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Alternative Market Briefing

Bank debt pioneer Mark Okada, of Highland Capital Management, sees significant opportunities in 2013

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

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Mark Okada
Bailey McCann, Opalesque New York:

In 1993, few players were in the bank debt space. Bank loans were largely traded between banks, at a low volume, and for the whole loan from start to finish. Now, as bank debt has grown as an investment to over $1tn dollars, Mark Okada, one of the pioneers of bank debt as an alternative asset class, talks about how he grew his firm, Highland Capital Management to approximately $19bn by focusing on the space early.

"We had this vision to turn the bank loan space into a true fixed income alternative asset class. So that’s kind of how we started the firm, as far as having a shingle, something that was unique, was the focus on bank debt," he says in a recent interview with Opalesque TV.

When Okada and his partner, James Dondero, started the firm, they were merely working with a parent company for their salaries. Now, the Dallas-based company employs 140 people and maintains offices in Brazil, Korea, London, New York, and Singapore. Okada owes this growth to maintaining alignment of interest with the investors, and staying focused on what the team is best at.

"We don’t do anything just because we are getting fees, or that’s where money is flowing, or that’s a hot idea, the only thing that we do as a firm is where we like the arbitrage and we think we can add value with our platform and our arbitrage. We may see arbitrage th......................

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