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Pessimism is taking hold of the Brexit discussion. European Union officials complain that divisions within the U.K. government are making negotiations harder because the end game is unclear and the Conservative Party is riven with conflict. Banks, property developers and advertisers warn darkly that a lack of clarity on the future may dampen investment and drive away jobs. There’s growing worry that Britain could crash out of the EU with no deal in place, and a cottage industry of Cassandras has sprung up to forecast how that chaotic outcome would affect everything from air travel to pharmaceuticals to food. — Andy Reinhardt
Coal calamity. Rio Tinto’s disastrous $3.7 billion Mozambique coal deal keeps coming back to haunt it. U.S. authorities have filed fraud charges against the company and two former executives. The SEC alleges that they “breached their disclosure obligations and corporate duties by hiding from their board, auditor, and investors the crucial fact that a multi-billion dollar transaction was a failure.” Meanwhile, the world’s second-biggest miner has another African misadventure on its hands, related to a $20 billion iron ore project in Guinea. Rio says it will “vigorously defend itself against these allegations.” The former executives also refuted the allegations.
Paying up. Billionaire hedge fund manager George Soros is giving his foundation billions of dollars ahead of an imminent tax bill. Money managers have until the end of the year to pay taxes on fees they earned from investors in offshore funds and had deferred payment on—a figure tax experts estimate is at least $100 billion. Donating to charities can help offset the levies. Soros has transferred almost $18 billion to his Open Society Foundations, a network of philanthropies.
New rules. More than half of EU countries are still scrambling to put new financial-market rules on their books. Firms must comply with MiFID II requirements before Jan. 3, and policy makers are still working to convert them into regulations. The rules mean firms have to start charging for market analysis—and investors will likely become more selective about what they read. Goldman Sachs is asking some clients to pay $30,000 a year for up to 10 users to access basic research. Meeting with analysts will cost extra.
Coming for you. Wall Street is entering a new era. The fraternity of bond jockeys, derivatives mavens and stock pickers who’ve long personified the industry are giving way to algorithms and, soon, artificial intelligence. Who’s most vulnerable to the onslaught of robots? Our interactive lays it out. Meanwhile, some bank executives who publicly embrace the trend toward automation fear privately about job cuts.
Playing it safe. Sweden considers itself a neutral country. Better known for participating in peacekeeping missions, its military has been largely passive when it comes to self-defense. But as tensions rise with Russia, the Nordic nation has found itself moving in a new direction: It is rebooting its military and collaborating with NATO in war exercises. Check out our photo gallery.
Schußing. It’s time to start planning for your winter holidays, and we’ve got loads of snowy inspiration to get you started. We’ve rounded up six of the most exciting ski resorts for the 2017-18 season and broken them down into personality-based recommendations. If you’re having a hard time making up our mind, take our interactive quiz to figure out the right resort for you.
Compiled by Andy Reinhardt and Leila Taha