Actors wondering if their managers are shady operators can now judge them using a new code of conduct issued by SAG-AFTRA.
The code, which has preconditions for managers to sign onto, isn't enforceable but it does create more transparency as signatories get listed on SAG-AFTRA's website the same way as franchised agents. Years in the making, the code is meant to provide "a safe place for managers and performers to land and helps facilitate their relationship."
"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," Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, SAG-AFTRA chief operating officer and general counsel, said in a statement. "We look forward to working more closely with our listed personal managers to further the interests of our members."
In conjunction with the new agreement, SAG-AFTRA also changed its Agency Relations Department to be the Professional Representatives Department. “We are thrilled to release the final document after years of input from our members and the management community," stated Zino Macaluso, SAG-AFTRA's national director and senior counsel of the professional representatives. "SAG-AFTRA looks forward to establishing a closer, mutually beneficial relationship with this community to advance the needs of all concerned.”
Some managers said they were "excited" about the union's first-ever personal manager code of ethics and conduct. Manager Gerry Pass of Chrome Artists Management called it a "great step forward in honest and ethical talent representation."
"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," Pass stated. "This is truly exciting.”
The code 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.