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Minutes | Board Finance Committee (BFC) Meeting 10 June 2019

BFC Attendees: Maarten Botterman, Ron da Silva (Chair), Danko Jevtovic, and Tripti Sinha

BFC Apologies: Khaled Koubaa

Other Board Member Attendees: Avri Doria, Rafael Lito Ibarra

ICANN Org Attendees: Michelle Bright (Board Content Coordination Director), James Caulfield (VP, Risk Management), Elizabeth Le (Associate General Counsel), Becky Nash (VP Finance), Wendy Profit (Manager, Board Operations), Shani Quidwai (Director of FP&A), Amy Stathos (Deputy General Counsel), and Victoria Yang (Operations Program Manager)

Invited Guests: Representatives from Bridgebay Investment Consultant Services

The following is a summary of discussions, actions taken and actions identified:

  1. BFC Workplan – The BFC reviewed its Workplan, which is on target.

  2. ICANN Org Investment Performance and Compliance Update – The BFC received its annual update from ICANN organization and Bridgebay Investment Consultant Services, on the performance of ICANN org's New gTLD and Auction Proceeds investments and compliance with the approved ICANN Investment Policy. The role of the BFC is to perform oversight, by delegation from the Board, of ICANN org and Office of the Chief Financial Officer in their responsibility of managing the investments. The total funds under management as of 31 March 2019 is US$464 million. This amount is split into two types of funds: the ICANN operations related funds of US$151 million and the New gTLD Program related funds of US$312 million. The consultant performed an independent investment performance review focused on the investments of the New gTLD Program funds, including new gTLD application fees and auction proceeds. The review found all investments were in compliance with the ICANN Investment Policy. The investments are managed by three large, experienced investment managers at different investment firms. The investments are held at two large, well-established custodians with strong financial-strength ratings. The three managers are providing reasonable rates of return for conservative portfolios that meet the objectives of preservation of capital and liquidity. The consultant also highlighted market changes and opportunities for increasing investment returns and exploring environmental, social and governance (ESG) investments that are aligned with ICANN's values. The consultant also discussed the new index (SOFR) that will be replacing LIBOR effective 31 December 2021. The consultant recommended that the Investment Policy needed to be updated to include the new index to achieve capital preservation. This will permit the portfolio managers to purchase floating rate notes that are issued at par and mature at par, thus providing for maximum preservation. The BFC agreed to consider updates to the Investment Policy at its next meeting. The consultant also provided an update on socially responsible investing. The consultant has evaluated the ESG investment approach of ICANN's three investment managers and concluded that two of the three firms have extensive experience in ESG investing. Based upon their review, the consultant recommends that the BFC consider adding ESG as a criteria to the Investment Policy. The BFC agreed to discuss this matter at its next meeting and asked ICANN org to provide additional information on the application of ESG investing, including which ESG metrics are most important and most aligned with ICANN.

    • Actions:

      • ICANN org to provide the BFC with additional information and recommended updates to the ICANN Investment Policy that reflect the BFC's discussion regarding SOFR, for consideration at the next BFC meeting.

      • ICANN org to provide additional information on the application of ESG investing, including which ESG metrics are most important and most aligned with ICANN for consideration by the BFC at its next meeting.

Published on 30 July 2019