Morgan Stanley's wealth management arm for the super-rich hired a former Merrill Lynch private banking executive, Devon Baranski, to lead its U.S. Southwest region, according to an internal memo obtained by Reuters.

Baranski joins Morgan Stanley Private Wealth Management from Leerink Swann LLC, an investment bank specializing in healthcare companies, where he had been its wealth management head. He will be based in Los Angeles, according to the memo on Thursday from Private Wealth Management head Doug Ketterer.

The Southwest region represents one of the largest growth opportunities for Morgan Stanley Private Wealth Management, Ketterer wrote in the memo. The region continues to see growth of $10 million-plus households, with California having the largest portion of high-income households in the Western U.S.

Baranski previously worked at Merrill Lynch's Private Banking and Investment Group, where he was responsible for the Western United States and for which in 2001 he opened a flagship office in Los Angeles.

According to FINRA BrokerCheck records, Baranski worked at Merrill Lynch from November 1993 until January 2009, when the brokerage giant was acquired by Bank of America Corp. He was unemployed until joining Boston-based Leerink Swann in June last year, the records show.

(Reporting by Joseph A. Giannone, editing by Dave Zimmerman)