Hedge fund pioneer sues ex-wife’s firm over trading software

The founder of a multi-billion dollar UK hedge fund has sued his ex-wife's company, alleging that it stole algorithmic trading software the he developed.

Martin Coward is the founder of Ikos Asset Management and quantitative analyst noted for pioneering use of algorithmic trading software. He was married to former BP executive turned hedge fund manager Elena Ambrosiadou, but the couple filed for divorce in 2009.

They have since exchanged numerous law suits in courts around the globe, and their split has attracted widespread media attention. In 2009, Coward leaked divorce papers to the press.

One of the disputes concerns the algorithmic trading software that Coward developed for Ikos Asset Management, which he left following the divorce.

In 2011, Ikos alleged that Coward stole its intellectual property when he set up a new hedge fund in Switzerland. Last year, Coward countersued alleging that Ikos used his intellectual property – but subsequently withdraw the suit.

Now Coward has sued Ambrosiadou's new firm, Phaestos, over use of the software. The trial is being heard in the UK high court this week.

Ambrosiadou herself is not a defendent in the trial. In response to a request for comment from news agency Bloomberg, she said that “electronic theft laws need to be introduced in UK and Europe".

Pete Swabey

Pete Swabey

Pete was Editor of Information Age and head of technology research for Vitesse Media plc from 2005 to 2013, before moving on to be Senior Editor and then Editorial Director at The Economist Intelligence...

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