Jonathan Burrows: BlackRock Fund Manager and London Fare Dodger

Jonathan Burrows, a BlackRock fund manager for 20 years, has been banished from the finance industry by Britain’s financial regulator. The reason? Well, Mr. Burrows was commuting to work from the East Sussex to London — a one hour and 22-minute trek that should have cost him 21 pounds per trek. Instead, he boarded the train at a station that had no ticket barriers and then exited the train in London using a London train card, and all for about seven pounds. Mr. Burrows settled with the train company for 43,000 pounds and left BlackRock.

Mr. Burrows issued a statement indicating that what he did was “foolish.” He added that he only pulled the dodger stunt a few times and agreed to the high settlement to protect his identity. The dogged British press found him anyway. The financial markets regulator called his conduct “not fit and proper” for the financial industry.

Experts have differing views. A Citibank banker who teaches at a London business school said, “This is an extreme case. However, if you had asked me what fit and proper meant this morning I would have said it was honesty, integrity, and competence in business affairs and personal finances. I would never have dreamt they involved your train fare.”

The Barometer adds only that a thief is a thief is a thief. If they round the corners on paying their way on the Sussex train, they will round the corners on portfolios, statements, actions, timing, and on and on. They never do just one thing. Integrity is either there or it is not. And breaking the law is not a way to demonstrate one’s ethical values. There are not financial industry ethics and personal ethics — they are one and the same. Perhaps we should be checking into the train and subway hoppers to find the next market offenders.

About mmjdiary

Professor Marianne Jennings is an emeritus professor of legal and ethical studies from the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University, retiring in 2011 after 35 years of teaching undergraduate and graduate courses in ethics and the legal environment of business. During her tenure at ASU, she served as director of the Joan and David Lincoln Center for Applied Ethics from 1995-1999. In 2006, she was appointed faculty director for the W.P. Carey Executive MBA Program. She has done consulting work for businesses and professional groups including AICPA, Boeing, Dial Corporation, Edward Jones, Mattel, Motorola, CFA Institute, Southern California Edison, the Institute of Internal Auditors, AIMR, DuPont, AES, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Motorola, Hy-Vee Foods, IBM, Bell Helicopter, Amgen, Raytheon, and VIAD. The sixth edition of her textbook, Case Studies in Business Ethics, was published in February 2011. The ninth edition of her textbook, Business: lts Legal, Ethical and Global Environment was published in January 2011. The 23rd edition of her book, Business Law: Principles and Cases, will be published in January 2013. The tenth edition of her book, Real Estate Law, will also be published in January 2013. Her book, A Business Tale: A Story of Ethics, Choices, Success, and a Very Large Rabbit, a fable about business ethics, was chosen by Library Journal in 2004 as its business book of the year. A Business Tale was also a finalist for two other literary awards for 2004. In 2000 her book on corporate governance was published by the New York Times MBA Pocket Series. Her book on long-term success, Building a Business Through Good Times and Bad: Lessons from Fifteen Companies, Each With a Century of Dividends, was published in October 2002 and has been used by Booz, Allen, Hamilton for its work on business longevity. Her latest book, The Seven Signs of Ethical Collapse was published by St. Martin’s Press in July 2006 and has been a finalist for two book awards. Her weekly columns are syndicated around the country, and her work has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the Chicago Tribune, the New York Times, Washington Post, and the Reader's Digest. A collection of her essays, Nobody Fixes Real Carrot Sticks Anymore, first published in 1994 is still being published. She has been a commentator on business issues on All Things Considered for National Public Radio. She has served on four boards of directors, including Arizona Public Service (1987-2000), Zealous Capital Corporation, and the Center for Children with Chronic Illness and Disability at the University of Minnesota. She was appointed to the board of advisors for the Institute of Nuclear Power Operators in 2004 and served on the board of trustees for Think Arizona, a public policy think tank. She has appeared on CNBC, CBS This Morning, the Today Show, and CBS Evening News. In 2010 she was named one of the Top 100 Thought Leaders in Business Ethics by Trust Across America. Her books have been translated into four different languages. She received the British Emerald award for authoring one of their top 50 articles in management publications, chosen from over 15,000 articles. Personal: Married since 1976 to Terry H. Jennings, Maricopa County Attorney’s Office Deputy County Attorney; five children: Sarah, Sam, and John, and the late Claire and Hannah Jennings.
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