Paul T. Lambert

Paul T. Lambert
Market President, Chicago, and Midwest Division Executive, Merrill Lynch Wealth Management
Bank of America Corporation

Last Updated: 05/08/2018

Executive Summary

Paul Lambert serves as the Market President of Chicago for Bank of America Corporation, the nation's second-largest bank. He was appointed to that position in January 2016, replacing the retiring Tim Maloney, who had led the market since 2009. Lambert also continued to serve as the MidAmerica Division Executive of Merrill Lynch Wealth Management. In that position, which he assumed in September 2011, Lambert oversees the U.S. Wealth Management and Private Banking & Investment Group businesses spanning nine states in the Midwest, consisting of more than 1,600 wealth management and service professionals. (In a March 2017 reorganization, his title was changed from MidAmerica Division Executive to Midwest Division Executive.) Previously, Lambert served as Regional Managing Director for the MidAmerica Private Banking and Investment Group, where he led the firm’s ultra high net worth management efforts in the Midwest. Before relocating to Chicago, Lambert was the Director of the Merrill Lynch New York Capital Complex based in Albany, New York. During his tenure in Albany, Merrill Lynch received special recognition as one of the Capital Region Business Review’s “Best Places to Work” in 2005 and 2006 as well as the 2007 Capital Region Human Resources Association “Spectrum Award” for promoting diversity and inclusiveness in the workplace. Lambert joined Merrill Lynch in January 1992 as a Financial Advisor in the Rochester, New York office. He also held various leadership and coaching roles, eventually assuming the position of Associate Director for the New York City Metropolitan Region in 2001. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Management Science/Finance from SUNY Geneseo as well as the Certified Investment Management Analyst (CIMA) designation.

Personal Attributes and Interests

  • Lambert is a native of Buffalo, New York.
  • “My parents owned a clothing store in Buffalo, New York, where I grew up,” Lambert told the Daily Herald Business Ledger in a 2016 interview. “Watching my parents run their own business quickly taught me two things: how to work with people and the value of working hard. Since then, I've always applied these lessons to my professional career.”
  • “Upon graduating college, I chose not to continue in the family business but rather started as a manager's assistant with Merrill Lynch in Rochester, New York and then quickly became a financial adviser,” he continued. “Looking back, this was not only a difficult choice but also it led to incredible rewards as I developed leadership skills and grew as a professional within the company.”
  • Lambert and his wife Lisa live in Hinsdale, in the Chicago area, with their three children: Alex, Andrew, who graduated from Hinsdale Central High School in 2017; and Paige, who in the fall of 2017 began the seventh grade at Hinsdale Middle School.  They moved to Hinsdale in 2007.
  • He told the Chicago Tribune in October 2016 that he met his wife in Rochester, New York. "Her best friend was dating one of my best friends and they introduced us," he said. "We saw each other every day after that. We celebrated our 20th anniversary in September."
  • An active community leader, Lambert serves on the Board of Directors of Chicago Run and leads its fundraising efforts with the Bank of America Marathon.
  • He and his wife are also active in the Hinsdale Community House, where his wife serves as a Trustee.
  • Lambert wrote in an October 2016 LinkedIn blog posting, "In my house, running is a team sport. My wife, children and I all share a passion for running. This year, my son and I even ran the Bank of America Chicago Marathon together - my ninth, his first. Running keeps us healthy, but it also creates a bond that we share as a family."
  • Lambert ran his ninth marathon on October 9, 2016, finishing the Bank of America Chicago Marathon in 4 hours, 32 minutes. He ran in support of Chicago Run, which he said in an October 2016 interview with the Chicago Tribune "has running programs for youth in the city and targets neighborhoods where kids can't run for safety reasons. They run in the school or at a track nearby. It's about health, fitness and confidence."
  • "Once you run the Chicago marathon, it's hard to beat it," Lambert told the Chicago Tribune in October 2016. "It's a flat race relative to other courses. And so many people come out for it. Literally every part of the race, there is a party and bands and music. I tell people it's the best 26-mile tour of Chicago. It goes through 29 different neighborhoods, like Chinatown and Little Italy. And there are a lot of people running for charity, so that adds to it. I am so blessed to have our company support it. And this year my son Alex [ran]. It's his first marathon." (Alexander finished the race in 3 hours, 19 minutes).
  • Asked about his favorite places to train, Lambert said, "We like Waterfall Glen. Every now and then, we run Lake Shore Drive, starting near Wrigley Field, going south and then back up. We also have a place in Michigan and we run Lake Shore Drive there between New Buffalo and Michigan City."
  • Lambert said his favorite local restaurant is Talley's in Clarendon Hills.
  • His favorite movie: "Forrest Gump." Lambert says, "Not just because he runs, but because he is curious and authentic and just lets life happen."
  • He credits John Thiel, former head of Merrill Lynch Wealth Management, as his mentor. “He is an extremely dedicated worker and a servant leader with a client-centric focus,” says Lambert.  “He embodies the work hard, play hard and play to win mentality. Our bank is not a top down hierarchy but rather we work together to get the job done, and John does this so effectively every day. He is an inspiration to the type of leader I aspire to be and an excellent mentor in the financial industry.”

Current Focus

  • Company Snapshot: Bank of America Corporation is one of the world's largest financial institutions, serving individuals, small- and middle-market businesses and large corporations with a full range of banking, investing, asset management and other financial and risk management products and services. The company serves approximately 56 million U.S. consumer and small business relationships. It is among the world's leading wealth management companies and is a global leader in corporate and investment banking and trading. Based in Charlotte, North Carolina, BofA is the nation’s second-largest bank. Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BAML) is the corporate and investment banking division of Bank of America. BAML provides comprehensive market, industry, product and advisory expertise to more than 140,000 businesses around the globe. Globally, Bank of America Merrill Lynch serves clients and customers in more than 150 countries and has relationships with 99% of the U.S. Fortune 500, nearly 96% of the Fortune Global 500 and 33% of the FTSE 100. 
  • Specific Duties: As Market President of Chicago, Lambert works across the region to connect Bank of America’s business lines to deliver integrated financial services to individuals, families and businesses. He also leads Bank of America’s corporate social responsibility work in the market, which leverages the unmatched capabilities of the company to help partners, people, communities and a broad client and customer base more effectively address a wide range of issues. “Paul’s leadership in Chicago will ensure we are helping all of our customers and clients live their financial lives, through the power of every connection we can make with them,” Bank of America Chief Executive Officer Brian Moynihan said back in December 2015, on the eve of Lambert's appointment to the position.
  • In His Own Words: “Banking has changed -- the rise of mobile has impacted customers and created the opportunity for us to sharpen our focus on the needs of our clients -- to create a simpler, more dynamic relationship,” Lambert told the Daily Herald Business Ledger back in a 2016 interview that continues to resonate today.  “The next horizon for us is evolving the brick and mortar experience to help users achieve the things most important to their financial lives at every step of the way. Quite simply, Bank of America is on a path to revolutionize the banking industry.”
  • Business Mantra: Asked if he has a business mantra in the same interview, Lambert replied, “I have a few, but the first and most important is: work hard, play hard and play to win. Secondly, I believe in the financial services industry, you have to come in knowing the impact you can make on people's lives. It's essential we all think about the noble side of what we can do as an industry and realize the major impact we can make by helping others understand financial literacy and how they can take care of themselves financially -- something we all think about every day -without a lot of extra effort. There's an exhilarating side of banking, but there is a noble side of what we do -- we have to be grounded in the purpose of our industry.”
  • CDFI Partnerships: “Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) do tremendous good in our communities by connecting capital to people who might not otherwise have access,” said Lambert in June 2017.  Bank of America is the nation’s largest lender to CDFIs, helping them to provide capital, mentoring and financial advice supporting small businesses, affordable housing and nonprofit organizations operating in lower income communities. Through these CDFI partnerships, Bank of America is making more loans available and helping advance economic and social mobility for people and communities across the U.S.
  • Advancing Leadership and Empowerment of Women: Bank of America and Vital Voices Global Partnership brought together women entrepreneurs from around the world during its September 2017 Global Ambassadors Program (GAP) in Chicago.  The Chicago location marks the second time in the history of the Global Ambassadors Program that the mentoring initiative was held in the US.  The highly competitive program, launched in 2012 by Vital Voices and Bank of America, connects women leaders of small and medium sized businesses and social enterprise for mentoring and workshops focused on building organizational management, financial acumen and leadership skills.  “Women play a vital role in driving economic growth around the world,” said Lambert. “They’re leading local nonprofits to large businesses across the global. This program is just one of the ways we invest in women business owners in Chicago, and from other countries, providing an avenue to connect women and provide them support to take their company to the next phase.”  This program is part of Bank of America’s broader efforts to advance women’s leadership and economic empowerment both within the company and in communities around the world. In addition to global initiatives like its partnership with Vital Voices, the bank partners with many other national and local organizations that work to improve the lives of women and advance thriving economies. Working to reflect the communities where its employees live and work, Bank of America has strong representation of women at all levels of the organization and supports women through career development programs and industry-leading benefits including 16 weeks of paid parental leave, back-up child care and adult care services.
  • Bank of America Chicago Marathon: 2017 marked the 40th year of the Bank of America Chicago Marathon. In light of this milestone, organizers have focused on ensuring the next 40 years — and beyond. In 2016, the Bank of America Chicago Marathon became the largest marathon to earn the highest possible certification — Evergreen Level — from the Council for Responsible Sport. It’s the result of year-round planning that includes incorporating environmentally and socially responsible practices. Spectators along the course this year will see recycling efforts, food donation and water-fill stations. “Honoring the Bank of America Chicago Marathon’s impact on our community and the environment demonstrates how one positive action can make a huge difference in the lives of many,” said Lambert. “We’re proud to be part of this great initiative, and it builds on our commitment to becoming better environmental stewards in our local communities.”  Every dollar spent by a race participant in the 2016 race generated an additional $1.27 worth of activity distributed through the Chicago economy, based on a study from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s Regional Economics Applications Laboratory.
  • Kudos to the Team: In a June 2017 blog posting on LinkedIn, Lambert called out the members of his team who made Barrons' ranking of the top women financial advisors for 2017. He wrote, "SO proud of the following Merrill Lynch Mid West Division 2017 Top Women Financial Advisors: Christina Boyd, Wayzata, Minnesota; Sharon Oberlander, Chicago; Maureen Raihle, Chicago; Melissa Spickler, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan; Linnell Sullivan, Cincinnati, Ohio; Marie Vanerian, Troy, Michigan."
  • Move to New Quarters to Kick Off Hiring Spree: Bank of America's big Wacker Drive lease will kick off construction of a 51-story office tower, as well as a hiring spree by the bank in Chicago, the Chicago Tribune reported in May 2017. The bank has signed a nearly 500,000-square-foot lease to anchor the development at 110 N. Wacker Drive, a site currently occupied by mall landlord GGP's low-slung headquarters along the eastern edge of the Chicago River, Mayor Rahm Emanuel, the bank and the project's developers announced at a news conference, according to the article. BofA plans to plans to move about 2,000 of its 5,600 Chicago-area employees into the new tower starting in late 2020, Lambert said after the event. In addition, some of the space will be used to accommodate hundreds of new employees the bank plans to hire in the coming years, Lambert said. Bank of America has not said which buildings it is expected to move workers out of when the new tower is completed. It has offices throughout the city and suburbs, including 827,000 square feet at 135 S. LaSalle St. and 356,000 square feet at 540 W. Madison St. The Wacker tower will bring together divisions that meet daily with clients, such as consumer business, wealth management, commercial banking, small business and capital markets, Lambert said. "It's all a growth strategy," Lambert said. "The first step in growing is to bring (those divisions) all together, and then we are aggressively growing that footprint." BofA's lease for the lower 16 floors means that by early next year, the developers of the tower - Chicago's Riverside Investment & Development and Dallas-based Howard Hughes Corp. - can move forward on demolishing the GGP building and replacing it with a 1.35 million-square-foot tower. It will be the third office building taller than 50 stories to go up along the river during this development cycle, demonstrating the strength and duration of the ongoing run on brand-new space. Following a recession that ground development to a halt, many real estate experts projected there might only be enough anchor tenants to support one or two big, new towers. But a steady improvement of the economy since the recession and a wave of companies moving workers downtown from the suburbs and outside the Chicago area have boosted leasing activity. Bank of America was represented in the lease by Steve Steinmeyer, Senior Managing Director at Jones Lang LaSalle. The developers were represented by Drew Nieman, EVP at CBRE. The 800-foot-tall tower, designed by Goettsch Partners, gained Chicago Plan Commission and City Council approval in March. The design's most distinctive feature is a tall overhang, supported by V-shaped columns, to shelter a 45-foot-wide riverwalk that will be open to the public. The trapezoidal site is bordered by the river on the west, Randolph Street on the north, Washington Street on the south and Wacker on the east.
  • Add Texting Feature for Financial Advisors: In January 2018, Bank of America Merrill Lynch partnered with CellTrust on a new client-to-adviser text messaging service, reported American Banker. Financial advisers enrolled in Merrill Lynch’s mobility program will now be able to text with clients on both Apple and Android devices and through a web interface that provides secure access to corporate email, calendar and contacts from devices linked to their office phone numbers, Merrill said. With the CellTrust SL2 for BlackBerry app, all communication is time- and date-stamped, tracked, logged and archived. The program will roll out over the course of the next two months. The move is part of “an enhanced suite of digital features designed to make it easier for clients to collaborate with their financial advisers,” Merrill Lynch said. “Texting is just our latest investment in building our state-of-the-art digital capabilities – so that we can serve our clients when, where and how they want,” Sieg said. “It’s one more step toward making the full advantages of our combined Bank of America and Merrill Lynch platform of products and services easily accessible.”
  • Zelle Continues to Take Off: In October 2017, the Company announced that its customers made more than 5 million Zelle transactions, totaling $1.5 billion dollars in October, up 90 percent from person-to-person (P2P) transactions for the same period last year. The move to cashless shows no signs of slowing. Bank of America also reached more than 2.5 million active monthly Zelle P2P users, and continues to add thousands of new users every day. “Our customers are increasingly choosing electronic payments over cash, and Zelle is becoming their first choice for convenient, secure payments,” said the Company. “The introduction of Zelle has nearly doubled the adoption of our P2P technologies year over year.”  Bank of America, one of the founding members of the seven owner banks of Early Warning Services, LLC, the company behind Zelle, was one of the first banks to incorporate the benefits and features of the Zelle experience within its mobile banking app earlier this year. Zelle makes it easy for consumers to send, receive and request money, allowing them to use the existing contacts on their mobile device. Funds are sent from one bank account to another typically within minutes, when both parties are enrolled, using only a recipient’s email address or mobile number. In October, Zelle announced a surge in Q3 payments, resulting in more than 60 million real-time P2P payments, valued at $17.5 billion. Bank of America is one of the participating banks that offers users a split feature in its mobile banking app, for dividing expenses among multiple contacts or friends – such as a group dinner check – and the ability to add a personal note along with the payment transfer or request.
  • Mobile Banking Leadership: With 24 million active mobile users and growing, Bank of America’s mobile banking platform is an evolving source of increased customer engagement and satisfaction. During the third quarter of 2017, mobile banking customers logged into their accounts over a billion times, or approximately 49 times per user. During that same period, customers made more than 32 million mobile bill payments. Customers also used their mobile devices to deposit more than 330,000 checks daily and redeem over 1.2 million credit card cash and travel rewards. More customers are opening new accounts through mobile, with sales increasing by 38 percent over the past year.
  • Blockchain Partnership: As of September 2017, it has been one year since Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Microsoft joined forces on a project to use blockchain technology to make trade finance transactions faster, cheaper, safer and more transparent, reported Reuters. The two companies said that they would build and test the technology and create a blockchain-based framework that could eventually be sold to other businesses. Blockchain works as an electronic record-keeping and transaction-processing system that allows all parties to track information through a secure network and requires no third-party verification. Proponents of the technology, which originates from digital currency bitcoin, said that it will make all kinds of transactions faster, more reliable and easier to audit because it does not require manual processing, nor authentication through intermediaries. Trade transactions using the existing process typically take between seven and 10 days to complete and involve a complicated paper trail that is vulnerable to document fraud. "The underlying nature of trade finance in its current form is highly manual, it's highly time-consuming and it's paper-based, so we thought this would be a good opportunity to streamline the way trade transactions are processed," said the Company.
  • AI-Powered Digital Assistant: Bank of America Merrill Lynch has debuted an AI-powered digital assistant named Erica, which consumers can chat with through voice or text message through the bank’s mobile app, reported the WSJ in 2017. Speaking at a financial technology summit, executives said the chatbot represents the bank’s measured approach to artificial intelligence, developing uses for the technology only in areas where the Company thinks clients will truly benefit. “We’re trying to separate the hype from the client need,” said Aditya Bhasin, Bank of America’s CIO for consumer and wealth management technology. Bhasin said the chatbot can help consumers simplify and speed up transactions instead of wasting time navigating through the mobile app to find the right tabs. “Many apps today, including ours, are very menu-driven,” Bhasin said. “As more and more capabilities get delivered into these apps they become harder to navigate.” With Erica, a client could say things like, “I want to send money to a friend,” or “I want to pay a bill,” and Erica can easily facilitate the transaction. Erica could also harness the power of advanced analytics to give consumers suggestions about how they can better manage their personal finances. For example, if a consumer has a specified savings goal, Erica could alert them when there’s a balance left over in their checking account at the end of the month. The chatbot could ask whether they’d like to put the extra cash into a savings account or help the person set up an appointment with a financial solutions advisor. 
  • Robo-Advisors: Merrill Lynch's robo-platform officially opened up in 2017 for clients who have at least $5,000 to invest with the Bank of America unit, Investment New reported. Merrill Edge Guided Investing offers digital onboarding, portfolio recommendations and investing for an annual fee of 0.45%, plus fees charged on underlying funds in the portfolio. The exchange-traded funds available to investors have been evaluated by Merrill Lynch's investment team and will be managed by them, not a computer, according to the firm. The new offering is expected to be a hit with investors attracted to the familiar Merrill Lynch brand, though it does not include live advisers who clients can call for help about their investment portfolios, the article said. Traditional financial brands have had the biggest success among digitally-based financial advice platforms. Most of the established robo-advisers have found that they need to include some form of live planning and investment help if they want to attract large clients. For instance, Betterment recently created a more expensive service for investors who want someone to call or email for help. Merrill Lynch pointed out in its statement about the platform that it incorporates human advice into the process, though investors will not be able to call those experts directly. Clients identify an investing goal and provide other information about themselves, receive an investment strategy designed by Merrill Lynch investment experts, and then are given options to open and fund the account, the statement said. “Merrill Edge Guided Investing is our way of bringing together advice and technology to create stronger relationships with investors,” said Aron Levine, head of Merrill Edge, the Company's self-directed brokerage platform. Both Merrill Edge platforms are aimed at smaller investment clients. Working with a traditional Merrill Lynch broker typically requires a minimum of $250,000. Merrill Edge clients who have at least $20,000 invested can get live financial help about their portfolios for an annual fee of 85 basis points, according to David Poole, head of Merrill Edge Advisory and Client Services. 

Biographical Highlights

  • Born circa 1969.
  • Lambert earned a Bachelor of Science degree in management science and finance from the State University of New York (SUNY) Geneseo in 1991.
  • He is a Certified Investment Management Analyst (CIMA).
  • Lambert began his career in January 1992 at Merrill Lynch & Company and over the next 16 years held the following positions:
    • Wealth Management Advisor
    • Resident Director, Central New York Complex
    • Associate Director, New York City Metropolitan Region (2001)
    • Associate Director, Paramus Complex (November 2001 - May 2004)
    • Director, New York Capital Complex  (May 2004 - September 2007)
    • Regional Managing Director, MidAmerica Private Banking and Investment Group (September 2007 - September 2008)
  • Bank of America Corporation acquired Merrill Lynch in September 2008 and Lambert remained with the acquiring firm, holding the following positions:
    • Regional Managing Director, MidAmerica Private Banking and Investment Group (September 2008 - September 2011)
    • MidAmerica Division Executive, Merrill Lynch Wealth Management (September 2011 - March 2017)
    • Market President, Chicago (January 2016 - Present)
    • Midwest Division Executive, Merrill Lynch Wealth Management (March 2017 - President)

Contact Information

135 S. LaSalle St.
Chicago, IL, 60603
United States


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Personal Interests

  • Marathons
  • Running