The peer, who aided Osborne’s push for closer financial ties with China, adds: “One of the sectors that is very critical to the Chinese going forward is their funding of pensions and healthcare, particularly for the elderly part of the population.
“The savings market is a particularly interesting one, because it’s a market where they don’t have a mature series of incumbent players who think they can or are able to supply what’s needed.”
Banking a trickier prospect
Although the Premier talked of a “level playing field” for overseas companies in China, banking is a tougher nut to crack. While rules on foreign ownership limits have been relaxed, foreign banks account for under 2pc of total banking assets in China.
An expansion of licences is needed to grow branch networks or move into areas like foreign exchange, settlements, or credit card activities. Domestic players will be more resistant to foreign interlopers, although as Lord Sassoon points out, that situation is not unique to China.
Despite the concerns of MPs in the China Research Group, Lord O’Neill, the former chairman of Goldman Sachs Asset Management and another minister under Cameron, says any bid to cut China out completely would be “naive and just economically damaging”, especially as the UK seeks overseas investment to fund the net zero transition.