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Highland Capital Management’s CEO Jim Dondero Gives Dallas Non-Profit’s More Than Money

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The James Dondero story is one of those stories that sounds too good to be true. After receiving accounting and finance degrees from the University of Virginia, Jim Dondero decided to go to work for JP Morgan. Jim got four years of investment experience at JP Morgan, but American Express came calling and he accepted the call. Jim managed fixed income funds while he learned how to navigate the unchartered investment territory of alternative credit strategies at American express. Dondero made a name for himself at American Express, so Protective Life’s GIC subsidiary named him CIO in 1989. By 1993, he was ready to jump in the investment world on his own, so Jim and fellow investment banker Mark Okada started Highland Capital Management. In 1994, Jim moved his new company’s headquarters to Dallas from Los Angeles.

Dallas is one of those innovative American cities that attract big companies and big spenders. Twenty-two fortune 500 companies call Dallas home. Most Texans say the Dallas-Fort Worth area is not just business mecca; it’s a fun-loving metropolis that can’t get enough football or Tex-Mex food. The two-city metropolis has a population of 7.2 million, and several attractions bring tourist to the city from all over the world. The Dallas Zoo and the Dallas Symphony as well as the Museum of Art, and the Perot Museum of Nature and Science have one thing in common. Jim plays a role in keeping those non-profits alive with money, friendship, and his business knowledge.

Today, Highland Capital Management is one of the largest investment firms in the United States in terms of assets under management. The company has more than $17 billion in assets under management. The firm has offices in New York, Singapore, Seoul, and Sao Paulo so Highland Capital’s investment specialists can stay on top of emerging markets. Jim focuses on asset management, and Okada is the company’s CFO.

But Jim is more than an asset manager. He is a philanthropist who makes sure the non-profits in the Dallas area do what they do without worrying about the next donation. And the thing that makes Jim so special is, he physically helps the University of Texas Center for BrainHealth, and Southern Methodist University’s Bush Center function in a way that makes every Dallasite proud. Highland Capital funds keep the Dallas Zoo alive, and the funds Highland Capital earmarks for non-profits like the Family Place, a haven for domestic violence abuse shows the compassion exists with the Highland Capital organization. The Dallas Symphony, the Perot Museum of Nature and Science and The Dallas Museum of Art also receive financial help from the Highland Capital Foundation.

Highland Capital’s recent $10 million endowment to the Bush Center is one of the highlights of Jim’s philanthropic career. That endowment enabled the Bush Center to start the free Engage Series lectures. The first lecture in that series gave Dallas something other big cities didn’t have in terms of social and political awareness. Chief Justice Antonin Scalia’s son, Christopher Scalia, came to the Bush Center to talk about his father’s amazing Supreme Court career.

The Highland Dallas Foundation keeps Jim and his Highland capital team busy. That foundation works with the CEO of the Dallas Foundation, Mary Jalonick. Highland Capital Management Foundation grants help people who need more than money to get back into the thriving Dallas society. The Highland Capital Foundation gives the Dallas community social support as well as financial support.

Highland Capital has a reputation for being a social leader in Dallas. But Jim doesn’t take credit for all the great work his organization does for Dallas. Jim says his company is part of a community effort to keep Dallas ahead of the curve when it comes to social initiatives and charitable donations.


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Jacob Gottlieb’s Planned Comeback To The Investment World After Liquidating Visium

The last two decades have seen Jacob Gottlieb shape himself into a brand in the alternative investment industry, only to have it torn down by controversy. During this time he started the all-successful Visium Asset Management Company and grew it into a $8 billion hedge fund in less than a decade. But the Securities Exchange Commission would soon tear down this empire after charging some of Gottlieb’s portfolio managers with different financial frauds including insider trading and mismarking.

Gottlieb cleared

Started in 2005, Visium peaked when it showed great potent for growth when it managed to accumulate more than $8 billion in managed assets by the turn of its first ten years of operation. The company operated numerous investment vehicles with a key emphasis being a flagship healthcare fund that Gottlieb started in 2001. The fund had become of the best performing investment vehicles within the company and also the center of the controversy that saw the firm deregistered and forced to liquidate customer assets in 2016.

The future of the firm turned foggy in early 2016 when federal prosecutors charged top Visium Portfolio managers for trading on confidential government reports. They were charged with insider trading and inflating the paper value of bonds and fixed assets held by the firm. SEC would close in on the case by deregistering the firm and forcing it to wind down the same year, a process that took Jacob Gottlieb close to two years. He was, however, never accused of any wrong doing in these cases.

Long break and Altium capital

Gottlieb has for the past two years been liquidating Visium’s assets and holdings and refunding investor funds. And while most individuals may misrepresent this as a long break from the industry, the medical doctor by profession begs to differ.

He claims that the complex and long winding down process was never a break from the trade since he was essentially liquidating active assets within the same industry. Expressing his undying interest in investment, and hinting to a possible comeback, the experienced investor added that he started trading in his teenage years and hopes to carry on with it for the rest of his life.

To further approve his presence in the investment circles, the 46-year-old set up Altium Capital, a family office charged with a primary responsibility of managing his personal wealth. The firm that currently employs six traders mimics Visium’s healthcare fund model by investing and betting on stocks relating to the healthcare industry.

Plotting a comeback

Now that he is done with liquidating Visium, Jacob feels ready to get back into the investment world. He has even hinted out at organizing a round of investor funding though the details about the date, how much he hopes to raise or the investment outfit he hopes to use for these investments remain scanty. It would be interesting to see whether he expounds on his Altium pet project or launches a new investment firm altogether.

In either case, such an investment company would invest heavily within the healthcare industry that Jacob Gottlieb believes is ripe for trade. He notes that the last five years have seen a massive significant number of these industry players go public and bets any experienced investor can make a fortune from the value creation and value destruction being experienced in the sector.

Bottom line

The series of prosecutions against Gottlieb’s top portfolio managers may have laid his Visium hedge fund to waste and shaken him financially, but they haven’t killed his resolve. Right from liquidating one company and the finance and healthcare titan is already organizing a round of investment after picking himself up with his family based Altium Capital.


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Start-Up Accounting Tips for the Young Entrepreneur

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Startup accounting for young entrepreneurs is not just about learning the back-office basics. Accounting practice is a necessary chore of startup companies as it helps you manage your business operations, track costs, revenues, and expenses. Young business founders often ignore bookkeeping and accounting, but when they are ready to file tax returns, they realize that they don’t have enough knowledge about what their accountants are asking or telling them.

If you are not an expert in money management or accounting for your startup, take a look at these startup accounting tips for young entrepreneurs.

Keep your personal and business accounts separate

Never mix your personal and business expenses. Without separate accounts for your business and yourself, you will never be able to know how your business is performing. Bookkeeping helps you know if your business is profitable or not and how much profit you’re making. Accounting can help you make better decisions and at the end of the day, you will not be wasting time calculating business expenses and personal expenses in the same account.

Let smart technology handle your business accounting

Accounting is not only about looking at the business progress, but the data you compile should also make sense. Your company’s financial statements should help you in making the right decisions and as a new business owner, you can’t rely on a single person. Technology can be your best friend and solutions like Quickbooks 2019 for desktop can help you manage all your accounting and bookkeeping needs from one place. The cloud-based software allows you to stay connected from anywhere, so you can access the data whenever you need.

Maintain data about your vendors and customers

Maybe you’re too busy and don’t get the time to maintain a record of your purchases, payments, and products in your inventory. If you want to grow, you should start maintaining data about your customers, vendors and the products you have purchased or sold. No matter how small or big the transactions are, keep a record of things so that you can always have some data to see how your business is performing and how money is being used inside and outside of your business.

Reassess your accounting methods

Check your accounting methods from time to time and observe how things are going. Most business owners when they start accounting for their company, choose spreadsheets and papers to note down everything. If you prefer writing over digital solutions, you can continue with that but make sure that when your business grows, you must shift your focus from papers to a smart software solution. On papers or spreadsheets, you can calculate things, but you will more likely see a smaller picture of your company’s financial stability. A smart accounting software can help you save time and generate the reports you want with more accuracy.

Stay optimistic but don’t wait for the storm

Accounting for your startup also means smart money management. You never know what can happen in the next couple of days. You never know how long it can take to find new clients after starting your business. The best thing is preparing yourself for the best and the worst possible situation. Your business accounting process should include scope for reserves - both business and personal. Make sure that you are building an emergency fund because worst things happen when you least expect them.

Know the tax procedure

Even if taxation is not your area of expertise, learning the basics won’t hurt. If you’re doing accounting manually without taking help of a software or a professional, chances are you'll make it hard to sort out what to pay taxes for and what’s not deductible. For tax deduction, you have to provide correct information and it can come only from the right documentation. If you don’t have a clear idea of how much money is being spent in business and how much money you’re taking for your personal use, you may put your business at risk. There are specific regulations about selling products to customers inside and outside of the city, state, and country. Without proper knowledge, you may invite legal trouble for your business.

Focusing on your business growth, marketing, and products is important, but you should not forget that you need data to make decisions. Accounting helps you build a strong foundation for your business. The more efforts you’re putting into making your business accounting strong, the more your business can grow without any trouble.

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How to Become a Better Educator

When someone decides to become an educator, they are deciding to make the world a better and more interesting place. Now that you possess the basic qualifications and you are in the classroom, you are taking on the responsibility for the success of every single one of your students. To help them succeed, you must always be looking for ways to improve your teaching abilities so that you can give your students the best tutoring possible. In this guide, you will learn of some of the simple strategies you can implement to achieve this goal of being a stand out educator. When students graduate, they will remember, and be thankful for, the exceptional lecturers who steered them through their qualifications. By implementing the suggestions below, you will become one of these inspirational people.

Hone your skills

Now that you are in the classroom, you will already have the basic qualifications that mean you are fit to be a teacher, but this is not enough if you want to be providing outstanding tutoring. A great way to help both yourself and those that you teach is to take on additional learning yourself and earn extra teaching certificates. For example, one qualification that will make a real difference in your classroom is a Technology Skills for Educators Certificate. More and more in these modern times, technology is weaving its way into every facet of young people’s lives, so being able to integrate these innovations into the way you teach, communicate with students, and give feedback, will drastically improve the results you get from them over time.

Keep them interested

The teacher’s people will remember from their youth are always the ones who were able to grab their attention, no matter if the subject was their best or their least favorite. By following some tips on how to captivate your students, they will be able to get higher grades and enjoy learning. Engaging students is much like trying to engage a target audience during a performance. You need to be telling a story that guides them through the curriculum. A good idea is to research additional facts about the lesson you are going to give that allows students to build a picture in their mind that is more fleshed out. Let’s say you are teaching a scientific principle, alongside the mechanics of how that principle works, add in who discovered it, how long it took the scientific community to accept it, and what the social reaction was.

The bigger picture

A final way to become a better educator is to make sure you know how visual aids can help students learn at any age. Students who are taught with the assistance of images, posters, and diagrams, have been found to have a much higher likelihood of retaining information in their long-term memories and gain a deeper understanding of the subject.

As an educator, the improvement you make in your craft will have a direct correlation to the success of your students.


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Technologies That Every Entrepreneur Should Know About

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Whether you’re considering the launch of a new business or have been established for a while, there are some key technologies that your business should be utilizing. Every entrepreneur is no doubt already aware of how the best in tech can create improvements to every area of a business, but knowing and doing are often very different things. If you want your entrepreneurial ambitions to skyrocket, then it may be time to assess the best technologies that you should be using to give your business strategy a much-needed boost. As the focus for businesses continues to be consumer-driven, these technologies can help you provide a more efficient and more professional service.

3D Printing

As an emerging technology, 3D Printing is something that has yet to be fully utilized by most entrepreneurs. The possibilities for those in creative or manufacturing industries are almost unlimited, and 3D printing looks set to become a major disruptor of those sectors in the near future. However, no matter your industry, 3D Printing may be of enormous benefit, especially when it comes to medicine and construction, but even marketing may be able to integrate 3D Printing into its management functionality. When consumers are able to browse products online, 3D printing offers swifter access to a physical copy of a product, and entrepreneurs who explore this technology fully will be ahead of the game and one step in front of the competition.

Software evolution

It’s a mistake to consider that the latest software will fall naturally into your lap, yet this is often the mindset of even the most forward-thinking entrepreneur. The fact is that software updates or new software packages can be all too easily dismissed as simply a necessity for smoother efficiency. This is to miss the emerging software packages that can be transformative to your output and consumer engagement. For manufacturers creating their own hard copy circuit boards, low cost PCB design software can quickly become the most important facet of your production process and is a good example of how the right software can turn your entrepreneurial venture into something much more professional. Always look to your sector and keep aware of the latest available software solutions.

The worlds of Virtual Reality

If you think that Virtual Reality (VR) is a technology of the future, then you're not watching the present. Businesses of every kind are looking at VR and finding new ways to integrate its potential into their business. From virtual tours of property to product visualization, and even as a training tool, VR is fast becoming the most talked about cutting-edge technology that your business needs. Look for innovative ways to make use of VR, and you will be ahead of the business curve. VR is a technology that has yet to be perfected, but as it continues to develop you should expect to see more and more examples of it starting to appear in the business world. Don’t get left behind, and look for ways to make use of this game-changing technology.

Perhaps the key thing to remember about making use of new technology is that you should never adopt its use for the sake of it. While it's great to have new toys to play with, the fact is that if the end goal is not a better consumer experience, then you're wasting time and energy. Always look at new technology and how it can benefit your customers, and your business will go stronger as a result.


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