Kayla Gardner

Vice President, Senior Financial Advisor
NMLS #1253897

110 N Wacker Dr
Chicago, IL 60606
Learn more about an advisor's background on
Whatever your personal goals may be, I will work together with you, one-on-one, to develop a personalized financial strategy designed to help you pursue your long-term goals.

Our team focuses on working with affluent individuals and families to address wealth management needs that extend beyond retirement income planning. We often assist these clients with financial strategies designed to preserve their wealth and pass it on to future generations, or to leave a charitable legacy. Gathering detailed financial and demographic information is critical to developing a successful goals-based investment approach. Our goal is to deliver customized service that surpasses client expectations. Every member of our experienced team strives to be easily accessible and readily responsive to client service requests.

Kayla joined Merrill as an advisor after graduating with a bachelor’s degree in finance from the University of St. Thomas – Minnesota. She started her career working with Merrill as an intern in our Manhattan office and has built a successful career helping clients ever since.

Kayla focuses on providing a holistic and customized wealth management approach. This method starts with discussing a client’s current and future goals, and assessing how the team’s capabilities could support them. She prides herself on her ability to listen to and interpret clients’ ideas about their financial situations, preferences and goals. She holds a leadership position on her team to help others leverage her acumen in the development of wealth management.

Additionally, Kayla has extensive experience working with corporate retirement plans, leading the team’s education program, relationship management, and development of 401(k) clients. Kayla holds two designations, including the Certified Plan Fiduciary Advisor, CPFATM and the Certified 401(k) Professional (C(k)P®). She can offer access to offer ERISA 3(21)(A)(ii) fiduciary advisory services for plans. She is an energetic problem solver who finds ways to address the needs of clients using the strengths of various resources of the firm. She is registered in every state, which allows her to work with clients as they move and grow throughout their lives.

Furthermore, Kayla is the co-chair of her team’s marketing and business development committee, leading the team in the latest strategies to connect with clients.

Kayla lives in Lincoln Park and enjoys traveling, cooking, skiing, and spending time with family and friends. In her free time, she fosters animals, volunteers, and is an Associates Board member with Wright-Way Rescue. Additionally, she serves on the Associates Board with The Cradle, an adoption agency for infants.

Forbes "Best-in-State Wealth Management Teams", 2023-2024
(Published annually in January. Rankings based on data as of March 31 of prior year.)
Forbes "America's Top Wealth Management Teams High Net Worth", 2022-2023
(Published annually in November. Rankings based on data as of September 30 of current year.)
Click here to learn more about advisor recognitions
Meet Our Professional Staff
Luke Slaughter
Registered Wealth Management Client Associate
Michael Bueno
Wealth Management Client Associate
Judson D Nierman,


Senior Investment Associate
Thomas O'Mera,


Vice President, Senior Business Manager
Michelle L Koehn
Assistant Vice President, Wealth Management Associate
Nicholas Kapetanos
Registered Wealth Management Client Associate
Claire Ann Radler,


Wealth Management Client Associate
Additional Resources
The following specialists do not make securities recommendations. Please contact your Merrill Lynch Wealth Management Advisor if you have questions about how a specialist might be able to assist you.
Faheem Chaudhry
Wealth Management Banking Specialist
Kurt Lorenzen
Wealth Management Lending Officer
Bank of America, N.A.
NMLS #228680
Jim Goodrich
Wealth Strategies Advisor
Bank of America, N.A.
About Merrill

Bringing fresh perspectives to your financial life

The financial decisions you make today can help determine the future you build for yourself and your family. Carving a clear path forward starts with connecting your life and finances. A Merrill advisor provides access to the investing insights of Merrill and banking capabilities of Bank of America to help you make informed decisions as you pursue your goals.

Sign Up for Perspectives Monthly E-Newsletter
Get the latest investment insights, tips and strategies to help you live your best financial life
Sign Up
C(k)P® is a registered trademark of The Retirement Advisor University, Inc.
Kayla Gardner is registered to do business in AK, AL, AR, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, HI, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS, MT, NC, ND, NE, NH, NJ, NM, NV, NY, OH, OK, OR, PA, PR, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, VI, VT, WA, WI, WV, WY.