Kidder, Peabody & Co., one of the country's largest underwriters of health-care related bonds in 1991, confirmed yesterday that all seven senior members of its health and education finance group have resigned.

"We are saddened and very upset about them leaving," said Paul A. Stach, managing directoir of Kidder's municipal department. "We will, however, be actively looking at replacing these people as soon as qualified professionals become available."

He declined to comment on why the bankers left. None of the bankers could be reached for comment.

Mr. Stach said the following bankers left the firm's New York office to join Bear, Stearns & Co.: Kathleen A. Costine, managing director of health and education; Rae G. Boylan, senior vice president; Nelson Lauria, senior vice president; Maurisse Gray, vice president; and Neil C. Matthews, vice president.

In addition, C. Gordon Howie, senior vice president, and John Woodward, vice president, are leaving Kidder's California regional finance office to join the health-care investment banking team in the San Francisco office of PaineWebber Inc.

"These are all good people and good friends," Mr. Stach said.

According to a Bear Stearns spokesman, the five professionals joining the firm should allow it to be al major player in health-care and education-related issuance.

There are already five bankers in Bear Stearn's health-care and higher-education group. They include Edward Bopp, an associate director; Mark R. Liff, a vice president; Jeffrey Herles, an associate; James Preston, an associate director; and Judith H. Vereen, a vice president.

"Adding these professionals really makes our team much stronger," said Daniel L. Keating, senior managing director at Bear, Stearns. "In general, we see both health care and higher education as being two fields likely to significantly expand in the near future."

"These are extremely qualified people that we are excited to add to Bear Stearns," Mr. Keating added.

Said Terry L. Atkinson, managing director of PaineWebber's municipal securities division, "We are delighted to add two health-care bankers of the stature of Gordon and John to our team. We have recently been adding people to our health-care groups nationwide, and you could not ask for two better professionals."

Mr. Stach said the decisionj by all seven professionals to leave Kidder will in no way derails the firm's plans to remain an integral part of the public finance industry.

In 1991, Kidder was the sixth largest senior manager in the underwriting of health-care related debt. That year, they managed $910 million. Overall, Kidder was the 13th largest underwriter in 1991, senior managing 1.9%, or $3.2 billion, of the total issuance.

According to Securities Data Co./Bond Buyer, over 28% of Kidder's total underwriting business in 1991 was health-care related.

In April of this year, Robert Kreider, a vice president in Kidder's Philadelphia office, who was also involved in health-care investments, left the firm.

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