The latest survey of financial industry executives by PricewaterhouseCoopers and the Confederation of British Industry is encouraging, with reported business volumes up for the fifth consecutive quarter. But the results are also tinged with disappointment, as survey respondents’ forward-looking expectations have been far too optimistic in recent months.

Last quarter, a balance of 63% of respondents expected volumes to improve over the next three months; in the end, “only” 28% actually reported higher volumes for the quarter. In the latest survey, which closed on September 1st, a net 24% of respondents expect higher business volumes over the next three months. This can either be seen as a warranted moderation in forecast volumes or, given financiers’ recent tendency to overshoot, sign of a significant slowdown ahead.

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