From startup to global giant: Meet Lena Coxhill, Head of HR at TradeTech Group
Lena Coxhill has witnessed the growth of TradeTech Group from its original establishment, has led key divisions of the company in different global locations and been instrumental in its transformation into the global corporation as it stands today. Here is her story.
One of the most interesting dynamics that exists within an innovative, forward thinking technology-led business such as our FX and electronic trading industry is that it is entirely possible to begin a new career at a young age with an equally young company, and to watch and participate as the company flourishes at the same time as one’s professional development.
This has been the case for Lena Coxhill, whose expertise spans across several international business centres, and who is now a senior executive within one of the largest publicly listed multi-national enterprises in the entire electronic trading and fintech sector worldwide.
Lena began her career at a newly founded company, which has grown exponentially and has seen her career go from the very exciting but humble beginnings, to global domination as herself and the company have progressed.
Here’s how it all started
Lena Coxhill (Zubkov) was born in Semey, Khazakhstan to a Jewish Ukrainian family who moved to the central Asian part of the Soviet Union during the Holocaust, from Odessa which was one of the Black Sea region’s largest centres for Jewish life for centuries. Then under Soviet control, moving around the vast transcontinental land mass under one administration was entirely possible, and in some cases (including my own family’s – Ed) – a necessity for survival.
Lena initially attended school in Semey, and is fluent in the Russian language, however in the year 2000, at age 15 she, along with her family, made Aliya to Israel, Aliya being the Hebrew language terminology for exercising the Jewish right to return to the new State of Israel following its creation in 1948.
Growing up with the notoriously good quality Russian education at home, Lena, along with her Mum and other family, settled in Rishon LeZion, which is a highly populated suburban area immediately to the south of Tel Aviv, Israel’s commercial and technological mainstay.
Speaking to FinanceFeeds on the initial period in Israel, Lena said “It gave me a lot that I must be grateful for. I attended Gymnasia High School in Rishon LeZion, and then graduated from school to complete my full conscripted service into the IDF which is the Israeli Armed Forces.”
“This was a very good experience for me, because I had only been in Israel for three years by the time I was conscripted, and during the period of army service social networks developed as well as the chance of making lifelong friends” she said.
After completing her army service, Lena began her studies at university, which took place at the University of Derby’s Israeli facility, which is in Or Yehuda in the Central District of Israel.
“I graduated with master’s degree in Marketing Management and Bachelors in Tourism Management. Marketing is an innovative industry and is also very creative, and I can say the same about FinTech industry” enthused Lena
What began as a very small step, led to a hugely successful career with the same company as it grew from its small Israel-based origins, to becoming a global giant, with listing on the London Stock Exchange. Lena explained how her exciting journey began.
“During my last year at university, I started looking for a job, and at that time I had a part time job as ofice manager in Rishon LeZion, to help with studies. Once I completed my studies, I took a position at Trade FXL, which back then was a relatively small independent company based in the original offices in Ramat Gan, which at the time hosted the GoForex and GFC Markets brands, before eventually becoming the well-known Markets.com brand” she said.
From small and local, to large and international
Initially, I was an Onboarding Associate at TradeFXL, which was the name of the main operational centre which eventually became TradeTech Group, so I saw the origins of the company. I consider myself very fortunate to have been there from the beginning, as I developed my career along with the company. I started when the company was newly founded, so all the work and effort that I make can be seen in the development of the company and my own personal development. – Lena Zubkov, Head of HR, TradeTech Group
Very quickly, Lena’s career began to progress. “In about 8 months, I became Team Leader of Onboarding, and then the Head of Onboarding after a year at TradeFXL” she explained.
“Then the company moved from its original offices in HaHilazon Street in Ramat Gan to a brand new and totally different environment. The atmosphere was amazing and it was a great place to work and develop the initial part of my career, and sometimes I really miss it. The company was growing rapidly, and it was very energetic” said Lena.
“I have seen the entire history of the company from inception until now, and today it is a totally different enterprise environment, in that the structure of the company now has so many subsidiaries” she said.
“In 2012 we moved into the new office in Tel Aviv, which was a fantastic environment. I maintained my position as Head of Onboarding at TradeFXL at the new office for two years, then received an offer from the company to move to Sofia, Bulgaria at Bulgarian subsidiary ICCS where I became Head of Quality Control. My target there was to help establish two functions, one being fraud risk management, monitoring transactions, protecting and preventing fraudulent activity, which I developed and managed for a year, and also to establish another department which was called quality control” she said.
“The regulatory environment was evolving and becoming very strict, hence my position involved invoking new procedures and monitoring the activity of the subsidiaries in line with the regulatory environment” said Lena.
“I was very fortunate to have been given the remit to create this division from scratch, along with all the work procedures, workflows, and operational functionality. It was a department, comprising around 13 to 15 people at the time that it had become fully established, all of whom were based at our office in Sofia, the Bulgarian capital city” she said.
After living in Bulgaria for two and a half years and having established and operated the new divisions within the ICCS entity, Lena received an offer from the company to move to Cyprus, and in October 2016 she arrived at Cyprus entity SafeCap Investments Cyprus which is in Nicosia.
“I worked there as Executive Assistant to the CEO, and also had further duties as a Project Manager, coordinating an organizational project, which was the third position that I had held within the set of companies that would a year later become TradeTech group, however at this time the whole group was still to be established and the companies, although commonly owned, operated separately” explained Lena.
“I was at SafeCap in Nicosia for three years, with one year being fully committed to my Executive Assistant role to the CEO. During that time, the TradeTech brand was established, with the acquisition of the leading prime of prime broker and multi-asset liquidity provider and Tradetech Alpha”.
“The formation of TradeTech was a fundamental part of my career progression, largely because at that time I was working very closely with the very senior leaders of the entire group of companies, those being TradeTech Group CEO Ron Hoffman and Liron Greenbaum, COO explained Lena.
“In October 2019 I came to London, where I now live permanently. My life was completely different by this time to how it had been at the initial part of my career. I got married one year ago in Cyprus, to a British gentleman so we decided to move to London together as I took the opportunity to assume an executive position at TradeTech’s global head office in Broadgate tower. It was an ideal opportunity for both of us, as the company that my husband works for also had an office in London at Moorgate, hence this was a very exciting move indeed” said Lena.
Once settled in London, Lena worked closely with Joe Rundle, who is CEO at Markets.com and is a highly respected professional having spent over 20 years at senior level among London’s FX and CFD industry’s leaders. Such was the progression of that division of the company, that it could certainly look like a totally different entity when reminiscing on its origins in TradeFXL’s original small offices in Ramat Gan, compared to today’s plate glass powerhouse at Broadgate Tower with Ron Hoffman at the helm and the publicly listed might of Playtech and the entire group of companies alongside it.
“It has been an amazing journey and I am very pleased to have been able to make my own mark on the company as it grew to what it is today. TradeTech has had benefited tremendously from my establishment of the Quality Control division in Bulgaria, and I would say that this has been one of the biggest achievements. Indeed, I have been involved since then in further business unit establishments, including founding the South African subsidiary of the company in Durban – Lena Coxhill, Head of HR, TradeTech Group
“Just before getting into the main new head office, I supported the whole establishment of the group brand, which involved the need to bring everything under one roof. In order to do this from a Human Resources and cultural point of view, I was continually organizing events for employees, and engaged in the integration of different departments that had previously been separate companies with different national cultures, having been based in USA, South Africa, Australia Israel, Cyprus, Ukraine and Denmark, as well as having different corporate environments and practices” explained Lena.
“As Head of HR for TradeTech, (I am actually employed by CFH) my position can only be described as a fantastic opportunity and I am now running the entire group’s talent acquisition and management operation” enthused Lena.
“This role is really challenging, as the company is a highly regulated entity, so everyone has new regulatory rules and as a result we have to do due diligence on every candidate” she explained/
“As far as new plans for the future are concerned, I am now three months into my new Head of HR position but have led many parts of the group. The group is quite new in itself, there is a lot of coordination of HR matters across the structure of the company so we need to make sure that all the daily work and HR related matters are all run in line with the regulatory requirements, and streamlined” she said.
“I am now committed to ensuring good quality learning and development for the employees, as well as talent recruitment on an ongoing basis. I see employee engagement across the group as a vital aspect because there are so many business units performing different tasks and being a global company there are so many cultural nuances. Therefore it is important that employees have their individual matters taken care of across all the different parts of the organization. This matters tremendously because it adds to the company’s success” – Lena Zubkov, Head of HR, TradeTech
Great opportunities for great women
“The facts say that the financial technology world is dominated by men, and perhaps it is the case that not as many women are in senior positions for now, but I can tell you from personal experience that I have not felt out of place or discriminated against; everything is pretty equal” said Lena.
“If you are good at your work, have great interpersonal skills, and know where you want to get in terms of having a clear vision of your career at the point where you want to achieve, you do everything possible to get there, you will regardless of gender. I believe that with the right social skills and professional conduct there is no way you won’t succeed so from my perspective there is no difference between the genders in terms of opportunity” said Lena.
“Perhaps women are more vulnerable than men due to certain family commitments, however some people have really high ambitious roles, as the work is more flexible in this industry it will always attract a more diverse workforce and it will have a better impact on women in business in general. To give advice to not just women but anyone looking to succeed, I would say first to learn the industry well, to understand what functions are available and what interests the most, and then develop the skills needed. Following that method, I see no reasons to not be successful and very content” concluded Lena.