By Jonathan Davies

HSBC has reported a 4% rise in pre-tax profits to $7.06 billion for the first quarter of 2015.

"Our business recovered well in the first quarter following a difficult [fourth quarter]" said HSBC chief executive Stuart Gulliver.

The results come as the bank faces huge criticism over the tax avoidance scandal in which it was found to have helped hundreds of customers to avoid tax by using its Swiss banking division.

Mr Gulliver said it had "undoubtedly done reputational damage to the firm", but did little to impact its banking performance.

The chief executive also revealed that a decision on whether or not to move the bank's headquarter would be taken "in a few months, not years".

Last month HSBC revealed that it was considering moving its headquarters out of London, with many speculating that the Asia-focused bank could leave the UK altogether.

Its decision will be presented to the board before seeking shareholder approval.