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Chicago’s rich history of financial innovation is world-famous for a reason. In 1848, the Chicago Board of Trade launched to promote commerce—most notably around agricultural commodities.

Today people recognize Chicago for its role in revolutionizing global finance. It’s here where financial futures, options, and derivatives trading began. This vibrant and bustling history made Chicago a unique global nexus for finance and technology.

Our modern life, with its many comforts, conveniences, and freedoms, critically depends on the financial plumbing Chicago provides. Most days we take for granted the hard work that began 150 years ago, but its impact remains with us always. Its effects are felt in the lives of consumers worldwide. Every day, the financial instruments and technologies, forged in Chicago, influence everything from credit card interest rates to the cost of gasoline to the price of deep dish pizza.

What makes Chicago exceptionally positioned to lead from the front? It is not a penchant for scientific discovery, nor education, nor engineering skill—though there is no shortage of such world-class institutions in the Windy City. For example, Chicago is a global leader in economics, with 32 researchers affiliated with the University of Chicago awarded the Nobel Prize in economics. It’s also not the entrepreneurial spirit with a passion for transformation that built a sleepy lakeside trading post into a bustling global city. These pieces are certainly important, but what makes Chicago unique is a willingness to roll up its sleeves and take challenges head-on.

Nobel laureate Robert Solow proved 40 years ago that the well-being of an economy is linked to its ability to innovate. Kenneth Arrow, another Nobel laureate who spent time in Chicago, observed that financial innovations may very well be just as important to economic development as technological innovations, such as the semiconductor or steam engine. Financial innovation has proven itself vital to progress—a steady tide lifting boats across the centuries. Such creativity helped make the American economy what it is today, offering future generations more hope and promise than those preceding them.

While technological innovation represents one of the most powerful forces to shape human history, financial innovation is less obvious. Still, they are equally significant factors. Since financial innovation has historically favored institutional and wholesale channels over the retail mass market, this lack of renown is not altogether surprising.

Halo Investing is out to change that. A recent USA Today poll found that 51% of those surveyed thought the economy is in a recession or depression. Sadly, financial stress is an unnecessary fixture of contemporary life. To no surprise, in a separate survey, 90% of respondents want their retirement income plan to include guaranteed income payments or, at least, principal protection.

Our award-winning platform does just that, helping ordinary investors access and assess protective investments for the first time. Additionally, Halo works with forward-thinking financial advisors to find creative ways to transfer financial risk while expanding access to cost-effective lifetime-income solutions.

It used to be that protective investments were offered only to high-net-worth and institutional clients. Through our groundbreaking technology, Halo’s platform democratizes these financial instruments by enabling access, reducing costs, and promoting transparency to ALL investors, regardless of wallet size. While Halo cannot eliminate all investment uncertainty, we can significantly reduce financial anxiety, increase retirement security, and allow investors and savers alike to enjoy positive financial outcomes with more confidence. Said differently, Halo offers hope to future generations at a time when hope is needed most. That’s true impact.

To help bridge the gap between technological innovation and financial inclusion, Halo’s mission as a FinTech company remains “Impact Before Profit.” Today, our team and culture embodies this vision and tireless passion for helping everyday investors and their financial advisors secure more stable financial strategies and more dignified retirements. It is not only what Chicagoans work so hard to secure, but also what the world strives so hard to achieve.

Today, investors face significant challenges, and effective solutions will require fundamental changes in both strategic execution and intellectual outlook. Thankfully, a new era of financial innovation is emerging. Financial innovation now requires combining and recombining entire fields of knowledge to make financial well-being more inclusive. A modern reality is that innovation is never a single event. The next generation of economic, cultural, and social advances require fundamental concepts to collide with important problems on their way to creating impact.

So why “Impact Before Profit”? To this end, Halo looks to Chicago’s humble agricultural roots, where prairie farmers used futures contracts to “innovatively” lock-in financial security. If the next big ideas are to truly deliver impact, we strongly feel they must be accessible to all, not just a privileged few.

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