(Bloomberg) -- Morgan Stanley, the top-ranked merger adviser so far this year, hired Barclays' Brad Whitman for its financial institutions banking group.

Whitman will join the U.S. bank as a vice chairman in that group, after serving as Barclays’s head of financial institutions mergers and acquisitions, according to an internal Morgan Stanley memo. Mary Claire Delaney, a spokeswoman for the New York-based firm, confirmed the contents of the memo.

Barclays said last week it will eliminate about a quarter of the jobs in its investment bank and serve fewer clients in that unit as it stepped back from an effort to build a global bank. The London-based bank has suffered departures of key dealmakers in recent weeks, including Hugh “Skip” McGee, the firm’s most senior banker in the U.S.

Whitman joined Barclays through its purchase of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., which he had first joined in 1986. The Morgan Stanley memo was sent to employees yesterday by Jonathan Pruzan and Eric Bischof, heads of the financial-institutions group.

The New York Times reported Whitman’s hire earlier today.

Barclays said yesterday it hired Tom Vandever from Goldman Sachs Group as head of financial institutions M&A for the Americas.

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