Pensions bellwether Legal & General reported an 8% rise in profits to £547m for the first half of this year.

L&G increased its interim dividend by 19% to 3.45p per share, and reported that cash generation was up 11% to £629m.

The government's shake-up of the pensions market saw L&G's annuities business down 62% to £1.3bn from £3.5bn over the same period last year.

The firm has responded to reforms in the pensions market by streamlining its business non-core businesses and focusing on areas like asset management, which saw a 12% lift in assets under management to £718bn.

Nigel Wilson, group chief executive, said: "Legal & General continues to deliver strong organic growth in the UK and the US from both our developing and established, market leading businesses. In addition we are disposing of, or closing non-core businesses and reducing costs in real and nominal terms.

"The actions that we are taking allow us to focus on our chosen markets, enable us to continue to deliver low prices and better value for our increasing customer base and deliver attractive returns for our shareholders.

"This financial and strategic discipline is driving our sixth year of double digit growth in net cash, operating profit and dividends – particularly noteworthy in H1 was the diversity of the strong operational and financial delivery, with an 18% increase in operating profit to £750m, the 19% increase in dividend per share to 3.45p and the 19% ROE."