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FCA bans former BlackRock MD for dodging £43k in train fares

The FCA has banned former Blackrock Asset Management managing director Jonathan Burrows for dodging £43,000 in rail fares.

The regulator found Burrows is not a fit and proper person and has banned him from performing any function in relation to any regulated activities.

FCA director of enforcement and financial crime Tracey McDermott says: “Burrows held a senior position within the financial services industry. His conduct fell short of the standards we expect.

“Approved persons must act with honesty and integrity at all times and, where they do not, we will take action.”

Burrows quit BlackRock in August after being found to have dodged £43,000 in train fares over a five-year period.

He avoided the £21.50 fare from Sussex to London by using his Oyster card to pay just £7.20 a day.

The FCA says on 19 November 2013, Burrows was stopped by a revenue protection officer at the exit gates of London Cannon Street Station and was found to have failed to purchase a valid ticket for the entire journey whilst travelling on the Southeastern train service from Stonegate railway station.

There are no ticket barriers at Stonegate and Burrows used his Oyster card to tap out at Cannon Street, paying the £7.20 maximum fare.

Burrows was interviewed under caution and admitted to evading his rail fares on a number of occasions.

He admitted to the FCA that he had evaded his train fare on a number of occasions and had done so in the knowledge that he had been breaking the law.

Burrows also admitted in the interview that he did not disclose his behaviour to his employer. The FCA says it took this into account in deciding what action to take.

Burrows says: “I have always recognised that what I did was foolish. I have apologised to all concerned and reiterate that apology publicly today.

“The settlement I made with Southeastern in March 2014 was for an amount significantly in excess of the value of the fares not paid by me on the small number of occasions that I failed to pay. Indeed the size of the settlement could be said to have led to a distorted perception of the scale of my wrong-doing. However, that does not change the fact that what I did was wrong, and I accept that.

“In view of this, I have been told by the British Transport Police that they do not regard it as being in the public interest to pursue a case against me.

“While I respect the FCA’s decision today, I also regret it, coming as it did after a 20-year career in the City that was without blemish.”

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Comments

There are 18 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. E L Wisty (an only twin) 15th December 2014 at 10:29 am

    We are all human and I am sure that there are very few people who have never acted in a manner, at some point in their lives, that could be judged as falling short of the mark. Whether it be speeding or failing to tell a shop assistant that you’ve been undercharged.

    However, Mr Burrow’s behaviour goes way beyond such foibles and clearly shows him to be devoid of any acceptable standard of honesty or integrity. Indeed, when caught, he tried to buy himself out of trouble and failed to notify his employer.

    Personally, I am very glad that the FCA has taken this action and I do hope that it is published widely, so that the general public do see that action is taken against those who are unfit and improper.

  2. There is no denying Mr Burrows guilt, but it sounds as if this maybe a daily occurrence for similar travellers ? not just Mr Burrows.

    This maybe besides the point !! but come on Tracey where are the bans for the major players in the recent banking issues !! or the recent FCA debacle ? loss of bonus or fine is rather wishy washy, compared to losing your whole livelihood on top of whatever penalty has been applied by the police.

    There is no excuse, for a “non direct line of responsibility” for you or the banks ! some-one somewhere is responsible and has created a dam site more damage than Mr Burrows

  3. Marvin the paranoid android 15th December 2014 at 10:46 am

    to paraphrase the queen of mean…”Only little people pay fares”…. what an idiot…. it demonstrates the sort of attitude with which the mainstream press continue to demonise our industry…

  4. MP’s Expenses: The Sequel

  5. The FCA, acts too harshly. Infact very heavy handed.

    If such treatment is considered fair and balanced, why do no offer Professional bodies not practice equivalents.
    Solicitors, are the most under regulated, because the Solicitors Regulatory Authority has no Public remit
    and acts as a trade union.

    The Legal Ombudsman in order to instigate legal redress has to refer firstly to a trade union, as the Legal Ombudsman has no authority. But then solicitors are renown for protecting their own.

    Justice is not about anything other than the punishment should fit the crime. An over the top, powerful
    regulatory is not recognized. The vilest criminal gets incarceration balanced with hope, under the Human Rights Act Regulation, so what entitles the FCA, to act differently.

    To justify the punishment, look at the Financial Services Regulatory Management, who failed and where promoted and sold off as experts to the industry. received twins Golden Hallo and Goodbye, or top be reemployed in either the Banks or Treasury.

    When reading of FCA justice, I reflect on Greenhouses without stones.

  6. The more I read this story the more my blood boils !

    Sorry EL Wisty; you are so wrong, this is one of may cases and reasons where “naming and shaming” is not right.

    And is the FCA the right organisation to determine who is and who isn’t “fit and proper” ? in light of the recent shambles that wiped off millions form those poor unfortunate life offices !

    No-one from the FCA has been declared “not fit and proper” or has been publicly named or shamed, all because, they state there is “no line of direct responsibility”
    All we have is an acknowledgement of incompetence, fudged reshuffle, redundancy, and loss or reduction in bonuses.

    RE-Mr Burrows,Even the old bill sees no point in taking this matter further, yes he’s guilty he has paid his due’s in full plus extra (so it reads)

    20 years unblemished career history, rubbished by the FCA, I publicly ask Tracey McDermott, let him or her without sin cast the first stone, or is it just like many of you at the FCA have never been caught evading a fare of some sort or any other ?

    You (FCA) are all in a line with no direct responsibility !!! it stinks and you stink !!

    I think I will go collect my teddies now, and put them back where they should be !

  7. Right I know my boundaries now: money laundering, fine; for-ex/commodity market abuse, fine. I’d better make sure I paid my TV licence this month though.

  8. E L Wisty (an only twin) 15th December 2014 at 2:40 pm

    @ DH

    I see where you’re coming from. Particularly, when last week’s closed book debacle and the FCA’s refusal to hold anyone to account is considered. However, the failings and duplicity of the FCA itself should not be a justification for ignoring or watering-down the fitness and propriety obligations. In other words, the fact that the FCA employ a ‘do as I say and not as I do’ approach, should not waive the need for bad apples to be held to account.

    I accept that this individual will end up paying a penalty in loss income that is significantly more than the fares he dodged. However, he routinely evaded fares, which is de facto criminality – there can be no doubt that he is lacking even a basic level of honesty and integrity.

    How can we expect to have the support and respect of the public if we do not take action against the likes of Mr Burrows? The fact that the FCA is political and self-serving should not undermine the occasional right decision.

  9. “20 years unblemished career history”

    Unblemished my proverbial, he committed theft every single day of his life for five years. If he’d filched £14 from clients’ accounts every single day in a penny-shaving fraud would that still be an unblemished career for as long as no-one found out?

    I fully agree that the greater frauds should also be prosecuted, but the fact that bigger crimes go unpunished does not mean we can let off the smaller crimes.

  10. It is similar to how the Americans got al Capone. Not for racketeering, but for tax evasion.
    Does fit and proper only refer to financial honesty or will we see people/who have affairs outside marriage and lie to their wives deemed not fit and proper?
    Drunken drivers? Oh sorry I forgot there is a precedent for that at the FSA already, drunken driving does not affect fit and proper.
    What about husband beating?
    Being rude to FCA staff or as I have had the reverse, FCA staff calling me names (which I actually found quite funny, but did make sure I got an apology as you would with any other big employer)
    Can the FCA deem us not fit and proper because we are awkward or make their lives difficulty by being particular and highlighting their shortcomings and areas for improvement as they do to advisers?
    Where is the line between the FCA imposing this lifetime ban against Mr Burrows and them doing it to me over my disagreement on principle with regard their executive decision to remove the 15 yr longstop followed by 10 years of evasion?

  11. Oh yes, if Mr Burrows has NOT been convicted of any crime, which it appears he hasn’t then surely there are people in the Arch Cru debacle who have not been convicted and did deals with the FCA who could be banned for life too?

  12. I bet unlike the Police who would have cautioned him, the FCA enforcement staff did not caution him and nor did they allow him any representation.
    I probably would not employ Mr Burrows now myself, BUT is it right for someone who has not been convicted of a crime to be banned for life by an organisation which is outwith the legal system and does not caution people before interviewing them?
    This is the slippery slope.

  13. E L Wisty (an only twin) 15th December 2014 at 5:10 pm

    @ Phil Castle

    In my opinion, Mr Burrow’s behaviour and the FCA’s fitness to assess him are two separate issues.

    Notwithstanding the absence of a criminal conviction, there is uncontested, de facto evidence that he sought to evade train fares for a sustained period of time. Is this sufficient evidence to enable us to fairly, and objectively, assess his honesty, integrity, fitness and propriety? In my opinion, yes.

    Personally, I don’t care if he is morally flawed (which is subjective), but in terms of his fiduciary responsibilities, he must be beyond reproach.

    Where we are in agreement is that there is reasonable doubt over the FCA’s credibility to make such judgement. However, this is a wider point. As regards fitness and propriety, and in light of widespread concerns, I’m afraid that it is now incumbent on the FCA to demonstrate that such decision are non-political and without fear or favour.

    In this case, I believe that they got it right.

  14. Is it me or are people in financial services and banking treated differently to the rest of society!

    If this guy had been a rapist, a drunk driver or even a persistent shoplifter, then a mugshot would have appeared in the local press or even possibly the national news.

    Just because the individual is a white-collar worker working in financial services or banking we have lovely pictures of briefcases or bank logos but not of the individual.

    The same is true when we come to LIBOR fixing or exchange rate fixing and in that case it’s even worse we don’t even have any names.

    If financial services is to change its image then we have to start by naming and shaming those who have done wrong this is a good start why oh why do we treat somebody who is effectively cheated the system and showing his moral compass to be wrong with so much respect by withholding his picture.

    After all I suspect the Daily Mail would have done a superb piece on a benefit cheat with a full page cover including pictures of the wife and family although I do think that’s going a bit far. If we treat those at the bottom the system badly we should also have the same rigour for those at the top, otherwise you shouldn’t treat those at the bottom so unfairly. I suspect this man didn’t even go to prison for his offence he just lost his right to earn £1 million plus a year.

    We can see that the system is so wrong when a drug addict gets sent to prison for shoplifting for getting his latest fix instead of treatment and a banker just gets his licence taken away and is probably sitting on significant portfolio if he’s been a director within financial services so many years. Is it no wonder why the general public hold us with little or no respect when those working inside the industry should be showing a better example than this.

    I suspect it will pop up in some other high paid job just not within a regulatory environment.

  15. @Peter- Would I employ him NO. But as the Police chose not to charge him, he is not a convicted criminal. One should be asking why he wasn’t charged for his crime perhaps?
    If he had been tried and a sentence applied, then the matter might be quite different. TAt least one former head of the FSA was convicted of a crime, but the FSA were quite happy for him to work there and continue in the FS industry after he left?
    Will the FCA give us a list of crimes which can be committed and one can continue to be deemed fit and proper and ones which are NOT.
    If I remember correctly there was a chap accused of rape a few years ago, was suspended by his firm, but O think the case was dropped. Ks that any different to this as neither were proven guilty in court?

  16. Rt Hon Sir Arthur Streeb-Greebling 16th December 2014 at 4:41 am

    If I suspect my gamekeeper of bagging a couple of pheasants to feed his starving kids, do I debagg him? No harm done I say . I think he showed initiative and cunning. The sort of qualities we admired when we were fighting Hitler. Give that man a rise I say.

  17. Rt Hon Sir Arthur Streeb-Greebling

    “Give that man a rise I say”

    Just proves why you did not use your real name!!!

    Don’t let the door hit you on the way out of the industry will you.

  18. E L Wisty (an only twin) 16th December 2014 at 11:38 am

    @ Peter Herd

    I believe that Streeb-Greebling’s tongue is firmly in cheek; rather than a truly personal opinion!

    Besides, I’m sure that we all use our real names on this site!

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