Fines for price-fixing modelling agencies reduced

The Competition Appeal Board (CAB) has reduced the penalties for five modelling agencies following their appeals.

A total of 11 agencies, which accounted for about 40 per cent of the market share, were taken to task two years ago by the Competition Commission of Singapore (CCS) for price-fixing activities.

Their conduct ran against the Competition Act which prohibits companies from colluding on prices.

The companies said they wanted to fight for better terms for local models, but collectively raised rates for engaging models under the front of an association. This affected photographers, fashion brands and show choreographers, said the statutory board on Monday.

Five of the 11 agencies - Bees Work, Diva, Impact, Looque and Ave, had appealed to CAB reduce the penalties. According to a statement, CAB said it lowered the fines as findings showed that the agencies' senior management were not an aggravating factor, and that a large part of the profits were paid to the models, which meant a lower margin for the companies. The total penalty for the five firms were reduced from $291,067 to $243,077.

"Trade associations should take care not to allow themselves to be used as a front for their members to engage in price-fixing or other anti-competitive practices. It is important for all parties to clearly and publicly dissociate and to report such conduct to CCS immediately," said CCS assistant chief executive Toh Han Li.

The other firms that had paid up fines were Phantom Management, Impact Models Studio, Electra Management, Linsan Models, Catworkz International and Quest Model Management.