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Board Finance Committee (BFC) Minutes 27 September 2013

BFC Attendees: Sébastien Bachollet, Cherine Chalaby (Chair), Chris Disspain, and George Sadowsky

Other Board Attendees: Steve Crocker

Staff Members Present: Susanna Bennett – Chief Operating Officer, Xavier Calvez – Chief Financial Officer; Megan Bishop, Jacks Khawaja, Elizabeth Le, and Amy Stathos

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

  1. Approval of Minutes – The BFC approved the minutes for the 12 July 2013 and 7 August 2013 meetings.

  2. FY14 BFC Schedule – The BFC reviewed the schedule for FY14. The activities of the Committee for the year will revolve around three processes: quarterly reports, FY15 budget, and review of reserve and New gTLD funds.  With respect to the schedule relating to the FY15 budget, the BFC noted that the process will include the ability to proceed with adjustments for the strategic planning process as needed.

  3. FY14 Adopted Budget – The BFC reviewed the adopted FY14 Budget.

  4. Contingency Fund – The BFC reviewed the status of the FY14 Contingency Fund. The BFC was advised that none of the US$3.7 million that had been allocated to the contingency fund has been used.

  5. Operating Fund – The BFC reviewed the FY14 Operating Fund, which reflects an increase of approximately US$32 million in the last two months — US$17 million from the transfer of funds from the New gTLD account to the Operating account for the repayment of historical development costs and US$15 million for the reimbursement of direct and allocated costs.

  6. Reserve Fund – The BFC reviewed the FY14 Reserve Fund. The BFC noted the pending proposal to return funds to the Reserve Fund, with the first transfer of US$17 million to take place immediately after Board approval for the repayment of historical costs from the New gTLD Program upon approval.

  7. New gTLD cash/investments – The BFC reviewed the New gTLD cash/investments and reported that the cash on hand has decreased by US$33 million over the past two months as a result of the repayment of historical development costs to ICANN operations (US$17 million), the reimbursement of direct and allocated staff costs to ICANN operations (US$15 million), and other various disbursements (US$2 million).

  8. Historical Development Costs for the New gTLD Program – The BFC reviewed and discussed the proposal that will be presented to the Board at the 27 September 2012 meeting regarding historical development costs incurred by ICANN relating to the New gTLD Program. The presentation will include a definition of historical development costs, summary of costs by category and repayment method. The BFC noted that the repayment became due starting July 2012 as the evaluation work began and all the application fees were collected. The repayment method is progressive as the evaluation work advances and application fees become non-refundable.  The repayment has been reviewed and validated by three accounting firms. The first bank transfer took place in August 2013 in the amount of US$17 million, constituting the cumulative repayment for the period from July 2012 to June 2013. The BFC discussed the proposal to return funds to the Reserve Fund, with the first transfer of US$17 million to take place immediately after Board approval, and thereafter on a quarterly basis until the full amount of historical development costs has been repaid.

    • Actions:
      • Staff to confirm that all historical development costs incurred have been identified and captured.
      • Staff to make minor adjustments to the resolutions to be presented to the Board for approval.
  9. FY15 Budget Process – Staff reported on factors that should be taken into consideration in the FY15 budget process.  Improvements considered include: (i) adding a more explicit rationale for the spend by functional area and communicating this with the community and the BFC; (ii) changes relating to the ICANN strategy panels' output and recommendations as they are adopted, which will not yet be finalized but need to be considered; and (iii) improvements to the public comment process. 

  10. Status Update on Reserve Fund Target Setting – The BFC previously considered engaging an independent advisor to analyze and recommend a target amount and governance approach, but given the cots, among other things, the BFC discussed alternative options, including engaging a small working group of community members with financial expertise to help develop options for reserve fund target setting.

  11. Any Other Business

    • Budget Public Comment Process – Staff reported that ICANN is in the process of addressing issues raised concerning the quality of the responses to comments submitted during the FY14 Budget process.  Once the issues have been identified, ICANN will submit proposed improvements to the process for implementation for the FY15 Budget.

Published on 8 May 2014