It’s totally voluntary and the Talent Managers Association is against it but SAG-AFTRA today introduced a Personal Manager Code of Ethics and Conduct. The new code (see below) is the first time the union has attempted to exercise some control over managers even though it has, as do other guilds, long mandatorily regulated talent agents. The union also announced that it would change the name of its Agency Relations Department to the SAG-AFTRA Professional Representatives Department. Years in the making the new Code doesn’t jibe with some of the people who were initially involved in crafting it. “After thoughtful review and consultation with legal counsel, our position is to advise members against signing the SAG-AFTRA code in its current highly restrictive and regulatory form,” said the TMA board in a statement. The announcement today by SAG-AFTRA comes just weeks before the union is expected to announce the beginning of talks with the studios and networks for a new 3-year contract. DGA members approved their deal with AMPTP in January and the WGA, who started negotiations on February 3, returns to talks today after break of a couple of weeks
LOS ANGELES – March 4, 2014 — SAG-AFTRA has finalized its Personal Manager Code of Ethics and Conduct, a voluntary agreement that is designed to promote honest and ethical relationships between the union’s members and the managers they choose to represent them.
As a sign of commitment to its burgeoning relationship with the personal management community, SAG-AFTRA’s Agency Relations Department is now known as the SAG-AFTRA Professional Representatives Department.
The Code has been years in the making and, over the last several months, included close work with the talent management community. Its purpose is to further enhance relations with personal managers and ensure SAG-AFTRA members have access to appropriate representation.
“The establishment of the Personal Manager Code of Ethics and Conduct is a true ‘win-win,’ assuring important protections for SAG-AFTRA members while providing significant and meaningful benefits to our listed personal managers. We look forward to working more closely with our listed personal managers to further the interests of our members,” said SAG-AFTRA Chief Operating Officer and General Counsel Duncan Crabtree-Ireland.
While the important role of personal managers has continued to grow in the industry, the union has never formally established a working relationship with the personal management community. However, SAG-AFTRA’s daily interactions with both members and the personal management community have clearly indicated a desire and need for closer ties. Creating the Code of Ethics and Conduct — an initiative driven by the SAG-AFTRA membership — will provide a safe place for managers and performers to land and helps facilitate their relationship.
“This Code of Ethics and Conduct was conceived and executed by our members,” said Zino Macaluso, National Director and Senior Counsel, Professional Representatives. “We are thrilled to release the final document after years of input from our members and the management community. SAG-AFTRA looks forward to establishing a closer, mutually beneficial relationship with this community to advance the needs of all concerned.”
“Today marks a great step forward in honest and ethical talent representation,” said manager Gerry Pass of Chrome Artists Management. “This is SAG-AFTRA’s recognition of the vital work that managers do on behalf of actors, while at the same time we see all talent managers held to a higher standard. This is truly exciting.”
Signing the Code of Ethics and Conduct remains completely voluntary and protects both the manager’s business and SAG-AFTRA members by deepening the ties between managers and the union. Interested personal managers can download the Code and application and file the necessary documents in order to be listed with the union by visiting the SAG-AFTRA website here. Personal managers who believe their business model mirrors the goals of the Code are encouraged to apply.
The Personal Manager Code of Ethics and Conduct includes preconditions to which managers must agree before signing. Highlights include:
Putting the member’s interests above their own and not deriving personal gain at member’s expense.
Being truthful and acting in an honest, ethical and appropriate manner.
Acknowledging they will not solicit employment for their client, except under the control and direction of a franchised agent.
Encouraging SAG-AFTRA member clients to uphold their obligations to the union.
Keeping SAG-AFTRA member clients’ funds segregated in an escrow or trust account.
Never using self-renewing provisions or collecting upfront/advance fees or charges of any kind.
Respecting and supporting the relationship SAG-AFTRA members have with their talent agents.
Not being licensed by any state as a talent or employment agency.
Assisting a SAG-AFTRA member client’s search for a talent agent.
Agreeing to arbitrate disputes through SAG-AFTRA.
Personal managers who sign onto the Code of Ethics and Conduct will have their name and information listed on the SAG-AFTRA website, similar to how current franchised agents are listed online.
“The number of benefits we can offer personal managers listed with us is significant and meaningful. We hope interested personal managers will examine the Code and ask questions about both the process and the benefits of affiliation,” said Macaluso.
The Code does not, and is not intended to, interfere with any future or existing relationships between members and their managers who are not signatory to the Code, nor does it create a conflict with the union’s two franchised agency agreements.
A copy of the Personal Manager Code of Ethics and Conduct can be viewed at http://www.sagaftra.org/managers.