S K Green - Group Chairman: Well, ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon here in Hong Kong, good morning in London and welcome to HSBC's 2010 Interim Results Presentation. Mike and I are continuing to carry on the tradition of taking turns between London and Hong Kong and it's my turn to be in Hong Kong and it’s a very great pleasure to be back here.
It’s an approach which we find is proving valuable to both of us by giving us insights into the thinking amongst key investors and media and analysts in our two most important markets. I hope you find it valuable too by giving you regular access and contact to both of us.
With Mike in London are Douglas Flint, Chief Financial Officer, Executive Director, Risk and Regulation, Sandy Flockhart, Chairman, Personnel and Commercial Banking and Insurance and Stuart Gulliver, Chairman, Europe, Middle East and Global Businesses.
With me here in Hong Kong are Peter Wong, the Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Shanghai Banking Corporation; Iain Mackay, Chief Financial Officer, Asia-Pacific and Russell Picot, Group Chief Accounting Officer.
In a moment, Douglas is going to take us through the performance for the half year in more detail. Mike will then talk about how we're building the business for the future but before that I'd like to say a few words about the headline numbers.
As always, please take a minute to read the forward looking statements on the screen and for the avoidance of doubt, so I don’t need to say this, dollar figures that we use today are U.S. dollars unless otherwise stated.
So, the headline results, reported pre-tax profits more than doubled to $11.1 billion, reported PBT ex the fair value of own debt, up just over $10 billion, 34%. Underlying basis, the performance strongly ahead with pre-tax profits up 30% to $9.6 billion. It is I believe a testament to the broad diversification of our business and the quality of our portfolio with HSBC delivered such a strongly improved performance in the first half.
The result reflects the significant improvement in our retail businesses driven in large part, but not entirely, by lower loan impairment charges, that are also supported by another very strong performance in GBM which is actually second only to the first half of last year, a record other than first half of last year.
Loan impairment charges fell to their lowest levels since the start of the financial crisis, reflecting the more stable economic conditions and our deliberate actions which we begun before the crisis to reposition certain portfolios of maintained underwriting standards.
During the first half of the year, we grew lending in all regions more than offsetting the impact of the run-off in the U.S., with selectively adding assets in our target segments in emerging regions and in developed markets where we have scale.
Turning to capital, maintaining our capital strength is of course absolutely fundamental to our banking philosophy, so we continue to enhance our core tier 1 ratio which increased 9.9%. Finally, we're proud of our track record as one of the industry’s leading dividend payers and the first half was no exception. Total dividends declared for the period of $2.8 billion, in line with our dividend policy.