HSBC made significant progress in 2012. First and foremost, we grew our business. We increased revenues, performed well in most faster-growing markets and enjoyed a record reported year in Commercial Banking.
Although reported pre-tax profit fell by 6 per cent, underlying profit1 grew by 18 per cent to USD16.4 billion. This is a good performance.
We have re-established our position as one of the best capitalised banks in the world
At the same time, we have re-established our position as one of the best capitalised banks in the world and, based on our current understanding of the capital rules, we're also now extremely well placed with regard to Basel III. This capital strength provides a firm base on which to keep growing the business organically, and it allows us to increase the dividend for the end of 2012. We also intend to increase the quarterly dividends in respect of the first three quarters of 2013.
In terms of the broader strategy that we set out in 2011, we've delivered most of what we promised over a three-year period within two years.
We have made HSBC easier to manage and control by disposing of non-core businesses. The total number of announced disposals and closures of businesses and non-core investments since the beginning of 2011 is now 47, with 26 announced in 2012, and 4 in 2013.
We have achieved an additional USD2 billion in sustainable cost savings. This takes our total annualised savings to USD3.6 billion, surpassing the cumulative target we set ourselves in May 2011.
We have re-positioned the business to make sure that we are where the growth is and to provide a solid capital base on which to grow organically.
Clearly there is work still to do. However, we have achieved a great deal in 2012. Looking ahead, while the operating environment remains difficult our core business will continue to reap the benefit of recovering economic growth in mainland China in 2013 and its positive impact on other faster-growing regions. We are on the right track and remain fully committed to achieving our goal of being the world's leading international bank.
1 We use underlying performance when monitoring progress against operating plans and past results because we believe that this basis more appropriately reflects operating performance. Underlying measures exclude the impact of fair value movements on own debt attributable to credit spread, foreign currency translation differences and disposals and acquisitions, as well as the operating results for the acquired or disposed business from all periods presented. They do not exclude notable items.