Highland Capital Management, L.P. was founded in 1990 by James Dondero and Mark Okada. The company was started in a partnership with Protective Life Insurance Corporation as a financial firm that specialized in fixed income and senior secured bank loans. It was in 1993 that it became Protective Asset Management Company and was owned 60% by Protective Life and 40% by Dondero and Okada. In 1997 Dondero and Okada bought out Protective Life’s ownership stake and eventually named the company Highland Capital Management.
One of the financial products that Highland Capital originated was collateralized loan obligations (CLO) which are a type of securitization where many business loans are packaged together and sold as an investment. Since developing this market in 1996 Highland Capital now has over $32 billion in CLO asset value under management which makes it the largest manager of them in the world.
It was in 2000 that Highland Capital Management began offering alternative investments to retail investors. These alternative investments include assets such as Master Limited Partnerships, Long/Short Equity Funds, distressed properties, and funds that invest in floating rates. Today the company offers a wide range of funds to both institutional and retail investors which includes pension plans, high net-worth individuals, corporations, endowments, and government entities.
Highland Capital is led by four executives. James Dondero serves as the President of the company while Mark Okada is the Chief Investment Officer. The two other senior leaders are Brad Ross, who is the President of the company’s subsidiary Highland Capital Management Fund Advisors, L.P., and Michael Gregory who is the Head of Highland Alternative Investors and Head of Healthcare Credit and Equity.
Highland Capital Management has a long history of being involved in the local community of Dallas, Texas, where the company is headquartered. In order to expand and better organize how they fund causes, the company brought in Linda Owen to manage charitable giving in 2016. Owen has a long history of serving in the nonprofit field including President of The Woodall Rodgers Park Foundation. The company currently contributes more than $3 million a year to support various causes.