Credit Suisse Group AG will boost the number of private bankers that serve its richest clients in the first move by the bank’s new international wealth-management chief.

The lender plans to "significantly expand" its business for its strategic clients, who are mostly billionaires, according to a memo from Philipp Wehle seen by Bloomberg and confirmed by a bank spokesperson. As part of that, Switzerland’s second-largest bank will employ more so-called strategic client partners primarily responsible for the richest customers.

Credit Suisse is pushing deeper into the ranks of billionaires, putting it into closer competition with larger rival UBS Group AG. The international wealth business has focused on Latin America, Europe, the Middle East and Africa and was led until recently by Iqbal Khan, who moved to UBS at the beginning of this month and was replaced by Wehle.

The bank will also place its hybrid digital offering fpr primarily affluent to high-net-worth clients into a new unit called Private Banking International led by Raffael Gasser, who takes over from Gianpiero Galasso.

Credit Suisse Chief Executive Officer Tidjane Thiam has been devoting more face time to top private bankers and holding talks on boosting pay as he seeks to prevent defections after Khan’s exit, people familiar with the matter said earlier this month.

The CEO has been reaching out to the best revenue generators at the international wealth business to discuss compensation and career prospects since Khan left in the summer, paying particular attention to emerging markets such as Brazil, the Middle East and emerging Europe, the people have said.

A scandal erupted over Khan’s departure after it was reported that Credit Suisse had its former employee followed to make sure he didn’t try to encourage others to defect. The bank’s own probe led to the ouster of Chief Operating Officer Pierre-Olivier Bouee, a key ally of the CEO, though it didn’t find wrongdoing on Thiam’s part.

This article was provided by Bloomberg News.