Barclays Wealth to speed up IT overhaul

Barclays' wealth management division is planning to accelerate its technology and people investment programme this year, after seeing a 27 percent increase in profits.

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Barclays' wealth management division is planning to accelerate its technology and people investment programme this year, after seeing a 27 percent increase in profits.

Barclays Wealth announced a five-year plan to spend £230 million on upgrading its IT and infrastructure earlier this year. The division is also spending £120 million on several hundred new client-facing staff.

Under the £350 million programme, the division has so far invested £33 million, and is expected to increase to £80 million in the second half of 2010.

In Barclays’ latest financial report, its Wealth division recorded pre-tax profits of £95 million in the half year ended June, up from £75 million in the same period in 2009. As a group, Barclays reported a 44 percent increase in pre-tax profit to £3.95 billion.

The bank said: “In Barclays Wealth, our income performance in the first half started to show the benefit of the investment we have made in the business over the past years.

“We now have a broad investment programme underway, 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.”

As a result of the investment programme, operating expenses at Barclays Wealth increased 20 percent to £635 million, from £528 million in 2009.

However, the bank said that its Barclays Capital division accounted for most of the group’s operating expenses, which had increased by 21 percent (£1.7 billion) to £9.7 billion. Barclays said that the Capital division accounted for around £1 billion of this increase, reflecting investment in the business, including technology and infrastructure, sales and research functions.

Last month, Barclays said it would invest £1 billion in retail technology and branch refurbishment over the next four years, but also plans to offshore more roles.

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