“While Australia is better positioned than most other countries and has been remarkably resilient so far, it has not given us immunity – nor will it this year. We are also facing difficult conditions in New Zealand.
“In this environment, our underlying business is travelling well. We are continuing to deal with legacy issues, managing the impact of the financial crisis and implementing our super regional strategy. The positive results, particularly from Asia Pacific and progress in turning around Institutional, demonstrate we are addressing current critical issues while not neglecting our longer term positioning.
“Importantly, we have strengthened our balance sheet through increased provisioning, significantly increased liquid assets, improved our tier one capital position; recognised the need to move to a more appropriate dividend payout ratio for the current conditions and strengthened our management bench in particular by increasing the number of senior executives with deep banking experience,” Mr Smith said.