LONDON (Reuters) - Britain and China have agreed to press on with closer links between London and Shanghai's stock exchanges, British finance minister Philip Hammond said on Thursday after meeting Chinese Vice Premier Ma Kai.

"Both exchanges will now work together to research and prepare implementation arrangements," Britain's finance ministry said.

Hammond, speaking at a news conference alongside Ma, said the financial services sector would act as a template for cooperation in other sectors.

China planned to grant British banks licenses to underwrite so-called panda bonds issued in China, and to gradually relax foreign ownership restrictions for fund managers and life insurance firms, Hammond added.

(Reporting by David Milliken and Andy Bruce)