FT Big Read

A dramatic decline in bond yields has added to the pressures of longer lifespans and falling birth rates to create a looming social and political pensions crisis, say John Authers and Robin Wigglesworth. In this report they examine the outlook for retirees. You can also listen to John and Robin discuss the pensions squeeze at podcast.ft.com.

 

After years of flat revenues, executives are hunting for new income streams, says Ben McLannahan. Can the Wall Street bank be a friend to the consumer and small businesses?

 

Midea’s €4.5bn purchase of robot maker Kuka was the largest ever Chinese takeover of a German company, and the latest in a string of deals that have made Germany the top target in Europe as Chinese investors seek innovative engineering and technology, says Guy Chazan. But it has raised concerns in Berlin for the country’s strategic industries

 

There is a dearth of new business start-ups across much of America, famously the home of capitalist mojo, says Sam Fleming. Domineering incumbents, too much red tape and an unwillingness to risk failing are all blamed for a worrying trend that is hurting productivity and depressing dynamism, Sam reports.

 

Xi Jinping, China’s leader since 2012, came from humble beginnings. How has he grown to have such power in such a short time and what does he want to do with it? James Kynge, the FT’s Emerging Markets Editor, talks to Kerry Brown, Professor of Chinese politics at King’s College, and Tom Mitchell, FT Beijing Bureau Chief.

 

Online fraud from software masquerading as genuine consumers is forecast to cost marketers up to $7bn this year — but the industry is finding such crime very hard to combat and even to detect, says Robert Cookson

 

The Brexit shock not only sent Italian bank shares sliding and raised doubts over reform of the industry. It also sharpened the conflict between Rome and the EU over state aid rules and put the political survival of Prime Minister Matteo Renzi at risk, say Rachel Sanderson, Alex Barker and Claire Jones

 

The likes of the US, UK and Switzerland are extending their reach as global policemen to track, recover and return stolen assets. Some groups estimate that as much as $1tn a year is stolen from developing nations. But in the crackdown on kleptocracy, Kara Scannell reports how authorities have faced difficulties in returning illicit assets to citizens

 

What will Brexit mean for the City of London? Whatever terms Britain manages to negotiate with the other 27 member states, countries across the EU are eager for a bigger bite of the financial services sector that the City enjoys the lion’s share of today, say Financial Editor Patrick Jenkins and FT reporters. The big question is which rivals are likely to benefit most

 

Six years after the deal that is still seen as a test case for Beijing’s industrial ambitions, the Swedish carmaker is back in profit, say Richard Milne and Christian Shepherd. But there are still challenges for the marque and its Chinese owner as Volvo tries to catch up with its rivals