When Swiss Bank Corp. wanted to boost foreign exchange trading in New York, it faced a problem. Traders wanted to cut costs, but the back-office staff simply did not know how the operation stacked up against those of competitors.

Swiss Bank scouted around for reliable information to gauge what it cost its most efficient competitors to process a trade but came up empty-handed. So the bank approached the biggest foreign exchange trading banks with an offer: Show us how your operation works; we'll all share the information; and Swiss Bank will pick up the tab for the research.

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