We have had an excellent first half of 2017, reflecting the changes we have made since our Investor Update in 2015 and the strength of our competitive position. We increased profit before tax on both a reported and an adjusted basis, and our three main global businesses performed well. Our revenue grew faster than costs on an adjusted basis.
In July, HSBC was named ‘World’s Best Bank’ at the Euromoney Awards for Excellence 2017. Our international network continues to distinguish us from our peers and we strengthened it further in the first half of the year.
Our international network continues to distinguish us from our peers and we strengthened it further in the first half of the year
We received regulatory approval in June to establish HSBC Qianhai Securities Limited, the first joint-venture securities company in mainland China to be majority-owned by a foreign bank. This is a landmark achievement that will increase access to China’s markets for our domestic and international clients.
Our common equity tier 1 ratio increased to 14.7 per cent, making it among the strongest in the industry. In the past 12 months we have paid more in dividends than any other European or American bank and returned USD3.5 billion to shareholders through share buy-backs. Having received appropriate regulatory clearances, we will execute a further share buy-back of up to USD2 billion in the second half of 2017.
The strategic actions that we announced at our Investor Day in June 2015 have been instrumental in making HSBC a better and more profitable bank. We remain on track to complete the majority of these actions by the end of the year.
Our risk-weighted asset (RWA) reduction programmes have extracted USD296 billion of RWAs from the business since the start of 2015, comfortably exceeding our target. We also remain on course to achieve around USD6 billion of annualised cost savings by the end of this year, in line with the revised expectations that we set at our annual results.
Our businesses in Mexico and the US continue to make progress. In the UK, meanwhile, we have been granted a restricted banking licence from the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority for our ring-fenced bank – an important milestone in the establishment of HSBC UK.
We continue to shift the Group’s business mix towards Asia. In the first half of the year, we won new mandates related to the China-led Belt and Road initiative and helped connect more Chinese companies to international opportunities. We further expanded our product range in the Pearl River Delta, and retained our position as the world’s leading international bank for renminbi business.
Over the past five years, our Global Standards programme has transformed our ability to manage financial crime risk, making customers safer and helping us to protect the integrity of the financial system. Combating financial crime will continue to be a high priority, and we will always look for ways to strengthen our capabilities.
As we look to the future, our business is in good shape. We have a diversified, universal banking business model and an integrated global network that work for our clients and deliver industry-leading returns. We remain focused on growing the business, improving our competitive position and rewarding our shareholders.