Thanks to all of you who navigated the unfamiliar technology to take part in this year's AGM. I appreciated the opportunity to take your questions and report on progress against our strategy. If you were not able to join us, you will find a link to the recording in this month's update.
The business of focusing our portfolio is now concluded, albeit some sales remain to be completed. Our financial position is strong, and we have made excellent progress in reducing leverage, with debt reduction of £1.9 billion in the first half of 2021. We look forward to providing details on substantial capital returns to shareholders as we make progress with the completion of the divestments.
All eyes are now on our third strategic priority of transforming performance, focusing on growth in the UK, Ireland, Canada and Aviva Investors. You will see below that our trading update for the first quarter of the year points to good momentum, giving us confidence about the months ahead, but we are under no illusion that the journey is complete, and the external environment continues to be uncertain. Helped in part by the launch of our new brand, which you can read about in this update, we remain focused on improving performance further to deliver stronger returns for you, our shareholders.
Thank you as ever for your continued confidence in Aviva.
George Culmer - Chair
Aviva plc published this content on 23 June 2021 and is solely responsible for the information contained therein. Distributed by Public, unedited and unaltered, on 23 June 2021 10:30:00 UTC.