Paul Lambert

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

Last Updated: 06/27/2017

Executive Summary

Lambert is Market President, 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 continues 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 married, to Lisa.
  • He and his wife 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 will begin the seventh grade at Hinsdale Middle School.
  • They moved to Hinsdale in 2007.
  • An active community leader, Lambert currently 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 is a native of Buffalo, New York.
  • 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."
  • Lambert in an October 2016 LinkedIn blog posting wrote, "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."
  • Eight of his nine marathons were in Chicago; the other was in New York City, in 2007. "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."

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, with total assets of nearly $2.25 billion as of March 31, 2017. 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, 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 in December 2015, on the eve of Lambert's appointment to the position.
  • Kudos to the Team: Lambert in a June 2017 blog posting to LinkedIn 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.
  • Chicago Marathon a Boon to City: The Bank of America Chicago Marathon "is now a mainstay in Chicago," the Chicago Business Journal observed in October 2016. "It's also an annual event with significant economic impact. Marathon officials ... revealed details of an independent study of the economic impact of the 2015 race. The study found the marathon's overall impact in 2015 was $277 million, a 9% boost over the 2014 race's impact. The new report showed that $112 million of that total impact was directly related to travel, lodging, entertainment and transportation, with another $165 million in indirect impact in various sectors of the local economy. Marathon officials said the totals represented the equivalent of 1,948 jobs and $94 million worth of wages and salary income. Noted ... Lambert...: 'The marathon's economic impact continues to grow, increasing by more than $23 million from 2014 to 2015. The marathon's success is largely due to our enduring partnership with the city, its residents and businesses.' The Bank of America Marathon had 39,499 participants last year. Of those, 27% said they were visiting Chicago for the first. Among other highlights of the economic impact study, spending on shopping nearly doubled year over year to $33 million, and spending on entertainment increased 51% year over year to $8 million. The independent study of the marathon's economic impact was conducted by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign's Regional Economics Applications Laboratory.
  • AI-Powered Digital Assistant: Bank of America Merrill Lynch plans to debut in 2017 an AI-powered digital assistant named Erica, which consumers can chat with through voice or text message through the bank’s mobile app, according to a May 2017 Wall Street Journal article. 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. Erica, which was announced in October 2016, is currently going through testing, and when it debuts later this year, Erica will join a number of other chatbots in industries ranging from finance to airlines.
  • Rolling Out Robo-Advisors: Merrill Lynch's robo-platform has officially opened up for clients who have at least $5,000 to invest with the Bank of America unit, Investment New reported in February 2017. 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. On an April 2017 earnings call Bank of America CFO Paul Donofio said, "Merrill Edge [BofA's robo-platform] continues to attract customers who want a self-service investment option as accounts are up 11% from Q1 2016. We now have more than 1.7 million households that leverage our financial solution advisers and self-directed investment platform...."

Key Challenges

  • Leadership Shakeup: Bank of America's new wealth management chief, Andy Sieg, "is reorganizing his Merrill Lynch herd," Bloomberg reported in March 2017. "In a broad leadership shakeup ... Sieg cut the number of divisions within Merrill Lynch to six from 10 and promoted Mike Adornetto to serve as Chief Operating Officer for wealth management. At least four of Sieg’s regional deputies will leave the company or seek new positions, according to a staff memo obtained by Bloomberg. He granted several other executives new or expanded roles." “Our shared objective is to make the organization feel like a smaller, more tightly integrated firm,” Sieg said of the overhaul. Bank of America promoted Sieg to replace John Thiel atop the unit at the start of this year, putting him in charge of more than 14,600 advisers who help sell securities and other investments to customers. The reorganization is aimed at making the business more efficient - with Adornetto overseeing a review of how staff spend their days, so that they can be freed up to focus more on attracting and serving clients, according to the memo. Sieg, 49, assumed his current post with more than 20 years of experience at the firm, and began enacting changes quickly. In January, he said the business will more clearly disclose fees that clients pay financial advisers. The firm, he said, would follow through with plans for client-friendly changes despite uncertainty over whether U.S. regulators would enact planned rules imposing a fiduciary standard. His memo outlines more than a dozen leadership changes. Here’s the new regional breakdown: Bill Lorenz will run the Northeast (previously, he led Mid-Atlantic). Lindsay DeNardo Hans will run the Mid-Atlantic (previously, Metro-Philadelphia). Eric Schimpf will run the Southeast (previously, South Atlantic). Lambert will run the Midwest (previously, Mid-America). Vince Fertitta will run the Texas Mountain South (previously, Lone Star Market). Jeff Markham will run the West (previously, Texas Mountain South). Four people are giving up regional posts: Linda Houston, who ran New England, will retire; Jim Dickson, who ran the Greater Midwest, is leaving to pursue other opportunities; Jeffrey Tucker, who ran New York Metro, will take a new assignment at the firm; and Tom Fickinger, who ran the Pacific Northwest, is considering new opportunities. And others are taking new roles leading businesses or initiatives: Don Plaus, who ran the Southeast, will run the private banking & investment group and international operations; Ben Prince, who ran the Southwest, will develop a strategy focused on smaller, community markets; Hong Ogle, an executive in Houston, will run an adviser-development program; and Kirstin Hill, who oversaw personal retirement, will focus on efforts to measure growth and attract clients, including compensation for financial advisers. Sieg reports to Terry Laughlin, the global head of wealth and investment management. Laughlin’s business, which also includes the U.S. Trust unit, is the smallest of Bank of America’s four main divisions, generating $2.77 billion in profit last year. But the division posted the second-highest growth, increasing 7.9%.

Biographical Highlights

  • Born circa 1969.
  • Lambert earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Management Science/Finance from the State University of New York (SUNY) Geneseo.
  • 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, Albany, New York
    • Resident Director, Central New York Complex
    • Associate Director, New York City Metropolitan Region (2001)
    • Associate Director, Paramus Complex, Paramus, New Jersey (November 2001 - May 2004)
    • Director, New York Capital Complex, Albany, New York (May 2004 - September 2007)
    • Regional Managing Director, MidAmerica Private Banking & 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 & 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)
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Contact Information

135 South LaSalle Street
Chicago, IL, 60603
United States

(312) 443-2000

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Personal Interests

  • Marathons
  • Running

Other News and Interviews

Interview about Chicago Marathon, October 2016