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Hedge fund firm IKOS defends ‘spying’ move

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Elena Ambrosiadou
Opalesque Industry Update - The Cyprus-based hedge fund firm IKOS Asset Management Ltd., whose founder Elena Ambrosiadou is currently in the process of divorcing former-director Martin Coward, defended its decision to probe its former employees, claiming the action was legitimate.

In a statement on May 24th, IKOS said that it decided to initiate the investigation to protect the interest of the company. The probe was launched after the firm discovered the theft of confidential information, software and trade secrets.

It filed civil actions against a number of former employees, including Martin Coward. Criminal investigations are being pursued by the authorities in Cyprus and Monaco.

The company issued the comments after past fund manager Tobin Maxwell Gover accused in a Financial Times article on May 21st IKOS of unlawfully hiring a woman to spy on him. Ambrosiadou had to pay damages to Gover following initial spying allegations last year, said Bloomberg.

In yesterday’s statement, IKOS maintains that over a number of years, Martin Coward and his acolytes had conspired to take control of the company and misappropriate its technology. Coward also launched and abandoned a number of indiscriminate litigations since 2009. IKOS is now taking robust legal action to recover any misappropriated software and enforce its rights, and Martin Coward and other former staff are prevented by injunctions from using IKOS’ technology in any way. Therefore, the statement says, all investigations “were necessary and appropriate to protect its business and its investors.”

Things have been going rather well for the company since December 2009 when Martin Coward left: it has increased its asset base by more than 60%, received 5 awards and delivered strong performance. Furthermore, Elena Ambrosiadou, a former chemical engineer, was the first person listed in a recent survey sponsored by PricewaterhouseCoopers called “50 Leading Women in Hedge Funds” (Source).

She was interviewed on Opalesque TV last year: Source.

A specialist in global quantitative trading, IKOS celebrates its 20th anniversary this year. It employs 85 staff and manages $2.5bn in AuM.

K. Manalo, B. Gravrand

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