The move is the first high-profile recruitment by Warburg since it lost the joint heads of equity capital markets to Morgan Grenfell last week.
Mr Holmes, 51, left Credit Lyonnais Laing after a furious row with Michael Kerr-Deneen, chief executive. Mr Holmes spent 19 years with Hoare Govett, and was head of Morgan Grenfell Securities when it was closed down in 1988.
He then joined Morgan Stanley for two years, before attempting to set up a brokerage boutique with Peter Quinnen, formerly of James Capel. When this failed to take off he joined Credit Lyonnais Laing.
A spokesman for Warburg said yesterday: "We think he's an excellent UK equity salesman and a proven team builder."
The current head of UK equity sales, George Pilkington, will stay as part of the team.
The spokesman refused to speculate on the level of bonuses Warburg will be paying this year, despite the bank's profit warning on Monday. Warburg's 5,000-odd staff will be notified of their March-year-end bonuses in April, and will be paid in July.
Following recent excitement, including the departure of Lord Cairns as chief executive and eight other employees, the spokesman observed: "No one has left today."
It emerged yesterday that the driving force behind Morgan Grenfell's hiring of Maurice Thompson and Michael Cohrs from Warburg was the urgent need to build a team for the imminent Deutsche Telekom flotation.
Morgan is the leading member of three global co-ordinators of the float, one of Europe's biggest privatisations. Mr Thompson and Mr Cohrs will be responsible for primary international equities at the combined Morgan Grenfell/ Deutsche Bank investment bank, and will report to Guy Dawson, head of Morgan's corporate finance division.
Analysts see Morgan as being well placed to build a leading London equities house by hiring individuals and teams because there is so much movement by top securities people at the moment.
Nomura, the Japanese securities giant, sacked 16 equities people a fortnight ago.