Bankers need to pay - and not just the proper train fare!

Train at London Liverpool Street

I was going to pen a diatribe against Jonathan Burrows, the Blackrock fund manager who defrauded Southeastern trains out of a cool £42,000.

It would have read something like - if you screw up even once by committing a criminal act, however unblemished your career has been, you will face the direst of consequences and the full might of the FCA.

But then I lost the will to live, as I realised that I was not really that cross with Burrows at all. Talking to my mates on the desk here, the main feeling was that if you were going to go down for a crime, at least make it a big one!

In the case of Burrows, he committed a civil crime (although British Transport Police failed to prosecute him, which is in itself another crime if you ask me!). And since he was caught bang to rights, he was an easy target for the regulator. So example duly made and noted: 'I must pay the full train fare. Got it'.

Where I and most of society have a continuing feeling of disquiet is with the great number of City rogues who never seem to face justice at all - and end up defrauding a lot more people out of a load more cash.

Recent actions by the SEC and the FCA have generally targeted firms and their management, and have ended up exacting large fines which ultimately get paid by shareholders or even taxpayers. It’s only in the recent Libor and FX scandals that we’ve seen individuals facing prosecution.

People in finance need to understand that criminal behaviour is not part of the furniture, whether on the trading floor or in private life. Believe it or not, we need to work to a higher standard, and develop a wider moral compass. This comes with the territory, because we enjoy a great deal of responsibility and the rewards that go with it.

In short, bankers need to be upstanding citizens in everything they do. We need to clean up banking and keep it honest.

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