachelor’s degree in science from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, he decided to begin working in the financial services industry. His list of work experience includes time spent at Merrill Lynch, Alex Brown, and Smith Barney, and all of these places helped him to gain a deep understanding of the alternative investments field. After these, he spent time with both Axiom Capital Management and Paradigm Global Advisors as a part of their management teams. During this time he built solid relationships with hedge fund managers to make sure they were the right match for the numerous clients at these firms. He also advised alternative investment managers on the best way to put together their investment vehicles.
With over 24 years of experience in the financial services industry, to date, Jeffry Schneider now runs Ascendant Capital successfully. His carefully picked team of over thirty employees all feel like they are part of a family. The culture at Ascendant is a stand out, because Jeffry openly promotes a work atmosphere based upon trust, honesty, transparency, and encouragement. Many believe this is a huge part of the reason why the company has raised over $1 billion. In fact, Jeffry and team plan on raising the bar and earning close to $50 million a month over the next year.
Outside of his success at Ascendant, Jeffry Schneider is a philanthropist with a deep care for people. He supports a wide variety of charities and among these are Wonders and Worries, Gods Love We Deliver, the Gazelle Foundation, Cherokee Home for Children, and Camp Honey Creek’s Summer Dream Program. Many of these charitable organizations help children who are either suffering through abuse or neglect or who have parents who are facing difficulties and need assistance. Jeffry firmly believes that children shouldn’t have to face these kinds of difficulties alone, and because of him man kids have received education, shelter, counseling, food, and other resources during some of the most difficult times in their lives.