James Dondero is the president of Highland Capital Management, a hedge fund that he’s run now for decades, having started it in 1993. Even when he began, though, he was no stranger to working with incredible amounts of capital. James Dondero worked for American Express in the previous decade, through a portion of the 1980s. While there, he was in charge of around $1 billion. That’s impressive now, but it was even more impressive in the 1980s, thanks to inflation. It truly was a huge sum, and it got him ready for his future career, when he eventually decided to start his own hedge fund.
So, how much wealth does he control today? As of right now, his portfolio is valued at $4,912,889,000. The hedge fund as a whole works with even more money, which is reported to be right around $20 billion. This naturally changes from year to year, along with the market, but his assets have been roughly in this range for some time now. Plus, the storm of the recession seems to be in the past, meaning that his net worth has only been climbing – as an overall trend, of course; ever investor has small dips – since the recession ended.
There is a lot to be said for longevity in the investment industry. This is an industry that can clean investors out quickly if they’re not careful. Never was this truer than it was in 2008, when the recession came on with full force. The fact that James Dondero on crunchbase has been working in the industry since the 1980s and run his hedge fund since the 1990s says a lot about his ability to work his way through this complicated market with success. Investing was easier in the 90s, when everyone seemed to be doing much better, but it has become a real challenge in recent years, and he’s risen to the task.
A big part of the job, for investors like Dondero, is just having built-in protections. When the market turns, what can you do to make sure it does not take all of your money with it? When things are going well, it’s great to beat the market and earn more money than you could with less innovative tactics, but it’s almost better to protect what you have. This is not to say there shouldn’t be risk, as there has to be risk to beat the market, but a lot of time is put into figuring out how to reduce risk as much as possible.
Once again, Dondero is a shining example of how this can work. He was clearly heavily invested in 2008, as everyone was, and yet he made it through a recession that caused a lot of people to lose money.