UK Market Regulator Fines Modeling Agencies $1.9 Million for Price-Fixing

Britain's market regulating body has fined five of London's top modeling agencies and their trade association a total of 1.5 million pounds ($1.9 million) for colluding and in some cases fixing prices for jobs such as fashion magazine shoots and advertising campaigns. The Competition and Markets Authority (“CMA”) - a government entity responsible for strengthening business competition and preventing and reducing anti-competitive activities - said the agencies, which include FM Models, Models 1, Premier, Storm and Viva, worked with the Association of Model Agents in furtherance of the price-fixing scheme. 

"The parties regularly and systematically exchanged information and discussed prices in the context of negotiations with particular customers," the CMA said in a statement on Friday. "In some cases, the agencies agreed to fix minimum prices or agreed a common approach to pricing."

Models 1, Premier and Storm said in a joint statement they would appeal against the decision. "The CMA has not stated evidence of any discernible effect on competition in the UK," they said. "Despite this, the CMA has decided to impose fines which are out of line with their own guidance and those imposed in other comparable cases."

The regulator said its investigation looked into fashion magazine shoots and advertising campaigns, including some which paid 10,000 pounds or more, but added that none involved so-called "top models."