Go Back

Thomas Thesleff

Born 31 March, 1951, Helsinki

Master of Arts 1975 (General History), University of Helsinki

Evli Investment Bank, Managing Director 1985–1994, Chairman of the Board, 1994–2006 and Board Member 2006-

Acting lector, Minervaskolan, 1975–1977
Expert, Oy Hackman Ab, 1977–1978
Copywriter, Interplan Oy, 1979
Regional manager (France), Finnfacts ry 1979–1985
Stockbroker, Oy Bensow Ab, 1984–1985

Military rank, Lieutenant (senior grade)
Honours: Knight of the White Rose of Finland, 1st class

Written by Thomas Thesleff and Riitta-Ilona Hurmerinta (ed.)
Translated by John Calton.

Evli – a humanist banker

In economic and social terms the Finnish markets in the 1980s were ripe for the creation of an institution like Evli Securities Plc. And there’s little doubt that an arts graduate working as an investment banker in Finland at that time raised a few eyebrows. But Thomas Thesleff had plenty of historical role models from around the world that he could call upon.

– My most important mentor Brian Knox from the Kleinworth, Grievson Grant Investment bank in London started out as an expert mediaevalist. When we discussed how humanists were like fish out of water in the banking world, he told me how he quit historical research “when interest became legal”. This was a wry reference to the 1215 Council of the Lateran in which the church not only debated transubstantiation but also usury in all its forms, together with its authorisation. Knox could speak both Latin and Greek, so I felt quite at home in his company.

Thesleff’s chief architects at the Evli bank were Henrik Andersin and Roger Kempe. This troika worked as a solid team, complementing one another’s areas of expertise.

– Quite apart from professional partnership, Henrik and Roger were like brothers to me. Together we built up a fine structure, which continues to be a rare and shining example in the Nordic financial world.

From the early days at Evli, Thomas Thesleff had a sense that the humanist had won his spurs in the economic realm. His services were in demand and he had a team with whom he could spread the commercial risk.

– My team accepted me an equal, even though I hadn’t so much as set foot in a business school. Our working relationship from the word go was about trust, trust which has held firm to the present day.

Photo from the early years of Evli Pankki Oyj.​



Go Back