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Financial firms lobby hard against stricter protections

“The sting operation had the trappings of a Wall Street thriller, except that it was run by a team of Harvard and MIT economists. In an audacious experiment, the professors dispatched a squad of undercover operatives across Cambridge and Boston to pose as middle-class investors and ask retail brokers for investment advice.

“The results were revealing. Just 21 out of 284 brokers contacted by the phony clients recommended investing in index funds, which mirror broader market performance and carry the smallest fees.