Pearson's business title was one of only four daily newspapers to post a readership rise over the year, with the NRS estimating an average 53,000 more people picked up the newspaper on a daily basis compared to the previous year.
It comes despite circulation for the newspaper falling 6% year on year to 398,000 in the July ABCs.
Ben Hughes, global commercial director of the FT, said the figures "prove once again that readers are turning to a trusted and reliable guide during tough times in the financial markets".
The other daily newspapers to record year-on-year rises were The Times, which was up 4% to 1.8 million, The Guardian, up 3% to 1.2 million, and the Daily Express, up 2% to 1.6 million.
The biggest faller in the NRS was The Daily Telegraph, which lost an estimated 218,000 readers in the year, equating to 11% of its remaining 1.8 million. But circulation was only down 4.5% in July's ABCs.
Readership of the Daily Mail dropped 9% to 4.8 million, The Independent fell 3% to 679,000 and The Sun dipped 2% to 7.8 million.
The NRS results are based on a survey of an ever-changing pool of 36,000 adults. But its scope and variations led some to question the significance that can be attributed to it.
Eve Samuel-Camps, head of press at UM, called the NRS "one of those funny anomalies", noting: "Often you have circulation figures going one way and readership the other."
She said the latest survey did demonstrate how the FT was catering to an increased interest in the global economy, but pointed to the poor performance by The Telegraph as evidence such annual trends provide limited insight for dailies.
NRS chief executive Mike Ironside defended the "robust data" and said: "Over the years, the shapes of the curves between circulation and readership trends have been very similar."
He added: "The survey remains the single, largest readership survey in the world."
This article was first published on mediaweek.co.uk