The offices of Premier Model Management, Storm Management and Models 1 were reportedly raided this weekend, "following accusations they are working as a secret cartel", with computer equipment and printed documents seized and senior executives questioned. The investigation by the CMA has been ongoing since March, during which time it has been, "information gathering, including issuance of formal or informal information requests and parties' responses", according to its website. It needs to determine whether or not the Competition Act 1998 or Article 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union have been violated.
An unamed source told the Mail On Sunday this weekend that, "Big-name high-street retailers are desperate to drive the price of modelling fees down as they're having to shoot more clothes and from every angle for their websites. It's no longer about high-end glossy magazine shoots and the retailers believe they should be paying less. The agencies insist that they charge high prices because they're selling quality. It's a market and they set their own process and, while there may be industry standards, the allegation is that the agencies are meeting as a cartel to agree prices."
If found to be in breach of the act, the agencies could face fines of up to 10 per cent of their annual turnover. None of the agencies responded to requests for comment when contacted this morning.