SWITZERLAND – Harcourt Partners SA, a Geneva-based fund of hedge funds boutique, has changed its name to Peak Partners.

The move follows expansion and the acquisition of its former partner, Harcourt Investment Consulting, by banking and asset management group Vontobel.

Zurich-based Harcourt Investment Consulting formerly fulfilled a significant role in the research and management of Harcourt Partners’ funds.

However, according to a spokesperson for Peak Partners, increased expansion and strengthening capabilities meant “we have completely matured our structure to manage our own funds in-house”.

He added, “In order to focus on the performance and service priorities of our customers and to avoid confusion and corporate image issues, driven by the recent sale of Harcourt to Vontobel, we have decided to part ways and change our name.”

Peak Partners has appointed former Harcourt Investment Consulting executive director Ernesto Prado to the position of chief investment officer and investment committee member from April. This is a new position at the firm.

Prado has a background at Latin American broker giant Serfin Securities, Boston-based Fidelity Investments and Salomon Brothers. He joined Harcourt Investment Consulting in 2002.

Other recent recruitments include former Ferrier Lullin & Cie (now part of Julius Baer) chief investment officer Nikhil Jhangiani as administrator and investment committee member, and operations manager Thierry Fragnière, formerly senior middle office officer at fund of hedge funds group EIM.

Peak Partners is currently working with 10 large institutions, including pension funds, insurance companies and banks. The largest contingent is based in Switzerland, France, the UK and Spain.

“With our new name, the end of our partnership and our enhanced research capability, we will start to expand more actively on a case by case basis into the rest of Europe.” said the Peak Partners spokesperson. “In this regard we are already in contact with some key UK pension funds.”

Peak partners and Harcourt Investment Consulting will continue to manage some funds together at times.