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Stenography Transcripts



13 May 2020

6 p.m.

RIPE 80 Annual General Meeting

CHRISTIAN KAUFMANN:  It's a little bit like in the physical GM, I think we are about to start, I see new people coming in, so let's give it a minute or two more.  It's now 360 people going upwards, so, welcome to the RIPE NCC General Meeting.  And let's start here.

If you were there two GMs before, you might remember we have changed the rules for how we deal with dispute resolution and how the whole thing works.  This is a short reminder.  It is also the reminder that I appointed a secretary for this GM, with Athina, the Chief Legal Officer, as secretary, and the GM draft will be published two working days after the GM, so that is Tuesday next week, because this GM actually goes till Friday.  And then there is a web page where you can submit your objections if you want.

And with that, let's start.

We start with the report from me, as you already have seen in the NCC Services Working Group, the report from the NCC itself about the various topics.  So, today, what is for this GM is the report from the RIPE NCC, which I will give.  Then we have two financial reports from Gwen, one about the financial report itself, one about the charging scheme, and then for agenda item number 7, when we actually come to the Board elections which are up today, I will hand over to Piotr.  He is the secretary, therefore the unofficial vice‑chair, and he will run through the election as my seat is up and I am running again, he will then moderate the election and the session and then go from there.

That is an overview.  And, with that, let's start.

So, this is us, the Executive Board.  I am wearing the same jacket so I make that easy for you.  From the left we have Falk ‑ if you can wave ‑ then me, then Maria, Remco.  Piotr, Salam and, last but not least, Ondrej Filip.  So no changes there.

We were surprisingly busy since the last GM.  We actually had a lot of board meetings.  That has partially to do, and we'll go through them in a second, but that has partially to do with the fact that they were going through a transition from one MD to the next.  We had to split one‑board meeting because nobody wanted to spend eight hours in a Zoom call, and we had particular ones for sanctions and other parts, but I'll get to that in a second.  So this is why you see more of them as usual.

All of the minutes are published and you can find them in the regular place.

The first one was in, at the 21st October, meeting 129.  At this we started the transition.  The transition in that case means, as Axel stepped down after 20 years of service, we needed to find a new MD, we needed an interim solution, we were going for Gwen, Kaveh and Filippe.  We spread the load over three and appointed them, then we took the MD title away, the official terminology in legal is "dismissed", on the 15th November.  So that was basically two boards to three.

On the 12th December, we had regular board meeting with various topics.  We agreed to make the necessary provisions for the 2019 books regarding tax audit.  Gwen will talk about that.  We approved proposed amendments to the RIPE Atlas services terms and conditions.  We approved the amendment to the RIPE NCC procedural document.

We resolved to make the NRTM service public.

And we approved the RIPE NCC activity plan and budget for 2020, this year, and  and I'll talk a little bit about that process in a moment.

Meeting 131.  Was on the 18th March.  We resolved that the RIPE 80 meeting would be virtual, as you have figured out this week already.  When the first meetings actually like ICANN and other industry meetings started to go virtual, we of course had a board meeting as well.  In this case we were actually between the RIPE Chair, Hans Petter, at the time, and the Working Group Chairs, to see what they wanted to do because the GM in itself could have been independent from that, but as we already had a date, and the rest of the Working Group Chairs and the RIPE Chair actually decided that they'd go virtual and stay with the same week, we decided to do the same, especially as we didn't have to send a new invite and could actually stay with the date we already announced.

We had then one on the 26th March.  This was talked about in the Services Working Group as well; we extended the payment time frame for the 2020 invoices for existing members for three months.  That was one of our responses to the Covid‑19 to ensure that everybody can pay in time, doesn't get stressed with that part as well.

We approved the RIPE NCC annual report.  We approved the submission of the financial report 2019 to this meeting, the one you will see in a moment.

We approved the document for the certified professional terms and conditions.  This is the new services the NCC is offering, which you hopefully have heard about.  If not, you should really go to the website and check it out because it is really cool.

We also approved the publication of the draft agenda for this meeting, and the charging scheme you can vote on today.

Next board meeting:

So this is the legal talk and the board resolution for what was described in the sanction part in the Services Working Group.  This is the balancing act between serving our members and fulfilling the law.  So of course we have to stay within the laws, there is not a question about that part.  But then we really wanted to find a way and to serve the members and this is the part where the exemptions you have heard about it today the way we go forward.

Another point which we tasked the NCC to do is to go and give us regular updates about the RPKI.  A while ago we already made the statement that we see RPKI as something which is important and operational for the NCC, as we had a couple of hiccups in the past, three, six months we also decided that we really want to stay on top of that and have that now as a regular board item.

134:   So that was the 1st May.  This is the official starting date for Hans Petter Holen as the Managing Director of the RIPE NCC.  The three interim ones will be dismissed as of the 1st June, we decided to have a month's handover period, so that nothing falls between the cracks, and nothing goes wrong.

And something completely different is, the members mailing list, the members discussed mailing list which is usually for internal member conversations to talk about whatever information you want to have, services, and so on, was not just used for off‑topic conversations, but also the tone and the reactions got a little bit harsher than we wanted to.  We decided that we, unfortunately, have to moderate that, so right now the mailing list is moderated till the 1st June, and then I hope we can remove that again and go forward.

Ongoing work:

This is not different than any other slides before.  We have ‑‑ of course, our responsibility is to fulfil corporate governance and the fiduciary responsibilities.  We do the planning for the activity plan and budget every year, in that case the 2021 version which we then will share with you.  We got the RIPE NCC management.  We have liaison and cooperation with other RIRs and especially now in the transition phase, again from the three MDs to one, we, of course, have a close relationship with Hans Petter and help him from our point of view to be on board it.

These are the three resolutions you are able to vote on today.

Piotr has the pleasure to read them word for word.  You also have seen them in the invite, so, there shouldn't be much surprise there.  It's also not anything controversial or particularly difficult or different than usual.

Board elections:

We always say that board election is one of the biggest influence you have, so besides going and giving us feedback, when you choose a board member, then this is one of the biggest things you can do.  We have three seats open today.  Mine, Maria, we both go for re‑election, and Salam, which is ‑‑ has decided to not go for re‑election.  That's actually the point where I want to say thank you to Salam for the last years, and for all the hard work and contributions you have given to us.  Thanks a lot, especially also during the transition period with being the Chair for the select committee for the new MD.  Thanks a lot.  Much appreciated and you will be missed.

We are very happy to see for these three seats, actually eight candidates.  They will be presented in a moment, and then hopefully, you also have seen their statements and their bio on the website.  So, if ‑‑ yeah, please choose and the most important part is that you vote so that we have a big enough representation.  We actually have quite a lot of registrations this time, we'll show that in a moment ‑‑ and with that, something I wanted to quickly show.

This is something, a slide we don't really have.  But it came a little bit up in questions about the activities, but, funny enough, even more about the membership fee and lowering the membership fee.  And I thought, well, that's a fair statement, but actually let's have a very quick look how that works.

We have a revenue stream coming in on one side which is the membership fee plus the newcomer signup fee, which we don't really control so much.  And then we have various activities.  These are written down in the activity plan.  We have them for a long time.  It's updated and published every year.

The activity plan, two or three years ago, got a little bit more modern and fancy and has a higher granularity so you understand what's going on.

This is the timeline when this is happening when we discuss it and publish it.  If one wanted to have a significantly different membership fee, then as the income on the left side we do not control completely, because that's about the members and how many sign up.  Then that would be probably the part one wanted to change or do something.

Now, funny enough, when we actually publish it in the September time frame to the members and the member mailing list to discuss and give us feedback, then there isn't much feedback.  Last year, as I remember correctly, there was actually zero feedback.  Zero feedback for us as the board means this is the activity plan you want to have.  These are the topics you are fine and happy with.  And that we execute them, because this is then what gets done by us, that is why we are here.

So, if people are having a fundamentally different opinion what they want to do in that regard, then this would be one of the options which they can use.

Otherwise, there are different versions how you can contact and give us feedback, not just about the activity plan but in yen.

Well, the GM today, of course, is an option.  The formal social event, which was 'Meet the Board', yesterday, which I think worked quite fine and we had quite a Q&A session there, so thanks for that.  The Members Discuss is, of course, an option to contact us.  The Members Discuss follows the same Code of Conduct as the other Working Group mailing lists, so please keep that in mind when you post, but that's certainly one way which we all read.  Sometimes it takes a moment before we reply.  Please keep in mind that on one side, if a new topic comes up, we want to see and feel the temperature of the various people so we probably don't react to the first one necessarily.  The second part is, if we didn't have an official board statement before, we have to form an opinion so we probably need a meeting or at least do it by e‑mail before we make an official one so depending on the topic and what the request was that might take a couple of days.

And of course you can e‑mail us directly which gets increasingly popular as we figured out.  So, these are the easiest ways to interact with us.

And with that, that was actually my part.  Do we have questions or comments?  There was actually a question submitted by e‑mail today, but I left it up to Ulka, I believe, to sort and moderate them in the order she wants.

ULKA ATHALE:   Good evening I work for the RIPE NCC and I'll be reading out questions during this GM.  We received a rather long question for the Executive Board by e‑mail earlier from Erik Bais, and, in the interest of time, I am going to read out a shorter version of it.

He is asking whether you can provide insight on how how you see the independence of the RIPE Chair and his /her remuneration for the role if that's going to be the case.  And that the RIPE Chair position must be independent so that the RIPE Chair shall feel free to say what they want without feeling the pressure of being cut in remuneration and that's what the community expects from the RIPE Chair.

CHRISTIAN KAUFMANN:  So, thanks, Erik, for the question and it's a very timely question because the NomCom is going through the process of looking and selecting a new RIPE Chair and Vice‑Chair.

So, in ‑‑ I'll give a couple of general statements and then we can talk a little bit about the ‑‑ what happened so far.

So in general, the RIPE NCC Board tries to stay away from that as far as possible.  We see it at least as an NCC board, not that we are also part of the community, we want to have an independent one, and we have a NomCom which is selecting them, they have a process, they have a procedure, they have people, so, we believe that this is actually going very well.  We also have a liaise from the board, which is actually Piotr who is actually in these meetings to see what's going on and probably answer on our behalf.

So, on that side, we fully trust the NomCom doing the right job.

There were one or two questions particularly coming up with the remuneration, which was to have an independent RIPE Chair, ideally that person would have probably full‑time, that's at least what some of the community members wanted, and therefore needs some kind of money to pay his bills and live.  We were very happy that the last two either were sponsored by their companies or have taken up all their free time to fulfil this obligation and on user, but it was clear that if we now have a selection process, we might want to have dedicated ones.

For that the board made the statement in the past that we are happy to pay a salary to that person, and support the RIPE community in that way so that the person can be independent and doesn't have to work for a company or consultant or part time and then everything gets a little bit complicated.

On the other side, we didn't want to police the RIPE Chair either because then the RIPE Chair becomes dependent on us and that was certainly not the idea.  We do not want to have a second person to manage.  I think we are busy enough with the NCC.

So, that was our guideline.  Right now, we have a conversation with the NomCom where we are saying this position hasn't changed.  We have happy to accept and support, but ideally we do not have too many active roles.  We had a very quick conversation about how could daily salary reviews and that kind of stuff looks like, but I think we are probably having that kind of stuff sorted so let's see.  I mean, this is, to be honest, my view or the board's view and not all of this stuff is completely settled and a big part of course is the NomCom.  But we said ideally we wouldn't have a review because we shouldn't identify the performance of the RIPE Chair, that should actually be the RIPE community, so we see the person different than a RIPE employee for which we are responsible.

On the other side, there is a little bit the question how does the person then get paid?  Is that a freelancer or is it an employee for the time being and that kind of stuff?  We are not settled on that.  We are having a conversation with the NomCom about that, but whatever we want to do we want to see that the money and whatever the person gets is either earmarked or you know separate so that there are no yearly conversations and certainly not with changing boards or hopefully not changing so that the person really has his own space so whatever actually gets talked about and agreed on at the beginning of the five years is then valid for the five years so the person has the independence and is responsible towards the community but not towards the NCC.

That was a very long answer.  Is that helping?  Are you around Erik in the chat or so?  Let's move on.  I take it that was long enough.  Otherwise ‑‑ does that answer your question, Erik?  Partly.  I'll go on with the other one and then you can submit yours again also, if something is unclear so far, Erik.

Good, then next.

ULKA ATHALE:   We have a question from Brian Nisbet.  Brian is asking:

"Is there any plan to put a better process in place for moderation of members discussed or any other NCC supported interactive fora?"

CHRISTIAN KAUFMANN:  The short answer is no.  It was a little bit unclear ‑‑ well, we had a little bit of timing issue because with the election we wanted to actually make the members list usable and see that this doesn't get out‑of‑hand.  So, we came up with a relatively quick resolution.  But it's timed and we got to figure out what we do afterwards.  We actually had a conversation that we want to have that conversation on the members discuss what the members want, we got to see how we do that. But let's go through this week first and then we have to find a way.  It could be in a worse‑case scenario that we do not have a complete open list any more or, you know, that with 25,000 members, we got to find a different way then just everybody can post all the time.  But no, we haven't sorted it out completely, but it's certainly on our list.

ULKA ATHALE:   We have another question from Sascha Growe, and Sascha says:

"A word about spamming through the the RIPE DB contacts would be nice."

CHRISTIAN KAUFMANN:  That is a similar but still slightly different issue.  So, using the RIPE database and the contacts there for things it wasn't meant and they are actually lined out in the terms and conditions is something which we clearly do not like.  If that actually happens, we follow up with the people who did that.  In the past, it was more like advertisement broker and other people.  That has changed in the last couple of weeks.  We then talked to the person and remind them that this isn't supposed to be like this.  So far, it usually has stopped.  If that doesn't stop then we have one or two other options to follow up on that, but yeah, it violates the terms and conditions and we do not want to have that.

ULKA ATHALE:  There seems to be more questions in the meantime.  Yeah, so, Erik Bais has a follow‑up question for his.  He is asking:

"Could the Executive Board provide insight on the part of Mirjam where her bio mentions that she is talking about a leave of absence if she were to be selected for the RIPE Chair role.  Would I expect that the role would be filled after a five‑year period?  Was that discussed, what is to be expected?"

CHRISTIAN KAUFMANN:  So this is now a little bit tricky and difficult question.  There is one part where whatever the NomCom decides to do is of course completely NomCom part.  There is ‑‑ so that has nothing to do with us.  So this is for the selection part.  Regarding the leave component and, to be honest, I kind of know about that since today.  I haven't formed an opinion or we haven't talked about it if we have much of an opinion about as a board.  Because the management of the NCC is up to the managing director.  We are not interfering with the various aspects of who goes on leave and who does which parts.  So, I don't know if I actually have an opinion about that.  What is certainly true, is we didn't have that as a discussion point or formed an opinion.  I'm not sure if that helps, Erik.  Probably not.  But...

ULKA ATHALE:  We have another question from Harry Cross.  And Harry is asking:

"Would it be worth considering allowing each of the candidates maybe one mailshot to the population each?  This would need to be discussed, but it may ensure each candidate gets their fair shot at advertising themselves?"

CHRISTIAN KAUFMANN:  I guess that goes back to the Members Discuss.  Well, keep in mind that I'm one of the candidates and I am running so I might be biased, so take that with a grain of salt.  I don't think that the Members Discuss is a list which we should use as a platform for elections.  We haven't done that really in the past and I don't really see a point.  Everybody who would read the Members Discuss and actually be interested in the election knows they are elected.  We have a candidate page.  We publish our bios, we actually get time during the GM today with videos to talk about our platform, so the Members Discuss posting it there in my view would be really just redundant and not add much value.

But, yeah, let's see, if we come up with a task force or actually talk about it on the Members Discuss, and this is what the majority wants, then sure.  But I don't think it actually changes much.  Certainly the way it recently went wasn't helpful for most of us.

ULKA ATHALE:  There is a question from Gary, who is asking:

"This year the RIPE NCC members that is LIRs have received three free vouchers to take the RIPE NCC certified professional exams.  Do you plan to do the same next year?"

CHRISTIAN KAUFMANN:  That's a good question.  I don't know the answer.  I'm not sure, to be honest, what the certification team had in mind but we haven't discussed it yet.  But now as the question came up, I will actually follow up on the next board meeting and I will ask, but I do not know.

ULKA ATHALE:  We have a question from Denis Fedorishenko, who is asking:

"Do candidates, if they win, have success to non‑public or personal information of RIPE members?"

CHRISTIAN KAUFMANN:  I'm not a hundred percent sure where the question aims towards.  But I would believe ‑‑ Athina can correct me ‑‑ that the answer to that is no.  It is not that we have an extra master password to the database or, you know, look into the members if they have paid, or whatever.  The data which we see is usually aggregated and it doesn't have any particular personal, or whatever.  And to be honest, that's not helpful for the board.  We represent the overall members and we are certainly not interested in particular details of another one.  So, I would assume the answer to that is no, as far as I understand the question.

ULKA ATHALE:  We seem to have something that's more of a comment than a question.

Sven says:  "There should be a member vote that all Executive Board applicants should have a chance to introduce themselves and also answer questions from members."

CHRISTIAN KAUFMANN:  That's less a question and more a suggestion and a comment.  We actually talked about it a bit.  So this time, and I don't want to steal all of Piotr's show, it's a little bit different.  Usually the candidate, if the candidate is present in the General Meeting, goes to stage, has two minutes, talks about his part, and then the next one comes.  This time we decided, for Internet connectivity reasons, stability and ease of use, to actually use videos, so you will see a couple of videos later.

We never really had as other boards do a Q&A session where you can kind of grill the board members, some other non‑for‑profit organisations do that I know.  Funny enough, we actually talked about it today quickly, and made a comparison to that.  We will talk about it and keep it in mind.  We will see if that is practical and if it adds value, but let's come back to that.

ULKA ATHALE:  That's it.  There is no further questions at the moment.

CHRISTIAN KAUFMANN:  Good.  Then, with that, let's go to the next agenda point, and that is Gwen.

GWEN VAN BERNE:  Thank you, Christian, for your introduction.  I hope you can hear me and I also need to test whether I can move the slides.  I cannot do that yet, I think I need to accept.

Hello, good evening, my name is Gwen Van Berne, for those of you who don't know me.  Thanks, Christian, for the introduction.  I hope that you are all well and that your families are healthy.  It stays very strange in these Covid times to not be able to see you and I know that you are all out there so thanks very much for dialling in and being engaged within this community and in the General Meeting because it's very important for us that you participate in the discussions and that also you share your opinions and vote for the resolutions.

So my responsibility today is to present to you the highlights from last year's financial results.  These results relate to three resolutions, Christian already explained them.  You are going to be voting on the financial report, the discharge of the Executive Board and also on the charging scheme.  So the charging scheme is going to be my second presentation and for now we're going to start with an update of the highlights from last year's financial numbers.

So, to start with my core messages.  It's really absolutely safe to adopt all the resolutions because from an accounting perspective, from a financial perspective, the RIPE NCC is really in a healthy state, very healthy state, and we are well positioned also for the future, and I am going to demonstrate to you today that the underlying numbers are very solid and strong and that also membership retention also has stabilised and is better than we had expected for this year.

So, one step back also for the newcomers.  The financial strategy for the RIPE NCC, I always start with this slide because it gives some context to what we are trying to achieve.  We run a funding model, not a business model.  We are, of course, a non‑commercial membership association, so the idea between the financial strategy is really to generate enough funding so that the RIPE NCC is able to facilitate our services to the membership.

So the spending is authorised and line with the established mandate, in line with the confidentials and feedback loop that we have with our membership.

Also a very important element in our financial strategy is that the reporting should be transparent.  This is also why we invest a lot of time in updates like this to brief you on all the details about our expenditure and our investments.  So what we also try to do is include data on the efficiency gains, LIRs risk management, so when we have relevant news in the sections we will always include them in the General Meeting updates.

And another important aspect of the financial strategy is that we really place high value in the equality between members.  So in the current charging scheme, we really place a lot of emphasis on the quality and we like also the simplest and predictability of the current setup.

So this was a background.  This gives you a little bit more information on the feedback cycle that we have with our members.  I think Christian already mentioned it already in his introduction and Hans earlier on in the Services Working Group.  I think this is really important that you understand that we only engage in activities that were approved, of course, by you, and I think it's really important that we make sure that what we do is also the right way to meet the demands and the expectations from all the people we engage with.

So, in 2019, Ernst & Young, our auditor, again did extensive audit and they provided us with an unqualified opinion, so that's very good.  They feel that our numbers fairly represent the financial situation, that they give a true and fair view, and they are also in accordance with the Dutch GAAP rules, General Accepted Accounting Principles, and the financial statements surprise of the balance sheet, the P&L, the cash flow overview and other explanatory tree notes.  Of course, if you want to read all the details, you can find it on the website where we have disclosed the full financial report, but today we're just going to share the most important highlights.

2019 was really a phenomenal year, really a stellar financial performance.  The growth in LIR was really remarkable.  So, we have grown over 25,000 LIRs, coming from approximately 20,000 in the beginning of the year, and as a comparison also, if you look at other data, I think, in 2016, we had approximately 12,000 LIRs, so this number is really incredible how this has grown.

So the record income, the income levels were also ‑‑ we broke a lot of records there.  Now the cost management is under control, which is also of course super important.  And we were also able to do a redistribution of 8.2 million to our members.  And also, we were able to increase our capital buffers, so that was really a good combination and I'm very thankful for your support also during the last GM to be able to build up more reserves but also to be able to give a fair distribution to the members.  So thanks for supporting that.

In the beginning of the financial report, we also include a risk and uncertainty paragraph, and what is important to mention here that two years ago, the RIPE NCC kicked off a programme that aimed at creating more accountability within the RIPE NCC and, in parallel, we started with a full integrated risk management exercise, and what we found there, that there were several risks in the organisational and HR categories.  But these were remediated last year by a restructuring and also by associated HR controls.  There were some risks that matured in financial risks, those were tax related, one of costs and registry risk.  I think also, as Christian mentioned it in his introduction and Felipe also in the Services Working Group, according to EU sanctions, we saw three potential breaches and we're now discussing with the relevant authorities and are trying to get exemptions for these cases.

So again, as part of the long‑term strategy, our aim is to maintain a low‑risk profile and every year on an ongoing basis we will revalidate the initial risk assessment.

If you look at our balance sheet, the good thing here is, of course, thanks to the increase in capital, we saw a balance sheet extension.  You can clearly see that in the numbers here.  And I think you're looking at a very robust and strong balance sheet.

The profit and loss numbers, again, yeah, stellar results.  This graph clearly shows the significance of the sign‑up fees for total income and it also shows the relationship between these fees and the financial surplus.  Unfortunately, I feel that the index maybe got lost, but the colour shows, the pillar on the right shows the financial surplus, and the sign‑up fees are the darker blue colour on the left and we try not to rely too much on these numbers.  The sign‑up fees, because of course also the enormous growth in LIRs was related to the IPv4 run‑out, so we tried to not to be too dependent on that, and, so far, there was always a very clear relationship between the redistribution and the amount of sign‑up fees.

If we dive a bit deeper into the membership developments, again we more than doubled in five years' time.  I mentioned 12,000 in 2016, I made an error; that was of course, 2014.  So we doubled in six years, but if you look at the growth from last year, we went from 20 to 25,000 LIRs, which is really remarkable.  And again, this generated record income levels.

The average income per LIR is slightly increasing and the average expense per LIR is decreasing.  That is very good, of course.  I will show you in a graph on the next slide what it looks like.  But the relationship with our members is, of course, very important, and we continue to have a strong relationship with our members.  That was at least confirmed also by the last member survey, and of course this is extremely important for us, that we continuously engage with you because you are the ones that provide us with our mandate.

So, this graph nicely shows, I think, visually, what the relationship is between the average expenses and the average income.  So, the line below is the average expense per LIR, which is the last two years was lower than the 1,400 membership fee.  That is, of course, a very good number.  And the line in blue shows the average income, which of course we try to keep in control because it's not the prediction for longer term that this needs to rise, so we are going to see what we can do about that.

We are confident that we can grow the value of the RIPE NCC and that we can invest your money wisely, but of course there are always challenges.  We'll keep a close eye on the LIR consolidation, also to make sure that there is financial stability and predictability.  The future expenses; it's a bit difficult to predict, of course, with Covid‑19, how easy it's going to be to do all our investments, because if you need to kick off certain new initiatives here and there that might be a little bit more difficult and a little bit more complicated.  Luckily, I think a lot of the transitions are work in progress, so that can continue.  We have to see how the expense development ‑‑ will develop in the future.

Transparency in financial operations.  This is always very important for us.  We are producing new management information also to better inform the board on all the.  We want to disclose the to the membership what we can but we also have to keep an eye on confidentiality, but balancing this is always one of our most important tasks.

And efficiency, we have to balance the quality of our service with cost reductions to make sure that the average cost per LIR goes down and this is also something that we will continuously work on.

I have added this graph also, Filippe spoke about it already in the Services Working Group, but I think it's important that you see the numbers also in the context of the financial update, because the nice thing is that we had forecasts a reduction in LIRs because the original assumption was that we would go back to 23,000 LIRs by the end of 2020.  But, so far, what we have seen this year is that the number is actually quite stable and if you want to know and learn more details, I am happy to refer to Filippe's presentation, that gives a little bit more details about the membership growth, but of course from a financial point of view also this is a very important trend and we are happy to see that the consolidations are happening, but there is also a healthy influx of new members.

So, cost management:   Also important, so despite the additional workload and the challenges that came our way, our costs stayed under budget.  We spent 32.1 million versus 33.2 million in the budget.  Personnel costs of course are our biggest cost driver.  Our staff numbers went up from 150 to 155 FTEs.  Last year I also promised you that we would keep the travel costs under control.  I am happy to mention that we stayed under budget.  So that's very good.

In 2019, we did see several one‑off costs.  So, as a consequence of extensive tax audit, we had to pay out an additional sum to the Dutch tax authorities, and also we saw some additional one‑off costs in relation to the restructuring programme that was started two years ago.

If you look at the budget and the cost development for the future, I will speak ‑‑ or I'll elaborate a bit more on it in the charging scheme presentation, but of course the trend is upwards if you consider that the activities are more laborious and also more complex, and larger in scale because of the growth in membership of course over the last years in LIRs and changing expectations from the stakeholders.  On the other hand, now the enormous growth of LIRs is behind us, I'm also actually really confident and I feel very strongly about the fact that we can also do and will do everything in our power to make sure that we stick to a flat baseline where we can.

If we seek investments in line with your demands we will sure do it but we'll also try to maintain acceptable cost increases.

So this is the purchase history from 2019.  This is a new slide.  We have added this slide because I mentioned also in the beginning in the financial strategy that transparency is super important for us, and ‑‑ but of course cannot disclose confidential information, but we have added this process information with a number of suppliers and the amounts to show you that ‑‑ because also we don't want to be accused of any preferential treatments or conflicts of interest.  This slide really shows you that, in total, the RIPE NCC deals with almost 500 suppliers in all the categories, whether it's capital, expenses or one‑off suppliers or preferred suppliers, the amounts are really quite high.  So also in our capital expenses, so the investments in IT, we deal with 14 parties.  The average amount is equally spread out, so this gives you a good view and gives some colour to the fact that we really try to balance also the parties that we deal with and that every time when we make an investment, we really look at multiple proposals and we compare the (something) and we make sure there is no dependence on certain vendors.

So capital and liquidity:

We have used last year's cash flow, of course and the results to redistribute 50% of the surplus to the members, and we have also increased our solvency level.  So, thanks to your support, it went up from 91% to 101%.  So that is really good.  That is completely in line with our risk metric.  Ideally, we maintain a capital reserve that is equal to the yearly operational expenses, so ‑‑ and thanks to this capital increase it's now again in line.  So that's good.

The investment strategy is very conservative.  It's described in more detail in our treasury statute and I can show you a bit more in the next slide how the asset portfolio looks like.  So, again, a very conservative, most of our money is now in simple and plain deposits.  We do invest 30 million roughly in government bonds and ETFs, these are also based on fixed income investments.  We don't do equity.  I think now, in all honesty, yeah, looking at the market developments, also looking at the developments in 2020, this strategy is actually serving us quite well.  I'm quite happy now with the fact also we do have an overweight in deposits, and we have to look at it, but, all in all, I think in these market conditions, it's a good strategy and we're happy with so far how it's going.

We do have to keep a bit of an eye on the interest rate developments because on our DevOps this year for the first time, several Dutch banks will calculate base points for the deposits, 50 base points, so, yeah, we will see negative yields there, so this is, of course, something that we have to keep a close eye on.  But we also want to stay very prudent, and again I think the most important objective here is to make sure that the money is preserved but not to generate an enormous income stream here.

But, of course, together also with a management team, the Executive Board, the treasurer, we will for sure look at opportunities to invest in the future.

We have of course after the enormous turmoil and the crisis because of the Covid‑19 situation, we have looked into several investment opportunities with our banks because results are really a nice momentum to do something.  Because it's really difficult if you look at the principles from our treasury statute because it's really very conservative and there are not a lot of directions that we can take here, but again, on the on the other hand, I also think it's smart and wise in these market circumstances.

So, again, I think to wrap up.  This has been really another very good year for the RIPE NCC, and again, it's very safe to adopt the resolution related to last year's financial report, and I'm really happy to answer any questions you might have, together with my colleagues and the board.

ULKA ATHALE:  Thank you, Gwen.  We actually had, as always, a couple of questions that came in just as I said to Christian there are no more questions for you.  So I will first send ‑‑ maybe, Gwen, ask you the questions on the financial report and then maybe come back to Christian with the other questions that are left over from the previous session.

So, again, Erik Bais is asking:   "Will the lower sign‑up fees for 2020 and 2021 provide issues or worries for the budget moving forward?  And is the RIPE NCC expecting to reduce staff due to the lower sign‑ups of new LIRs?"

GWEN VAN BERNE:  Thanks for that good question.  I think our expectations, the good thing is what I showed on one of the slides that the LIR growth has stabilised, which is a very good thing because this is better than expected.  And it depends really a bit upon the developments of the activity and also to look at the amount of work that we're going to undertake in the future to see how many staff we need.  But, for now, the expectation is that both staff levels and the budget levels will keep a flat baseline.

ULKA ATHALE:  We have a question from Sergei and he is asking:

"Could you give some details on travel expense recalculation and the reason why it caused some loss on taxes?"

GWEN VAN BERNE:  Yeah.  These are almost two questions, I think, to start with the travel.  So the budget was almost 1.6 million, and we stayed under there, so that's a good thing.  The amount of travel was a little bit less, but, on average, the cost per trip was a bit higher, but in the end we did manage to stay under the budget amount.

The other question related to the tax situation, I think the question was to elaborate a bit more on what happened there?

ULKA ATHALE:  Just a second.  Let me find the question for you.  "Could you give some details on travel expense recalculation and the reason why it caused some loss on taxes?"

GWEN VAN BERNE:  The loss on taxes, the one additional tax amounts, they had nothing to do with the travel.  They had to do with our wage taxes, so not travel but the wage taxes, the interpretation of international tax treaty agreements between the Netherlands and the United Arab Emirates for our Dubai organisation and in the past we had asked the Dutch authorities for advice and we could show this correspondence but these rules are very complex and unfortunately we had to conclude that there was a deviation, so we had to pay out certain tax back payments, and of course we regret that this happened but it will not happen again, and we have mitigated the consequences.  But the tax audit had nothing to do with travel costs.

ULKA ATHALE: Thank you, Gwen.  We have a question from Alex, who has not stated an affiliation.  I'd like to remind everyone if you are putting questions into the Q&A, please write your name and affiliation, both, but I will read out the question nonetheless.

 "Every year in the financial report we see lines on Capex for hardware or IT infrastructure equipment.  What happens with the old equipment?"

GWEN VAN BERNE:  That's good.  Yeah, we use what we can and after the full write‑off, after five years, we dispose of them also in an appropriate way.  But again, we don't ‑‑ we do our normal write‑offs and our normal ongoing investments.

ULKA ATHALE:  We have a question from Pascal Balberi, who has also not listed an affiliation, saying:

"The cost of 50% of the staff is, I think, very high.  Would it be possible to have a list of personnel costs in an analytical way, and their duties?"

GWEN VAN BERNE:  If you look at the activity and budget plan, also we disclosed information about average salary costs, so that information is for sure there, and I am happy also to see in the future what we can do to share more information about that.  I think what's also good to mention here that, at the moment, finance and HR also executing a project that really looks at our full remuneration, also to make sure that we can attract the right people, but also to make sure that the reward structure is in line with the responsibilities.

ULKA ATHALE:  We have a question from Art Crega who is asking:

"What scenarios for the number of LIRs in the coming years do you have?  And how do you expect them to affect the average cost per LIR as well as the yearly fees?"

GWEN VAN BERNE:  Very good question.  Yeah, again the predictions for 2020 were a reduction to 23,000.  It's really difficult for us to ‑‑ of course we have different scenarios and we work with different scenarios, but to really make fair statements about it, because you immediately are not a fortune teller and it's really difficult to forecast what exactly is going to happen, because the ‑ itself is not so hard to predict but what is hard to predict is the influx of new members and luckily we still see that our services and the membership is quite high in demand, so that is very good.  But of course, I think for ‑‑ and also this year we really want to see a bit in the post out for run‑out phase what is going to happen, but for sure we are going to share more forecasts and predictions also during future GMs and I am also happy to share a little bit more details.

I am also thinking it's difficult now a bit because of course in this new set‑up, normally I just look at Remco and I also see whether my board wants to add something to these questions.  Remco, is there anything you would like to add or clarify that you haven't?

REMCO VAN MOOK: I don't have anything in particular to add.  Gwen's presentation is quite extensive, you'll find that if you read the full financial report, which is in the pack that comes with this General Meeting, you'll find a lot more detail and a lot more breakdown of individual costs and areas and also if you look at the activity plan and budget, that we adopted at the end of last year then you'll find a lot of detail about how much money we spend on specific activities.  And that's really all from my side.

GWEN VAN BERNE:  Thanks so much for adding that to the conversation, Remco.  Ulka?

ULKA ATHALE:   We do have quite a few more questions in the queue.  Let me start getting through them.

Juri Bogdanof is asking:  "Could you please explain what the consultancy expenses are and what are the part of taxes and personnel costs?  Could you please explain what consultancy expenses, what is the part of taxes in personnel costs?  Total tax part of the budget?

GWEN VAN BERNE:  Again, I think further to what Remco is saying, all the details of course are in the financial reports.  If you look at one of the last pages of the financial report you can see a full breakdown of all the operational expenses, including consultancy, so the numbers are there, and I think also under the personnel expense section, you will find a breakdown also of the different cost packets and their personnel expenses.

ULKA ATHALE:  Dmitry is asking:  "Do you foresee a big reduction in 2020/2021?  Do you think the virtual meeting saved us a lot?"

GWEN VAN BERNE:  That's an excellent question and I am also very curious to see of course, yeah, we're living in a new world, and this whole meeting is virtual.  So things are already changing.  It's really hard to predict how this will go in the future, but I think the beauty is also about the current situation that here and there we really see that it also works really very well to have a contact through online meetings.  So, for sure, things will change.  In this stage, I find it really difficult to do really concrete predictions, but now, with the current lockdown, yeah, of course traffic will also be a lot lower ‑‑

REMCO VAN MOOK: If I can add something.  Yes, I mean, it's anyone's guess what the end of 2020 is going to look like, certainly from a lockdown, travel.  None of us have any idea.  I mean, we all have notions on what that probably looks like.  But at the same time, we don't ‑‑ cancelling a meeting like Berlin also doesn't come cheap, and I think the next one is scheduled for Milan.  And we're probably going to have to look at moving that or taking that virtual or, I mean, there is another decision that we are going to have to make on that one.  Cancelling meetings like that typically doesn't come for free.  So, yes, we'll be probably saving quite a bit of money on one side, but there is a fair chance that we might be spending ‑‑ overspending on some other sides as well.  So it's really really hard to give an outcome seeing if Covid‑19 has actually been good for our budget.  I actually don't like thinking about the whole situation in that way.

GWEN VAN BERNE:  I agree.  It's also going to be a bit crystal‑ball gazing, but the impact for sure is there.

CHRISTIAN KAUFMANN:  I think most of us would have preferred a real physical meeting instead of cost savings.

GWEN VAN BERNE:  Yeah, we do miss the ‑‑ yeah.

ULKA ATHALE:  We have a question from Antonio Prado, saying:  "Maybe I missed it.  Is there any rotation of suppliers?"

GWEN VAN BERNE:  Yes, there is.  Again, what we do with every serious investment, we have a purchase process that also requires that we always want to have proposals from three parties, and we rotate also, of course.  We do work with preferred suppliers.  I mean, that makes sense, right?  I mean, you are not going to continuously rotate, but we make sure that the process is healthy.  Yeah.

ULKA ATHALE:  Dominic Schallert from Rheintal IX asks:

"Do you expect most LIR models to happen within the near feature and do you already have a strategy to mitigate that concerning the financial budget?"

GWEN VAN BERNE:  I didn't hear that word that you were saying.  Can you repeat that one more time.

ULKA ATHALE:  Do you expect mass LIR models to happen within the near future and do you have a strategy to mitigate that concerning the financial budget?

GWEN VAN BERNE:  Remco, are you willing to take that question?

REMCO VAN MOOK: So we have been looking at mergers and diminished membership numbers.  If you actually look at the budget for 2020, you'll see that we budgeted with 23,000 LIRs at the end of year, which is a net loss of over 2,000 LIRs.  So, yes, we took that into account and it's actually in part of our thinking.  And I think one of the Gwen's slides actually refers to the scenario of what we anticipated, which was a line downward and the actual experience which was a straight line.

I think one or two more back ‑‑ yeah, that one.  So, yes, we're constantly looking at that, and it's definitely something that we keep in mind.  At the same time, it is ‑‑ it hasn't occurred yet.  We do see people merging in closing that has been ongoing for, for about since about two years after the policy rules changed.  Oddly enough, there is no mass run for the exit at the moment, that we can see, but we are staying prudent, we're staying on top of things.

ULKA ATHALE:  We have a question from Yury Bogdanov from ru.ntx, who is asking:

"Why does RIPE NCC charge membership fees for empty, non‑closed LIRs and then clarifies that by empty LIRs, he is referring to LIRs with no resources."

REMCO VAN MOOK: We're not our brother's keeper.  If people ‑‑ cannot assume that an LIR that currently has no resources automatically needs to be closed because then we put people, when they want to put resources in again, then they'd have to re‑open an LIR and pay the re‑opening fee or an opening fee.  So it's not a straightforward.  If people have empty LIRs, that's their choice.

ULKA ATHALE: There is a question from Janos, who is asking:

"You are operating in the most expensive country in the EU.  Do you plan to move at least partially to east or south EU where salary and other costs are lower?"

GWEN VAN BERNE:  No.  That actually came up in the meeting.  In the social meeting yesterday as well and it came up like two years ago or so in, on the mailing list as a suggestion.

The size of the RIPE NCC and as I said yesterday, if you see how the various people are actually interconnected in the NCC and how they talk in the open office part, I don't think it would be very wise to split out a particular section or people and actually move them.  Regardless of that, they actually don't build a new department.  If one were to build a complete new department, then this is a different thing right and you can probably hire somewhere else but taking an existing one and moving them or firing them and hiring new, there is no sense in that.

The biggest part regarding ‑‑ we are very well aware of you know what the price per member is, and as we always say, we want to lower it, but the biggest part which we want to do is actually offering service and stability for the parts we do already to the members.  We do not want to compromise that and at least I don't see how that actually would make it better if not more complicated for not much gain, especially not if you break it down on a per member base.

REMCO VAN MOOK: If I could add a bit to that.  If you look at the number of countries that are represented by the people employed by the RIPE NCC, I don't know the number by heart but it's something like 37 different countries.  And we are ‑‑ we work in a global competitive environment, and it's not ‑‑ it's a complete fiction that our salary costs would drop like a stone if we went to a cheap labour country, because we hire international professionals and they have a price, whether they are based in southern Europe or in the Netherlands, and I would actually argue that the Netherlands is nearly the most expensive part of Europe to put people into.  Having had some experience with other European countries.

GWEN VAN BERNE:  I have to agree with that.

ULKA ATHALE: I have a question here:   You mentioned the RIPE NCC will continue to improve financial transparency.  Could you elaborate on the next targets that you plan to actually achieve?

GWEN VAN BERNE:  Again, so we're now improving the board packs since one year, I think.  Also we work a lot with the tableau tool, so we're continuously enhancing and improving the management information that we disclose to the Board, and, further to that, indeed I think also next GMs we can continue to show you a bit more information about the purchases and also do some more predictions about future income developments.

REMCO VAN MOOK: I think that one of the last slides that Gwen had about suppliers, that's a new step.  That's definitely one of the areas that we're currently developing and we're exploring where we can take that and how necessary it is for the membership to look at that.  I mean, it's not like we're trying to keep things a secret, but we're also trying to run a business.

ULKA ATHALE:  And with that, I think I have come to the end of the questions for Gwen, but we still have a few questions from the previous presentation for the Executive Board.  Erik Bais is asking:

"Could the EB take up the RIPE dates violations by cogent as it was done in the ARIN region?"

And Dominic Schallert, on the same vein, also asks:

"Does the database terms of service also apply for the public LIR member list?  There was rumours concerning recent abuse as well as previous marketing campaigns by a well‑known carrier and some IPv4 brokers, contact was likely pulled from the public member LIR, has the Executive Board thought about adding a function to hide the public contact details?

CHRISTIAN KAUFMANN:  So many questions at once.  We did not think about or discuss to allow LIRs to hide their public contact details.  So that's a short answer.

I'm not the lawyer, but as far as I know, the database terms ‑‑ TRS are not the same as the one for the mailing list.  The mailing lists were ‑‑ actually someone posted them in the questions.  What the terms and conditions for that, but, no, they are different.

I think the main question actually goes down, if I may take the liberty to summarise before we go into 1,000 questions for which I'm not even the expert because I am not the lawyer, is to which degree do we, as the members, want to sanction other members or other people which use the mail list or data out of the database incorrectly and for purposes they shouldn't?  And that is a difficult balancing act, right.  As far as I am concerned, in the past we haven't ‑‑ we have seen that once in a while and certainly other people were part of that.  But then, as I said, when we sent them a warning and actually said that they violated terms and conditions, then that at least from them particular ones stopped.

We have a couple of options to go legally against them.  How effective that is, is probably another question.  When we come back and I want to take the input from today when we have a conversation about the Members Discuss mailing list and what we want to do with these kind of violations, we should actually discuss that on the Members Discuss.  What I want to suggest is we take these questions, see that we make a comprehendible e‑mail out of that, which answers the various parts and points to the various service conditions for the various parts and probably announce how we usual react to them and then we should see besides from the legal component to a degree we as the members actually want to police that and go ahead and see if that then falls together with law and best practice before we go into every particular one.

Does that sound reasonable for most people?  At least one says thank you.  I'm not sure if it was related to that.  Okay.  Erik says as well.  Yeah, let's try to wrap that up, because it's kind of the same thing from a different ‑‑ the same coin from a different angle, and let's see...


Taking that, Gwen has a second presentation, the charging scheme which we should have a look as well.  Sorry, was that all Ulka?  These were the questions I have seen in the Q&A.

ULKA ATHALE:  We do have more questions but I'll follow your instructions whether to keep going with them or whether you'd like to move on to the next presentation.

CHRISTIAN KAUFMANN:  If they are different, we should talk about them.  If they are kind of the same, about the mailing list, the database, the violations, terms and conditions, then let's make that a Member Discuss and wrap that up in an e‑mail which we will formulate and send out.  If they are different, then we should certainly talk about them.

ULKA ATHALE:  I'd like to read out one more question right now, from Denis Federesenko, Ferrari Networks, who is saying:

"Looking at the number of members, 25,000, and only three‑and‑a‑half thousand are going to vote.  That's a very low turnout.  There is something really wrong about upcoming voting as it's online that only 14% of members will make the decision for all 25,000 members."

REMCO VAN MOOK: If you allow me, Mr. Chairman, I would very much like to comment on that.

CHRISTIAN KAUFMANN:  Please, and I might join.

REMCO VAN MOOK: So, actually, 25 ‑‑ for the membership base of 25,000, getting 14% of your members to do anything is amazing.  Typically, any association of this size that I am aware of in the Netherlands is lucky to have single digit percentages turnout, 2 to 5% voter turnout for organisations of 25,000 members or larger is high.  Getting 14%, it's actually also higher than any percentage we have had until now, I think.  So, it is ‑‑ I think ‑‑ well, of course I would be very happy to see even a larger percentage of the membership to show up and vote at the General Meeting.  I would love them to do so.  Actually I'm very happy with this number.

FALK VON BORNSTAEDT:  I would like to add a sentence, I have been in a German association, and I won't say a name of 1,000 people where only 20 showed up for the General Meeting.  It was not an electronic voting, but this was even more shocking.

CHRISTIAN KAUFMANN:  Same story, right.  We would love more, but this is really up to the members and, to be honest, for what it is worth or good or bad, some see the NCC as a service organisation, not as a member organisation, and don't take their benefit of being a member vote and interact on that level.  Cannot force them if that is not their wish, then it is what it is.

Over the years, we tried to increase that.  We went from paper ballots to proxy ballot, electronic voting to keep the electronic voting open for three.  We tried to lower the bar as much as possible.  If you have examples of what others can do, please let us know.  As low as the number is, this is the highest we have ever had.  So as far as I am concerned, this is awesome.

Good.  Was that all Ulka?

Ulka:   Yes.  That's all for now.  Thank you.

CHRISTIAN KAUFMANN:  Thank you.  Then, I give it back to Gwen for the charging scheme.

GWEN VAN BERNE:  Thank you so much, Christian.  I'm seeing if I can control the slides.  I cannot do it yet, or maybe there is a bit of a delay on the line.

REMCO VAN MOOK: You should be able to click to the next slide, Gwen.

GWEN VAN BERNE:  I'm trying to.  Otherwise I am just going to do this if some of the facilitators can ‑‑

CHRISTIAN KAUFMANN:  One of the parts used to vote on today is the discharge of the RIPE NCC Executive Board, let me explain that in the past in various parts, videos, explanations, so, this is pretty much the part where you say that we did our job and discharge us and the books and finances and everything is okay.  Probably very quick one.  If Gwen didn't say it, this is not just you know the NCC making numbers and then we are approving them.  We have excellent auditors as well, which are confirming and going through the books that they are okay.

So, this would be the discharge of the board and we ask that you discharge us when you vote today.  Thank you.

With that, back to you, Gwen, sorry.

GWEN VAN BERNE:  Thank you.  Okay.  The charging scheme, the last of the three resolutions, financial resolutions for today.  So before I start my presentation, I want you to know that the end goal of the charging scheme, of course, is aimed at creating stability and predictability, and preferably we work with flat membership fees and of course at the lowest range possible.

And last year, in Iceland, you voted on alternative fee structures, and I was very happy with your support for the existing scheme.  It was a very good choice, not only because of the benefits for today, but also for the benefits for tomorrow.

So, to give you more context, I would like to start my presentation and kick off with a visualisation of the income development over the last ten years.

Before 2013, the RIPE NCC used different membership categorisations based upon the usage of LIR space to define the fees per member.  But in 2013, we introduced the existing concept, one LIR, one fee, and it allowed us to create more equality between members and also to make sure that the members could completely follow the calculations.

We started with a fee from €1,800 and through the years we have been able to reduce this to the existing amount of €1,400 for existing members and 2,000 members for sign‑up fees for new members.  This amount has not changed since the introduction in 2013.  So this is where our scheme stands today.

If you now look at the forecast.  So how can we now make predictions for our funding needs of our activities now that the enormous growth in LIRs seems to be stabilising?

What I just mentioned already in my financial update originally, we had predicted LIR decline, that is the white line that you also can see in this graph, and you remember probably also the presentations we gave in Amsterdam that showed indeed also a decline in income based upon lower LIR numbers.

But now, in fact, what we're seeing, that the amount seems to rather stabilise in this year, but it's still very early, so we really need more time to see how this is going to develop in the future.  But it is a good and positive trend, and again, it's really difficult also, it's a funding model, so the funding need is based also upon the amount of activities that we undertake for you.  Our work is, of course, never done and the activities are becoming more complex, also more laborious, I would say.  And the membership base has grown a lot, we're dealing with data accuracy challenges, due diligence, network, security.  On the other hand, now that the LIR number has stabilised, we also see good opportunities for efficiency gains, because we now also really can focus more energy on those aspects.

But for the coming years, we really aim to reduce the efforts membership considerations and I am quite positive that maybe next year, if the surplus is higher than expected, if the current 2020 trend continues, that we might be able to come up with proposals that actually will lower the membership fees, but it's still very early and we really have to see whether the surplus exceeds our expectation.

And for stability purposes, again we will do everything in our power to maintain a rather flat baseline for the budget development for the coming years, so you are looking at a range between 30 and 35 million.  But of course, if it's necessary, we will invest, but only after your explicit approval for new activities.

So if you go to the next slide, besides the forecast, of course efficiency remains super crucial.  So the effort expense per LIR is an amount we always closely track with everything that we do, of course we will balance the quality of our service with our cost levels.  But, no, that we are looking at stable LIR numbers we can really also show more insight in the development of this important metric.

What you can see the last two years, 2018 and 2019, the amount was significantly reduced and also lower than the 1,400 flat fee.  So that's very positive.

So, this slide visualises the current setup of the one LIR, one fee model.  We have a signup fee from €2,000 and there is equality between LIR accounts and additional LIR accounts.  For next year, we do use the time to investigate opportunities to maybe increase the robustness and efficiency of our financial administration, to maybe be able to roll up more to invoicing on a membership level and then adding the different accounts on that.  But we have to investigate what the possibilities are there.

But we are going to look at it and I promise you that next year again we will look at alternatives for the existing scheme.

The guiding principles, also to come up with the proposal for the continuation for this year are always the following five principles:

We really like the equality between members aspects.  We are always looking for a good match to the organisational governance.  So here, for example, we also look at, how do you say that, operatability, but also the relationship with tax obligations, whether that's the best fit, and we, of course, also really want to have a model that is relatively simple to implement.  And it should be sufficient to operate soundly.  That's the one‑year horizon and it should be sufficient to operate continuously.  That's the five‑year horizon.  That's a bit more difficult, but let's see how that trends in 2020 continues to develop to give you better predictions and forecasts next year.

So 2020 will continue to be an interesting year.  The world moves into a new decade and the RIPE NCC entered into a new phase of its maturity curve, and we have new leadership.  We are dealing with the consequences from Covid‑19, and we are finding our way in the virtual world of today and we are mitigating the risks that the RIPE NCC encounters.  So please allow us to concentrate on our external challenges and, for stability reasons, I would like to ask you to endorse the continuation of the existing scheme and I'm happy to answer any questions you might have together with the full panel.  Ulka?

ULKA:   So, Gwen, we have a question from Vitalli Glotof [phonetic], and Vitalli is asking:

"You started the RIPE certification recently, you provide three free tickets for exams and you propose to pay for the certification exam for non‑members and for LIRs who will use more than three cards.  Are you foreseeing to have some financial result or is it only some PR thing?  Do you have specific financial plans for this certification?"

GWEN VAN BERNE:  Very good question.  I am also really happy that you bring that up.  The certified professional credentials is a really exciting track for us but it's also a bit new from a financial perspective.  Because for every exam, we have to pay an exam fee to PSI, that's the vendor that we are working with, so that they can supervise the participants.  So this is a bit new, because in the past we didn't have these obligations.  So, to compensate for these cost levels, we need to make sure that the income satellite, of course, is healthy.  But, for sure, of course we're not a commercial organisation.  So, we don't want to do this to earn money and we want to do this under the membership umbrella but, of course, there is a cost attached to this, so if we would do unlimited ‑‑ if we would give unlimited capacity to all members, in theory, very big members could use like thousands of exams, which then would increase our cost levels enormously.  So to control that a little bit, we are working now with vouchers.  We feel that for sure this is enough to kick this project off and to start and see how it develops and we have calculated the cost attached to this new initiative and we feel confident that we can deal with this and we really hope that it kicks off well.  But we have to see also in the future how this income stream is going to mature, to make sure that we can organise it in an appropriate way.

Ulka:   Thank you, Gwen.  We have a question from Gert Döring of SpaceNet and the Address Policy Working Group Chair:   And he says:

"In the Address Policy Working Group session this morning we touched on the issue of unused AS numbers not being returned because there is no incentive to do so.  There used to be a €50 per year charge for ASNs as well and I would really like to see this come back.  I know that this is a contentious issue but I feel obliged to actually mention it so it is in the minutes."

CHRISTIAN KAUFMANN:  I think that was less a comment and much more as a statement in general and I think with that it is now in the minutes.  And we have heard you, Gert.

Ulka:   I don't see any more questions for Gwen, but, as always, there is a couple of questions still left over from the previous session.

We have a question from Peter Gervais saying:

"Is it acceptable and legal ‑‑ it's about a specific GM nominees abusing the mailing list and spamming members and illegally collecting e‑mail addresses from the RIPE database, my question is whether it's acceptable and legal that a GM nominee actually offers €30,000 worth of compensation to everyone voting for him in the form of more free IPv4 addresses?"

REMCO VAN MOOK: Mr. Chairman, if I can save you the trouble because you are on the list for the election as well.

Legal, probably, yes, because it's an election, and if someone wants to promise free ponies, then they are more than welcome to do so and I have seen many election campaigns where people have promised much much worse.

Is it acceptable?  In my personal point of view, it is not acceptable.  And I am using very friendly words here.

Ulka:   Thank you.  We have one last question, I think, which is from someone who has not stated their name or organisation.  And the question is:

"Many times we have to go for the annual submission of the RIPE charge.  Can we go for a three‑year scheme?"

REMCO VAN MOOK: The answer to that is no.  The articles require us to do an annual cycle.  So, unless and until the articles are changed and potentially Dutch law has changed, I haven't looked into that, we are bound to do an annual cycle for our budget at least and since the charging scheme is intricately linked to the budget, it doesn't ‑‑ it makes sense to keep that going as well.  I think it's very important to note that it is one of the moments where the membership can indicate if they are in agreement with what's going on with the financials, and you don't get ‑‑ so you get to input on the activity plan and budget, but you don't get the final approval on the budget.

So this is basically part of you approving the budget which I think is crucial for any membership organisation.  So, yes, as burdensome ‑‑ cumbersome it may seem and comes across at times, this is a required part of the show, I am sorry.

Ulka:   Thank you.  And there are no more open questions in the queue right now.

CHRISTIAN KAUFMANN:  And thank you, Ulka.  Thank you, Gwen.  I think that was your last one, right?  Whoever has the pointer should go one further because it's not me right now.

And we had the question and, with that, we actually come to the most thrilling agenda point of the day.  The election.

As it is good custom, if the Chairman is up for election himself as a board member, then he hands over to the secretary, this is Piotr, so, from now on, he will actually moderate and chair this meeting till Friday, but he will talk about that more and then he actually will close it as well.  So, with that, I'll leave you in his capable hands and wish you good evening.

PIOTR STRZYEVSKI:  Thank you.  I hope you can hear me.  Okay.  Right now we are in the agenda point number 7 and I would like to ask, I think, Alun to present a presentation about the elections and the voting system.

ALUN DAVIES:   We were planning on doing the Executive Board candidates statements at this point.

PIOTR STRZYZEWSKI:  I will make a short statement.  All candidates have been given this time in the equal opportunity to send a two‑minute something on video or a statement to the be read by either probably me or the NCC staff member, and the video has been then recorded with that statement.

So all statements are going to be presented to you or viewers are going to present it to you one by one, they are in the alphabetical order by the family name.  So, starting with the first candidate and moving forward in one along.  Go ahead, Alun.

 "The following is a statement read out on behalf off Elad Cohen by a RIPE NCC staff member:

Hello everyone, I would like to apologise before everyone responding in the member discuss mailing list.  I was dragged to responding.  I hope you will accept my apology.  Now I would like you to imagine what the world will look like in one year from now if I would be elected.

No e‑mail spam.  DOS attacks dramatically lowered.  No IP spoofing and no IPv4 exhaustion problem.  I don't represent any small sectorial group in RIPE and I will always look after the interests of all RIPE members.  RIPE will change to be an LIR‑centric organisation with dramatically lowered membership fees.  I wish good luck to RIPE whoever will be elected."

ALIREZA GHAFARALLAHI:  Hello.  I am from Iran, I have more than 20 years experience and passion in technical and management section.  As you can see from my biography, LIR needs a strong and a stable RIPE NCC and the more strive to achieve it and I promise to do my best to do this.  These days LIRs struggling with some problems and most important of them are IPv4 shortage, IP hijacking and annual fee.  For IPv4 shortage, my short‑term goal to attempt to use legacy and reserved IPv4 address, and my mid‑term plan helping the LIR for using IPv6 instead of IPv4 and pressing to government for facilitate of using IPv6.

For IP hijacking my short‑term goal is using more than RPKI and secure routing and my mid‑term plan is running some project for stopping IP hijacking.

For annual fee we need creative way of reducing cost structure of RIPE NCC.  Due to reduction of number of members, no additional costs imposed to members, and the last word is my country and the countries face with sanctions.

I'd like to help them to get over these sanctions.  Thank you very much.  And have a nice day.

MARIA HALL:  Hello, everybody.  At first I was going to make a statement focussing on myself and the work that we have achieved during these last few years in the RIPE NCC and in the Executive Board, but in the present somewhat uncomfortable situation we have in this election process, I want to add another perspective in my statement.

There's been another three years of good work and many board decisions in the board.  We have not always had the same opinion but thanks to the diversity in the group with different qualifications and different experiences, we have had so many dynamic and sometimes intense discussions.  But the decisions that we have made have been based on many different perspectives, which is very important in a board.

And in spite of our differences, the board work has also been based on respect for each other.  I am still so proud of being part of this community.  The RIPE NCC, the old members as well as newcomers and many of you have also become my friends.  But I think we need to take care of our big community.  We need to be respectful to each other and feel that we have a mission and also that we have a very important role to play.  Our work is important.  More and more people and organisations are getting dependent on the Internet and we have seen this Coronavirus situation, the totally changed how many people use the Internet in communications services.

I think we have an obligation and I think that we should take care of the positive energy that comes out of work together and solving problems together.

So, I want to continue to be part of the RIPE NCC Executive Board.  I want to continue to contribute, and my focus is still going to be the centric directions for RIPE NCC and actually the whole RIR system now we're in the future and all the issues that comes with that.

I miss meeting all of you, the spontaneous chats in the corridor and so on.  So I am very much looking forward when we can meet face‑to‑face again.  Thank you so much for listening and I really hope for your support.  Thank you.

Raymond Jetten:

Hi everyone, my name is Raymond Jetten, I live in Finland, although originally I am from the Netherlands.  I have had almost 25 years experience in ISPs, I am doing many different tasks but one of them has always been, it's called IP management.  This would have been my 25th live RIPE meeting.  I have been active since 2006, and in the RIPE community, some of you know me as a co‑chair of the IPv6 Working Group.

During meetings, I have usually once it became possible also been a mentor for new members, and a part of that I'm quite active in the Finnish network events, one of them called NOG.FI.

I am also working actively with a local IX and my motivation for running for the board is that since I have been a very long time active, I have a strong community feeling and I want something to give back to the community.  I want to serve the members and listen to their needs.  I have a strong belief in a fair and safe Internet and last but not least, I hope that you all stay safe and healthy.

Thank you."

CHRISTIAN KAUFMANN:  "Good evening, fellow RIPE members.  My name is Christian Kaufman and I am currently your Chairman of the board.  I am here tonight to ask for your vote.  The details of my achievements, plan and motivations are already outlined in my statement on the website.  And so I will not go into all of them.  But rather want to talk about my personal view and motivations.

For nine years I have been on the board, seven‑and‑a‑half of them as a secretary, one‑and‑a‑half as a Chairman.  In this time I have come to realise that is takes quite time to get familiar with the management of the NCC, the issues and various needs of the members, the ecosystem but also the governments and external stakeholders.  As the NCC currently go through an internal management transformation and the change of the managing director, I feel that continuation and stability of the NCC internally but also externally in the context of other RIRs and external stakeholders is the highest priority for me.

My vision and also how I know the NCC was one of a generally friendly and inclusive community where one could argue and disagree but polite and decent enough to work and cooperate together.  As this is the spirit of the Internet and one of the its fundamental and underlying principles.

This vision gets more and more challenged.  From some RIPE members, regulatories or states.  In the next three years I want to help build bridges and a consensus between the various parties, to ensure our way of operating continues for the benefit of all members.

If that means to rebalance and push back where necessary.

If you share this vision and my statement on the web page resonates with you, then please vote for me.  Thank you.

SERGEY MYASOEDOV:  Hello, my name is Sergey Myasoedov and I am running for the board.  I would like to be a board member to communicate and improve the feedback receiving mechanism between the RIPE NCC and its members.  I do believe we need to increase members' participation in the preparation of certain corporate documents, such as the activity plan.  All of our regions need to be well represented and something by the board.  The RIPE NCC should continue making its finances more clear and understandable to its members.

I welcome the report that the RIPE NCC put into cooperation with other RIRs and other Internet governance bodies, but there should be more visible results for our members.  As a matter of fact, we need to develop a policy and deal in some way with the abusive behaviour like registered data falsification, database abuse or spam.

Of course, one should not forget the stable RIR operations.  Those things I would like to make better.  Of course not just in the way I would like, but in the way as the RIPE NCC members we should do.

I will be happy to devote my time and my knowledge to you.  Thank you for your support.

JORDI PALET MARTINEZ:  Hi everyone, I am Jordi Palet Martinez.  I am not very good with videos, but here we go.  My first RIPE meeting was in 2001 in Prague and immediately I started to be involved in mailing list, not only in this region on but also in the other four.  And also in the IETF.  Since then, I have actively contributed in both meetings and mailing lists in all the regions, I am sure everybody knows my very long term commitment, different levels of expertise and experience and not just technical ones, close relations with all the parties that have involved in the Internet system and I think that all that shows my global perspective, openness and transparency.  I think the keys for a board candidate are independence, overall community vision and consensus making capability.  And I think I have greatly the most rated all that, having altered about 100 policy proposals, most of them reached consensus, often even in the first version, which means that I am able to hear the community canned change my positions or defend what is good for all despite it's against my personal or professional convictions or interest.

In fact, I have presented and defended several policy proposals that clearly I was indicated that where I was not in person in favour of that but was the right thing for the community.

What I can offer as well is the demonstrated capability of tireless working for the good of the community, balancing all the members' positions, small to big ones, and also taking into consideration those that are not members but still are key parts of the global community.

By the way, I don't think using the community list or member e‑mails for electoral promotion is good, even with very imaginative arguments.  Instead, this is the right place for doing that.  So if you really think I can do a good job, please consider voting for me.

By the way a negative bit, I don't have too much sense of humour, so if this is a board requirement, please don't fool me too much.  Thank you.

WILLIAM SYLVESTER:  Fellow RIPE NCC members.  My name is William Sylvester and I am a candidate for the RIPE NCC Executive Board.  I hope you and your families are healthy and safe.  Many of you know me very well, we have worked together as part of the community for many years.  Throughout my career, I have balanced advancing technical understanding with sound business judgement.  These are the skills I bring to benefit the RIPE NCC.  If elected, I will focus on the following things:

Collaboration with other RIRs to actively improve routing security and making RPKI accessible to all networks.  This will require continued support from the Executive Board so that the tools and technology to make RPKI more robust is prioritised and funded.

I support the organisation continuing to lead IPv6 adoption as a priority.  We must keep the Internet stable while remaining committed towards IPv6 deployment.

The RIPE NCC service region is comprised of members in more than 100 countries around the world.  This means being inclusive and welcoming to all members and everyone who is part of our ecosystem.

We must be diligent about our participation in Internet governance and deal with a dynamic environment addressing member sanctions in our ever evolving policy landscape to an amicable resolution.  As your board member, I wholeheartedly commit to the membership that the RIPE NCC will be a stable and focused organisation engaging with members, maintaining transparency and future stability.

The RIPE NCC must stay true to what it does as an accurate registry.  It also needs a board that understands what its members need technically.  Can steer a healthy organisation from a business perspective and navigate the governance environment in our industry.  And, of course, work to lower members' fees.

I ask that you please rank me as one of your top three candidates when you vote so I can work on what I have committed here today.  Thank you for your vote."

PIOTR STRZYZEWSKI:  Okay.  Thank you for running the presentation of the candidates.  I would like to thank all the candidates for sending the videos in a timely manner.  For the transparency proposals, I would like to make a note that it was noted by me, by the secretary of the board, that two disagreements for the materials was sent.  One was about a photo which was not viewed to be ‑‑ and the other one was about a state, which was not fit for the post but the statement was replaced and this is just a note due to the transparency regions.

Having said so, we already saw the materials from the candidates, and we can move forward to the agenda point number 8, which is the resolutions which we are going to vote, basically you are going to vote on.

So, Alun, do we have a presentation about that or ‑‑

ALUN DAVIES:  Just before that, we are going to go through the voting presentations.

PIOTR STRZYZEWSKI:  So, as I said, we have a presentation, go ahead Alun.  Please present the voting in the General Meeting.

ALUN DAVIES:  My name is Alun Davies, I am with the RIPE NCC and I am going to talk about voting at the General Meeting.  I'll try and be as quick as possible at this point.

So registration overview:

In total, we have 19,477 eligible voters for this GM.  Of those, 3,551, that's 18.2%, have actually registered from a total of 84 countries.  So that's a little higher than was being discussed earlier.

As you can see in the graph over on the left, GMs tend to be better attended than the others but this is an exceptional GM and we're really glad to see this many attendees at the GM.

So, in terms of registration by country, I am not going to go through all this in detail, you can see the top five countries.  Germany is top with 400 registered altogether.

Let's go on to voting on resolutions.

As you will have seen and as you will have heard, there are three resolutions to be voted on altogether.  Each of these requires more than 50% yes votes to pass.

It's also worth noting that abstentions are noted as usual but do not count towards the end count.

In terms of Executive Board elections.  We have eight candidates running to fill three seats on the RIPE NCC Executive Board at this GM.  The system that we use for counting votes is instant runoff voting as always for the elections.  This means that when you come to vote, you'll actually be asked to rank candidates in their order of preference.  There is a few rules on that here.  So you must fill in at least one preference for a ballot to be considered valid, or of course you can choose to abstain instead.

When you number your candidate, it's important to remember that 1 is your top preference, just to be absolutely clear.  And you can choose to fill in as many preferences as there are candidates.

As for instant runoff voting, this a preferential voting system where candidates must receive more than 50% of top preference votes to be elected.  If no candidate receives more than 50% in the round of voting, the candidate with the fewer top preference votes is eliminated.  The system then recalculates after redistributing votes according to the order of preference.  This process of elimination and recalculation continues until a candidate receives more than 50% of top preference votes.

Now, for the second and third seat, this process is repeated, with the winner of the previous seat discounted for that round of voting.

And if that's all a bit kind of quick or dry for you, we do have a video that we have put together that explains the instant runoff voting process in much more detail.  So if you're not familiar with this system of voting or you need a bit of a refresher, I really recommend that you go and check out the video at the link that you see on the screen there.

Right.  Okay.  How to vote:

Shortly after this presentation, Piotr will run through the resolutions and declare voting open.  For obvious reasons, voting by paper ballot is not an option at this GM, but electric voting is available to all participants.  Electronic votes can be cast until 9am Amsterdam local time, that's UTC plus 2, on Friday 15th May, this Friday.

We use a third‑party voting system as always, BigPulse, for voting.

Some more details on how to vote.  So, you will hopefully all have received an e‑mail by now from BigPulse with a voting link in it.  To start voting, you go into that e‑mail and click the link indicated there.

You'll then be taken through each resolution in turn where you get to enter your vote.  And again, as usual, if you were voting on behalf of more than one member, you'll be able to adjust the weight you assign to each vote that you submit.

So, once you have entered your votes, you'll receive an e‑mail for each of the resolutions that you vote on.  You can choose what information is included in that e‑mail receipt by BigPulse.

And as for the Executive Board elections.  This is how it's going to look when you get to that part of the voting software.  Do remember to number your candidates in order of preference, with 1 being your top preference, or otherwise of course you can abstain from voting in the election.

The results of the vote will be announced on Friday, this Friday, 15th May, when the GM reconvenes at 10:45 UTC plus 2, 10:45 Amsterdam local time.  A member of the Executive Board will announce the results and the announcement will be broadcast life for the registered participants just like the rest of the GM.

And with that, any questions?

PIOTR STRZYZEWSKI:  I see that there is one question for the process.  We have Ulka, who can read that.

Ulka:   Jonas Schiefer from Cloud and Heat Technologies is asking about the tie‑breaking in instant runoff:  "It says that the system does that.  Is there any transparency as to how the system randomly makes choices?  Is something like RFC 3797 publicly verifiable nominations committee random selection used?

ALUN DAVIES:  I'm not sure on the details right now.  But BigPulse provide more information on this.  We could look into making that information available.  We'll check with them on that.  .

Ulka:   Thank you.  I do not see any more questions at the moment.

PIOTR STRZYZEWSKI:  Thank you, Alun, for these great presentations, and I would like to encourage you all to see the video you have on that.

Now, having said so, let's move to the agenda point 8, and let's read the resolutions.

So, the General Meeting will vote for three resolutions and the Resolution Number 1 is:

"The General Meeting adopts the RIPE NCC financial report 2019."

And there are three options:  yes, no and abstain.  And as Alun already explained, abstain doesn't count.

So let's move to the Resolution 2.

 "The General Meeting discharges the Executive Board with regards to its actions as they appear from the annual report 2019 and financial report 2019."

And we have three options as well:   yes, no and abstain.

Next slide, please:

Resolution 3:

 "The General Meeting approves the adoption of the RIPE NCC charging scheme 2021."

And we have three options here:   yes, no and abstain.

And that's the third and last resolution.

Next slide, please.  Apart from the resolutions, we have the voting for the Executive Board elections, and there are eight candidates, the names of the candidates are mentioned on the screen.  It's Elad Cohen, Alireza Ghafarallahi , Maria Hall, Raymond Jetten, Christian Kaufman, Sergey Myasoedov, Jordi Palet Martinez and William Sylvester.  Please number your candidates in order, with 1 being your top preference.

So next slide please.  So, having all this said and no questions in Q&A, chat, I declare the voting as open, and let me assure you that the GM continues but only for the voting and not for the Zoom or webstream.  Members can vote until 9 a.m., as already declared, 9 a.m. UTC plus 2 on Friday the 15th May, and then we will reconvene in the same online location at 9:45, I repeat 9:45 UTC plus 2, this Friday, 15 May, and I will announce the results.

Until then, have a very nice evening and enjoy the voting.  Thank you.

Ulka:   Thank you.  I'd just like to say it's 10:45 UTC plus 2 and we will open electronic voting in the next few minutes.  Please be patient.  We expect the voting to be live in just a few minutes from now.  Thank you.

PIOTR STRZYZEWSKI:  Thank you very much, Ulka.