We are committed to providing our clients with superior financial advice and solutions while generating attractive and sustainable returns for shareholders. Our strategy centers on our Wealth Management and Wealth Management Americas businesses and our leading universal bank in Switzerland, complemented by our Global Asset Management business and our Investment Bank. These businesses share three key characteristics: they benefit from a strong competitive position in their targeted markets, are capital-efficient, and offer a superior structural growth and profitability outlook. Our strategy therefore builds on the strengths of all of our businesses and focuses our efforts on areas in which we excel, while seeking to capitalize on the compelling growth prospects in the businesses and regions in which we operate. Capital strength is the foundation of our success.
Successfully executing our strategic transformation
In October 2012, we announced the acceleration of the implementation of our strategy communicated a year earlier. This announcement underlined our commitment to focus our activities on a set of highly synergistic, less capital- and balance sheet-intensive businesses dedicated to serving clients and well-positioned to maximize value for shareholders. As highlighted in our 2013 Annual Report, since then we have made substantial progress in improving our already strong capital position and reduce Basel III risk-weighted assets (RWA) and costs, while simultaneously growing our business and enhancing our competitive positioning. We have also successfully transformed our Investment Bank, focusing it on its traditional strengths in advisory, research, equities, foreign exchange and precious metals. As highlighted in our AR13, we had a fully applied Swiss SRB Basel III CET1 capital ratio of 12.8% as of 31.12.13, the highest in our peer group.
We are taking additional action to reduce costs and improve efficiency across the Group. In 2013 we achieved our CHF 2.0 billion gross cost reduction program announced in July 2011. We also made further progress in the implementation of the additional cost reduction program we announced in 2012, targeting incremental annual gross cost savings of CHF 3.4 billion, which we expect to yield tangible results through 2016. These targeted reductions include the benefits from the abovementioned transformation of our Investment Bank, reducing complexity and size, as well as improving organizational efficiency and effectiveness, primarily in our Corporate Center, and introducing lean front-to-back processes across our Group. Our efficiency programs will free up resources to make investments over the next two years to support growth across our businesses and enable us to service our clients with greater agility and effectiveness, improving quality and speed. Maintaining cost discipline is critical to our long-term success.
Delivering attractive shareholder returns
We have a clear strategy and a solid financial foundation, which we believe prepare us well for the future.
We are firmly committed to returning capital to our shareholders, and plan to continue our program of progressive returns to shareholders with a proposed 67% increase in dividend to CHF 0.25 per share for the financial year 2013. In this context, we reaffirm our commitment to a total payout ratio of at least 50%, consisting of a baseline dividend and supplementary returns, after reaching our capital ratio targets of a fully applied CET1 ratio of 13% and a 10% post-stress CET1 ratio, based on our internal stress tests. We intend to set a baseline dividend at a sustainable level, taking into account normal economic fluctuations. The supplementary capital returns will be balanced with our need for investment and any buffer we choose to maintain for a more challenging economic environment or other stress scenarios.
Through the further successful implementation of our strategy, we believe we can sustain and grow our business and maintain a prudent capital position.
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