China Life, the country's largest life player, has bought a 12% share of Citic Securities, a Beijing-based brokerage, for $406 million.

Citic is China’s largest listed brokerage, and China Life becomes its second largest stakeholder after buying up 350 million new shares.

The move is being widely seen as further evidence of an increasingly fluid financial sector in China. Faced with increasing investment from foreign banks and insurers, the Chinese government is keen to see the domestic heavyweights diversify across all areas of the market, and China Life’s step away from insurance can be seen in this context.