UK model agencies accused of collusion
today May 25, 2016
Prominent modelling agencies, including Kate Moss’ and Cara Delevingne’s former agency Storm Models, have been accused of exchanging confidential information and even agreeing on a common approach to pricing.
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) alleged that from April 2013 to March 2015, FM Models, Models 1, Premier, Storm and Viva engaged in unlawful behaviour, which was also supported by the Association of Model Agents (AMA).
According to the CMA, the agents association regularly and systematically circulated to its members emails, known as ‘AMA Alerts’, which encouraged modelling agencies to reject the fees being offered by specific customers and to negotiate a higher fee.
During the period of the alleged infringement, the AMA’s business was managed by a Council composed of representatives of FM Models, Models 1, Premier, Storm and Viva. The CMA alleges that these 5 model agencies used the AMA and its Council as a vehicle for price coordination.
The Senior Director of the CMA’s Cartels and Criminal Group, Stephen Blake, said: “The allegations concern prices charged to a range of customers, including high street chains, online fashion retailers and consumer goods brands. The CMA alleges that these five model agencies sought to achieve higher prices in negotiations with their customers by colluding instead of competing.”
“These are provisional findings only and no conclusion can be drawn at this stage that there has been a breach of competition law,” he added.
The CMA will consider written and oral statements from the agencies involved and the AMA before deciding whether the law has been broken.
From the group of model agencies, perhaps the biggest ones are Models 1, which represents Linda Evangelista and Dree Hemingway; and Storm Models, which counts Jourdan Dunn, Cindy Crawford and Karolina Kurkova among its models.
Storm Models also hit headlines earlier this year when Kate Moss announced her departure after 28 years. It followed Cara Delevinge’s departure from the same company in 2015.
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