Hong Kong-based GF International Investment Management saw its chief executive leave on Friday to help Chinese private equity firm JD Capital build its wealth management business, AsianInvestor can reveal. 

Nathan Lin will join Beijing JiuHeng Investment Management, JD Capital’s new subsidiary, as partner and chief executive in Beijing after the Chinese new year holiday week (February 6-13). AsianInvestor understands that he will be tasked with business expansion across China and Hong Kong.

GFI, the Hong Kong-based arm of Guangzhou-based GF Fund, has promoted Tom Ding as Lin’s replacement. Ding was previously deputy CEO of and will retain his role as chief investment officer.

JD Capital, which had Rmb31 billion ($4.7 billion) in AUM at the end of 2015, set up the wealth arm in October. Details of its scope of business are not yet available, but the source said JD was moving to become a diversified financial institution, pointing to its acquisition of Belgian insurer Ageas’s Hong Kong business in September. 

JD's international ambitions reflect the growing trend among Chinese wealth managers to seek to expand overseas, such as Jupai Holdings and Noah Holdings. Other mainland groups, notably Fosun, are becoming increasingly acquisitive of foreign assets and firms such as insurance companies.

JD Capital has certainly diversified its activities in recent years. It was the first mainland private equity firm to enter the domestic mutual fund industry, by setting up JT Asset Management in July 2014. It also launched an internet-based peer-to-peer lending platform, Jiu Xin Finance, in 2014. These businesses added to brokerage firm JZ Securities, which JD established in 2007, the year it was founded.

JD Capital, which is listed on Beijing’s new over-the-counter market, the ‘new third board’, did not respond to request for comment by press time. 

Lin, a well-known fund industry figure, joined GFI in March 2013 and helped drive overseas expansion, including its renminbi qualified domestic institutional investor (RQFII) business, exchange-traded funds business and the set-up of a London office.

Before joining GFI, Lin was managing director at E Fund (Hong Kong), the overseas arm of Guangzhou-based E Fund Management, where he helped build out the RQFII business between 2009 to 2013.