Riding the Fintech wave: An interview with Atik Ahmed, Head of Legal at TradeIX

Riding the Fintech wave: An interview with Atik Ahmed, Head of Legal at TradeIX

Sophie Gould, In-house network relationship manager at LexisNexis spoke to current Advisory Board Member of the LexisNexis and Radius Law Flying Solo Forum, Atik Ahmed about the challenges and opportunities of working in the Fintech sector and what he values most about being a Board Member on this unique peer forum for sole counsel and those working in small in-house legal departments.

 Hi Atik, Tell us a bit about yourself?

I'm the Head of Legal at TradeIX.

We operate one of the world’s first blockchain-enabled trade finance platforms. The best way to describe our organisation is as a ‘Network of Networks’ for global trade finance. It aims to provide a connected and secure platform infrastructure for banks, asset managers, B2B networks and value-added service providers.

 I’m responsible for the day-to-day management of the TradeIX Legal Team. In my role, I also oversee the delivery of all legal services to the company, development of legal strategy, legal budgets, driving legal operational improvements and the focused delivery of high-value, strategic, complex contracts for the business.

 Alongside a real passion for working in-house, I’m a Council Member for the London Football Association (LFA), a School Governor for Harris Academy Morden & Merton, I also enjoy CrossFit and spending quality time with my 1-year old daughter.

 What are the biggest opportunities in your role?

The growth of TradeIX, and more widely the FinTech sector itself.

 When I first joined TradeIX, it had just been through a seed round funding, and I was the 11th person in the company. We're now 100+ people globally across four different office locations, with a product that has gained fantastic traction in the trade finance market.

 The opportunity to grow an in-house legal team from a near blank canvas has been an enjoyable, if not at times challenging, journey. As TradeIX grows from strength to strength, there are great opportunities within the legal team to work on global business projects and high-value strategic contracts that support the ongoing commercial success of the company.

 Impressive. Such rapid growth surely opened a few challenges. What is the key challenge you’ve face so far?

The key challenge is in constantly shifting legal mindsets to new demands of the business as it scales up, meaning new commercial opportunities, new markets, and iterative blockchain technology mean we never really stand still.

 What are the key areas of change in your industry?

Within the area of blockchain / DLT specifically, the biggest change has been the number of platforms (including our own) that have moved swiftly from POCs, use cases and now into production uses of blockchain-enabled technology. Within trade finance specifically, these blockchain / DLT solutions will help to bring arcane and outdated processes into a newly decentralised age.

 You’re an Advisory board member for Flying Solo, tell us a bit about the forum?

Flying Solo is a free-to-join forum that brings together in-house lawyers working solo or in smaller teams to network and share best practice learnings. The forum provides lawyers with an opportunity to connect, swap stories, debate topical issues and share ideas.

 What do you most enjoy about being a part of Flying Solo?

The opportunity to network and share learnings with like-minded peers in different industries and sectors. It reminds me of how vast the in-house legal world is.

 Why would you recommend others join Flying Solo?

For sole and small team counsel, it really does help to have networks, contacts and in-house lawyers to be able to reach out to, especially when it comes to challenges, issues or even just discussing where 'Legal' fits within a business. And the events are great!

 Atik Ahmed, Head of Legal at TradeIX

Atik is the Head of Legal at TradeIX, the world's first open platform for trade finance, powered by blockchain / distributed ledger technology. TradeIX is a high-growth FinTech company and has won numerous awards for supply chain finance innovation.

Atik seeks to brings a fresh approach and an innovative mindset to the challenges of modern in-house law and is a proponent of the new tech sectors, primarily FinTech, InsurTech, LawTech and new digital technologies, including blockchain / DLT, AI and AR.

He is currently an Advisory Board Member of the LexisNexis Flying Solo Forum, which is a Networking Forum for in-house lawyers working in small teams or as sole counsel.

Find our more about Flying Solo and register for our upcoming events - including our COVID-19 Interactive Discussion Forums for senior counsel

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About the author:

Louisa leads marketing for the in-house legal community at LexisNexis. She joined the dedicated in-house team at LexisNexis four years ago and has a passion for driving and facilitating initiatives which are customer-focused at their heart. Her vision is to support in-house counsel succeed in their fast-evolving role based on deep insight, data analysis and best practice gathered across the in-house community.

Prior to her in-house focused role, Louisa led the marketing for the bar and mid-market private practice sectors as well as product marketing lead for LexisPSL - LexisNexis' cloud based, practical guidance and legal research software solution.

She brings 20 years' marketing experience both client and agency side, specialising in B2B marketing in the Legal, TMT (Telco, Media and Technology) and Financial Services industries. In both South Africa, Europe and the UK.

Louisa is also an active member on the LexisNexis Gender Equality Matters (GEM) steering committee and is involved with the Families at LexisNexis Group which brings together, supports and lobbies for change those with an interest in balancing the challenges of work and family.