James Sassoon, Baron Sassoon

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The Right Honourable
The Lord Sassoon
James sassoon low.jpg
Commercial Secretary to the Treasury
In office
11 May 2010 – 3 January 2013
Monarch Elizabeth II
Prime Minister David Cameron
Chancellor George Osborne
Preceded by Post created
Succeeded by The Lord Deighton
Member of the House of Lords
Lord Temporal
Assumed office
29 May 2010
Life Peerage
Personal details
Born (1955-09-11) 11 September 1955 (age 62)
Political party Conservative
Education Sunningdale School, Berkshire
Eton College, Berkshire
Alma mater Christ Church, Oxford

James Meyer Sassoon, Baron Sassoon, FCA[1] (born 11 September 1955) became an executive Director of Jardine Matheson Holdings and of Matheson & Co. in January 2013. He is also a director of Hongkong Land, Dairy Farm and Mandarin Oriental. He is Chairman of the China-Britain Business Council.

Sassoon was the first Commercial Secretary to the Treasury from May 2010 to January 2013, a ministerial position in HM Treasury, the UK's finance ministry. Sassoon had a long career in the financial sector and previously served in various roles at the Treasury from 2002 to 2008, at which point he began advising David Cameron on financial issues.[2] He was appointed to the House of Lords as a Conservative in connection with his ministerial appointment.[3]


Sassoon was educated at Sunningdale School,[4] a junior boarding independent school in the large village of Sunningdale in Berkshire, where he was a friend of David Profumo, the son of John Profumo,[4] followed by Eton College,[5] a senior boarding school, also in Berkshire, followed by Christ Church at the University of Oxford,[5] where he read Philosophy, Politics and Economics.[5]

Financial career[edit]

Sassoon began a career in finance at Thomson McLintock & Company in 1977, before joining S.G. Warburg & Co. (later UBS Warburg) in 1985. He became a director in 1995, leading the firm's privatisation business, and serving as Vice Chairman, Investment Banking from 2000 to 2002.

Sassoon has also served as a director of the following organisations: Partnerships UK, 2002–06; Merchants Trust, 2006–10 (chairman 2010); the ifs School of Finance, 2009–10 (chairman) and the Nuclear Liabilities Fund, 2008–2010. He was a trustee of the National Gallery Trust, 2002–09 and of the British Museum, 2009–10 and 2013-. He is a member of the Global Advisory Board of Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, 2013-.

Government and political career[edit]

Lord Sassoon speaking in 2012

In 2002, he joined HM Treasury, becoming Managing Director of Finance, Regulation and Industry, a position he served in until 2006. Sassoon then became the Chancellor's Representative for Promotion of the City. In 2007, he was named President of the Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering. He continued in both roles until 2008. Sassoon received a knighthood in the 2008 New Year Honours.[6][7] At that time, he began advising David Cameron, then the Leader of the Opposition, and George Osborne, then the Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer, and became a member of the Shadow Cabinet's Economic Recovery Committee. In 2009, he wrote The Tripartite Review, a review of the adequacy of the UK's three financial regulators (the Financial Services Authority, HM Treasury, and the Bank of England), especially as regards financial stability.[8]

In May 2010, he was named Commercial Secretary to the Treasury, a minister whose portfolio includes financial services and business matters. In consequence, it was announced he would be made a life peer, and he was introduced in the House of Lords on 3 June 2010 having been created Baron Sassoon, of Ashley Park in the County of Surrey on 29 May 2010.[9][10]

It was announced in the 2012 Cabinet reshuffle that Lord Deighton would replace Lord Sassoon in January 2013 as Commercial Secretary to the Treasury following appointment to the House of Lords and in line with Sassoon's desire to return to the private sector.

Personal life[edit]

A member of the Sassoon family, Sassoon is the son of Hugh Meyer Sassoon (first cousin of Siegfried Sassoon) and Marion (née Schiff); he is the great-great grandson of Sassoon David Sassoon. He married Sarah Barnes (daughter of the former ambassador to Israel and the Netherlands, Sir Ernest John Ward Barnes and Lady Cynthia Barnes of Hurstpierpoint) in 1981, and has a son and two daughters.


  1. ^ "Ministers' interests" (PDF). Cabinet Office. Retrieved 27 July 2014. 
  2. ^ HM Treasury biography: James Sassoon
  3. ^ Sir James Sassoon Set to be Lord of the City
  4. ^ a b David Profumo (5 September 2006). "Here was a family secret, and I was the last in the world to know". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 5 January 2016. 
  5. ^ a b c "Home > Our Speakers > Lord (James) Sassoon, Executive Director, Matheson & Co.". Speakers for Schools. Retrieved 5 January 2016. 
  6. ^ "No. 58557". The London Gazette (Supplement). 29 December 2007. p. 1. 
  7. ^ "No. 59160". The London Gazette. 18 August 2009. p. 14246. 
  8. ^ "The Tripartite Review". March 2009. 
  9. ^ House of Lords business, 3 June 2010
  10. ^ "No. 59437". The London Gazette. 3 June 2010. p. 10273. 
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