Witad Awards 2021: Legal/compliance professional of the year—Miranda Morad, MarketAxess

Miranda Morad, MarketAxess

Miranda Morad, MarketAxess general counsel for the Asian and European regions, makes a virtue out of her ability to worry about things. 

Just before her interview for this award, she sent a text message to her son, a college student, who was running a temperature. “Obviously, I’m convinced it’s [Covid-19]. And I said, ‘Make sure your flatmates have my number.’”

“What? In case I drop unconscious on the kitchen floor?” he replied sarcastically. 

“Yes, exactly,” she answered.

The role of risk officers and compliance specialists is to anticipate and prepare for the worst. These professionals know, better than most, what can happen without at least some catastrophizing. 

In late February 2020, as Covid-19 was spreading across continents, Morad was getting antsy. Having just come back to the UK from Canada, she attended a large meeting where, for the first time, she refused to shake anyone’s hand. 

“I was the only person doing it, and they were all laughing at me. So I then said I’m not going to go into the office—I’m not going to take the risk. And it was a while before reality struck,” she says. “It takes a while before people hear you. The natural instinct is it’s not that bad. It’s not going to happen. It’s unimaginable.”

Though her job requires this line of thinking, she’s been accused of exaggerating endless times—something many women working in male-dominated industries like finance have experienced. In reality, Morad is pragmatic, methodical in her approach both to navigating impending doom and choosing where to go in life. 

Before she came onto the fintech scene, she was a litigator solving international border disputes. But life took her in another direction. She fell in love, moved to a different country, and gave up her UK practicing certificate, but needed to earn money somehow. She went into corporate law.

“It’s a pragmatic choice. You can do it in all countries, so that’s what I did,” she says. “And that has always led my career decisions—that need to pay the bills and put food on the table has led me to do the most pragmatic job, and that led me to financial services. … It’s challenging. It’s changing constantly. It actually suits me really well.”

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