Boston Co.'s institutional money management division is rebounding this summer, scoring points with clients after losing many substantial accounts last year.

In July, Boston Company Asset Management Inc., a subsidiary of Mellon Bank Corp., attracted $116 million worth of new client assets, bringing the total assets under management to $15.5 billion. But that's still about half what the company was managing in spring 1995.

The institutional division - one of 10 investment subsidiaries of Mellon that manage a total of $237 billion - lost 40% of its business last year because of an executive exodus.

The firm has added 23 clients since the beginning of this year, and new executives say they will accelerate that pace.

"People have gotten over the events of last year. They understand that Boston Company Asset Management is here to stay," said Francis D. Antin, its chief operating officer.

In April 1995, the division suffered a huge blow when 20 employees led by former chief investment officer Desmond J. Heathwood walked away to set up a competing firm - Boston Partners - after Mellon bought Boston Co. At the end of June 1995, Boston Company Asset Management was holding onto $15 billion in client money, down from $26 billion at the time of the defections.

When Mr. Antin, an experienced marketing executive from State Street Bank and Trust Co., stepped in last November, assets were down to $13.5 billion.

Mr. Antin has worked with chief investment officer Alexander "Toby" Webb 3d, a former president and chief investment officer of Fidelity Management Trust Co. who replaced Mr. Heathwood last summer, to convince clients and prospects of the firm's abilities going forward.

The largest new account was opened by the City of Boston Retirement System, which invested $35 million in a small cap equity strategy. Another shot in the arm came from an undisclosed insurance company that opened a $25 million account.

In core equity investments, separate accounts were opened by the Jacksonville, Fla.-based Jesse duPont Foundation and Kansas City, Mo.-based American Marketing Industries Inc. for $18 million and $11 million, respectively.

Maryknoll Charitable Trust, a foundation in New York State, added $20 million to a balanced account. Two new clients, the Massachusetts city of Worcester and town of North Attleboro, opened smaller accounts for international equity investments that total $7 million.

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