Meridien Research, the Newton, MA-based research firm, has created a custom research division that will cover topics in the financial IT area not usually included in its reports, the company says.

The new custom research arm will offer services that include competitive and peer-group analysis of vendors and financial institution users, market analyses of different technologies and how using technology strategically can address specific business issues.

"While many other research firms are laying off staff, we're continuing to expand our industry-leading research services that focus on strategic technologies for financial institutions worldwide," said Meridien co-founder Debbie Williams in a statement.

James Beams, a 20-year industry veteran, will head the division.

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