There are a number of reasons to be encouraged by the half year results that we have announced today. We have recorded underlying revenue growth and continued to make substantial progress in key areas.
We have seen strong revenue growth in the faster-growing regions of Hong Kong, Rest of Asia-Pacific and Latin America, in line with our strategy. These regions are driving global economic growth today and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.
Our Global Banking and Markets business had a strong first half during a period of uncertainty in financial markets and the wider economic environment, with profits up on the same period last year led by our performance in faster-growing regions.
We have continued to make progress in delivering our strategy, as we strive to get the Group into the right shape for the future and position HSBC for growth. We have announced 36 disposals since 2011, exiting non-strategic markets, and selling non-core businesses and investments. We are also simplifying HSBC, removing layers of management, and clarifying reporting lines - all of which makes the company easier to manage and control.
However, our performance has been affected by the mistakes of the past. Our underlying profit has been affected by higher operating expenses which include provisions for UK customer redress programmes and a sum set aside in expectation of a fine from US regulators for our past shortcomings in relation to US anti-money laundering procedures, the Bank Secrecy Act and Office of Foreign Assets Control sanctions.
It is right that we be held accountable and I apologise for our past shortcomings. We are profoundly sorry for our mistakes, and are committed to putting them right. With a new strategy and senior leadership team in place since the start of 2011, we are introducing new processes and structures to help us manage risk and ensure more effective compliance in the future.
Under our new strategy, HSBC is now run and managed as a genuinely global firm, making it easier to set, monitor and enforce standards. We are implementing high global standards across the Group: we want to make sure that the highest standards required in any part of the business will apply to every part of the business.
Our central compliance team, whose role in the past consisted primarily of giving advice, can now control and enforce these standards. And we are driving a change in culture so that our conduct matches our values. For example, we now judge senior leaders not just on what they achieve but also on how they achieve it.
Our customers and the communities in which we work expect us to carry out our business responsibly and to the highest ethical standards. Our shareholders, too, want us to match a strong economic performance with integrity, because both affect the value of their investment. This is a fundamental part of achieving our strategy and remains a top priority for the Board and senior management team.
These results show that we have seen substantial progress in key areas over the last six months. I am determined that we will build on this performance, put right the mistakes of the past and deliver our strategy for the future.
Group Chief Executive