The Group's dividend policy is to pay 65% of post-tax profits as a normal dividend and to pay a further special dividend comprising earnings not required to be held in the Group for solvency or buffers. The Group entered into the new Solvency II regime in January with surplus capital and is returning additional capital to shareholders in a phased manner, up to the first half of 2018. The current expectation is for the total additional return on capital to be in the region of £100 million - £150 million.
The Directors have declared a total interim dividend of 62.9 pence per share (£174.7 million), comprising three elements,
- 36.8 pence per share normal dividend;
- A special dividend of 14.2 pence per share; and
- A further additional return of capital of 11.9 pence per share, representing an element of surplus capital not required for solvency as noted above.
The normal and special elements total 51.0 pence per share, in line with the total interim dividend for 2015. The additional special element of 11.9 pence per (£33 million) is the second instalment of the additional returns of capital referred to above.
The total 2016 interim dividend is 23% ahead of the interim 2015 dividend.
The payment date is 7 October 2016, ex-dividend date 8 September 2016 and record date 9 September 2016.