SAN FRANCISCO (HedgeWorld.com)–The Montgomery Partners Absolute Return Fund LLC is being liquidated after atttempts to sell the fund failed.

Separately, Wilson “Bill” Santos, who had run the fund for Montgomery Asset Management LLC, was hired as vice president of distribution for Gartmore Global Investments, Conshohocken, Pa., the U.S. investment unit of Gartmore Group. He will report to D. Bruce Johnston, president and chief executive.

The Montgomery closed-end hedge fund fell victim to money woes at Commerzbank AG, which sold Montgomery Asset Management to Wells Fargo & Co., San Francisco. The deal, though, did not include the Montgomery hedge fund or a mutual fund that once used a hedge fund-like approach, the Montgomery Global Long-Short Equity Fund.

The Montgomery Absolute Return fund was one of the first to introduce low minimums in the closed-end fund format, and was designed to attract investment from the “mass affluent.”

Dana Schmidt, Montgomery’s chief administrative officer, said Montgomery executives negotiated to have Gartmore buy the fund, but couldn’t come to terms and decided to liquidate. Previous HedgeWorld Story. As a result, Montgomery formally requested to withdraw the US$18 million fund’s registration with the Securities and Exchange Commission earlier this month.

The fund was subadvised by Ferro Capital LLC, New York, and had turned in solid performance in the six months ending Sept. 30, a time when other hedge funds were struggling to remain above water. In that period, the fund returned 2.28%, according to its SEC filing, while the CSFB/Tremont Hedge Fund Index* returned 0.12%.

But Gartmore was named interim manager of the Global Long-Short mutual fund–among others–with SSI Investment Management Inc.,** Beverly Hills, Calif., acting as sub-adviser until shareholders vote on using Gartmore permanently. The Global Long-Short fund will be converted into an enhanced equity fund using SSI, according to previously announced plans.

A Gartmore spokeswoman said that Mr. Santos’ hiring was separate from Gartmore’s agreements to take on management of selected Montgomery funds. Gartmore Group recently reshuffled its top management, splitting the duties of chief investment officer into separate positions for equities and fixed income.

*Tremont Partners Inc., Rye, N.Y., co-publisher of the CSFB/Tremont Hedge Fund Index, is a strategic partner of, and minority investor in, HedgeWorld.

** SSI Investment Management Inc.*, Beverly Hills, Calif., is listed in HedgeWorld FundSelect, administered in the U.S.A by HedgeWorld Markets USA, Inc., (Member NASD/SIPC) an affiliate of HedgeWorld Limited.

PBarr@HedgeWorld.com