3i, Accenture, Nokia, and Sampo Set Up Financial Software Company

Meridea Financial Software launches the world’s first multi-channel banking and financial software solution based on open standards

LONDON November 29, 2001 – 3i Group plc, Accenture, Nokia, and Sampo have today announced that they have established a company, Meridea Financial Software. The new company, which combines the expertise of the founders in the fields of mobility, banking and finance, produces and markets software for mobile and online financial services. Mr Esa Tihilä, the former head of ICL’s global e-business operations, has been appointed Chief Executive Officer of Meridea.

Meridea has today showcased its first, next-generation software solution for financial institutions, which enables consumers to access electronic and mobile financial services through multiple channels including mobile devices, the Internet, telephones, IVR’s (Interactive Voice Response systems) and digital TV. The Meridea solution can offer attractive return on investment for financial institutions by helping to: improve time to market, provide a manageable cost structure, reduce the technology risk and offer flexible integration with existing systems.

"Consumer driven content demand is seen as an important area of growth and therefore potential investment area for 3i. We believe financial services to be one of those demand areas’, said Jarkko Virtanen, Investment Director, 3i Finland Oy. ’Together with a committed management team and strong founding partners, Meridea has an excellent starting point for success.’

"Our clients are increasingly looking for the insight and technological capability that companies need to get past the hype. Our financial services clients in particular are looking for reliable and cost-effective ways to provide the ’anywhere, anytime’ services their customers desire," said David Milner, Accenture’s Managing Partner for financial services, Northern Europe. "Meridea becomes the latest organisation in Accenture’s network of businesses, which provides leading edge technology to meet the future demand of companies across the globe."

"The development of a new generation software to be fit for service will be vital in the future markets for Sampo as well as for other actors in the financial sector. Through its founding shareholders, Meridea offers expertise for this development work, which can provide a high-quality outcome in a cost-efficient manner. Sampo has estimated to receive the software in question through Meridea for almost half the price compared to producing the software itself. In addition, the advanced Meridea solution enables introduction of new innovative mobile financial services and creates new potential sources of revenue for Sampo," said Peter Johansson, CFO, Sampo.

"Meridea’s strategy to build mobile transaction applications on open standards, and their strong emphasis on user friendliness and multiple channel access, is perfectly in line with Nokia’s view on the factors that will drive the success of mobile services. We are delighted to have the platform, the Series 60 user interface and the Nokia 7650 mobile phone, to first host Meridea’s mobile solution. Meridea offers a unique value proposition to banks and financial institutions, and we are confident that there are good opportunities in the market for Meridea’s solutions," said Sari Baldauf, President, Nokia Networks.

According to market research carried out by Kudos Research Ltd in May 2001, electronic banking services will become increasingly versatile and efficient in the future. This places increasing demands on financial institutions to invest more in online banking solutions.

"Compared to the traditional way of developing services, Meridea’s concept offers financial institutions a more cost-effective and less risky development path. It is designed to enable new services to be adopted more rapidly," said Esa Tihilä, CEO, Meridea.

Meridea will employ more than a hundred people in Finland by the end of 2002. Its products and solutions will be marketed on an international basis from the very beginning.

About 3i
3i brings capital, knowledge and connections to the creation and development of businesses around the world. It invests in a wide range of opportunities from start-ups to buy-outs and buy-ins, focusing on businesses with high growth potential and strong management. 3i invests in businesses across three continents through local investment teams in Europe, Asia Pacific and the USA.

About Accenture
Accenture is the world’s leading management and technology consulting organization. Through its network of businesses approach - in which the company enhances its consulting and outsourcing expertise through alliances, ventures and other capabilities - Accenture delivers innovations that help clients across all industries quickly realize their visions. With more than 75,000 people in 47 countries, the company generated net revenues of $11.44 billion for the fiscal year ended August 31, 2001. Its home page is http://www.accenture.com.

About Nokia
Nokia is the world leader in mobile communications. Backed by its experience, innovation, user-friendliness and secure solutions, the company has become the leading supplier of mobile phones and a leading supplier of mobile, fixed and IP networks. By adding mobility to the Internet Nokia creates new opportunities for companies and further enriches the daily lives of people. Nokia is a broadly held company with listings on six major exchanges.

About Sampo
Sampo is Finland’s first full-service financial group providing financial, investment and insurance services. It has one of the world’s highest e-banking penetrations.


Esa Tihil

+358 400 522 053


Jarkko Virtanen

+358 40 547 6945


Peter Johansson

+358 40 545 1244