Barclays Group has joined the ranks of banks returning to profit in the first half of 2010, making £3.9bn in the first six months.
Its investment banking arm Barclays Capital generated £3.4bn of that, helped by its acquisition of Lehman Brothers after the American investment bank collapsed in 2008.
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The group's operating expenses rose £1.7bn to £9.7bn, a 21% increase compared to this time last year. The rise was partly fuelled by continued investment in technology infrastructure but, the group said, was offset by a higher rise of 25% in net income.
The company has started a strategic investment programme to invest £350m in people and technology in its Barclays Wealth division, which focuses on rich customers.
Its interim results statement said, "We now have a broad investment programme under way, which we intend to accelerate in the second half of 2010 as we build out the international platforms and invest in people, technology and infrastructure."
The company spent £33m in the first half of the year on the project, and expects to increase this to £80m in the second half. The aim, it said, is to both hire client-facing staff and "invest in the technology required to develop our client experience".
Barclays is also continuing its growth of contactless payments, with eight of the nine million contactless cards in the UK issued by the bank.
Further infrastructure and technology investment is ongoing in India and Africa where regional networks are being developed.
The company says it increased its overall staffing levels because of the acquisition of Standard Life Bank and the "build-out of Barclays Shared services in India." It is also "in-sourcing" its operations, and that "further international development of the technology infrastructure" is contributing to growing staff numbers.