The Legal & General businesses and balance sheet have shown resilience during the COVID-19 pandemic. As a long-term company, they act prudently and take into consideration all of their stakeholders. As indicated at the Capital Markets event in November, the Board has declared a final dividend of 17.57p per share, flat against the prior year.
Over the longer term, Legal & General expects to maintain its progressive dividend policy reflecting the Group's expected underlying business growth, including net release from operations and operating earnings.
Other financial highlights include:
Operating profit broadly flat at £2,218m (2019: £2,286m), with 3 of 5 businesses delivering growth
Operating profit excluding mortality reserve release down £90m to £2,041m (2019: £2,131m), with the reduction driven by specific COVID-19 estimated impacts of £(228)m
Profit after tax down 12% to £1,607m (2019: £1,834m), principally reflecting the formulaic impact of lower interest rates on LGI and the unrealised impact of market movements, partially offset by profit on disposal from Mature Savings business
Return on equity of 17.3% (2019: 20.4%), resilient in light of market volatility
Despite COVID-19 we delivered financial metrics in line with their five year ambitions (2020-2024):
Net release from operations of £1,539m (2019: £1,597m)
Solvency II operational surplus generation from continuing operations of £1.5bn (2019: £1.5bn)