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Stenography Transcripts


17 October 2018

6 p.m. 

CHRISTIAN KAUFMANN:  Good, let's start the General Meeting.  If you have attended a General Meeting in the last 15 years or something like that, then you might have noticed that something has changed.  We changed the accent slightly.  The board decided for continuity reasons that we actually swap positions, so Nigel, who was the Chairman before, takes over the secretary role.  That made me the Chairman.  We have Remco, who is the Treasurer, no change there.  Then we have Falk, he is new at the board, and can wave, and everybody knows who you are.  Maria you already know.  Peter, he is also new, he entered the board in May.  And Salam, you know. 

Before we go forward, I actually want to say a very quick thanks to Nigel.  Figuring out in the last couple of days what it means to prepare the GM to actually stand here and what you have to do, I have no idea why he did that so long.  So thanks a lot. 


NIGEL TITLEY:  Let's not overlook the possibility of stupidity. 

CHRISTIAN KAUFMANN:  So, now as you got reminded who we are and what we do, let's have a look at what we actually did. 

As usual, we have a couple of meetings per year, so since the last General Meeting we met actually three times.  These are the dates.  As usually, we have published the minutes.  And also, the various decisions which we made.  So you saw them on the mailing list if you were curious what we actually did. 

As usual, and I come back to that later, we always welcome feedback because we are here for you.  So, one of the ways how you can do that is actually comment on the mailing list and help with the discussion if the minutes or anything else is actually coming up. 

Some of the decisions we made is, we approved the draft activity plan and budget.  What happens is we send the draft to the mailing list so you got that one.  Axel will talk about that in a moment as well, and then with your input today on the mailing list, we will talk about it and finalise it at the next board meeting on the 19th December. 

We asked the staff to establish a formal conflict of interest procedure for actually the staff and the Executive Board, we thought it was a good practice to have an idea in which different roles we are and what that would mean for us. 

We approved the amendments to the RIPE NCC document for the transfer of Internet numbers and resources and the change of members official legal name, which we published.  And we approved the proposed changes for the articles, which you will hopefully vote on today. 

This is a very quick overview what they are.  Athina will later go into details and explain what we did and what the idea is.  But, these are the three topics, the clarification that the General Meeting has the final word on appointing new arbiters, clarification that the audit report does not have to be approved by the General Meeting and why.  And explains how the General Meeting verdict can be challenge and how new votes will take place and how that looks like.  Athina will talk about that more, as I said. 

RIPE NCC surplus:   

As, you know,  if you have joined the General Meeting before, the members can decide what happens to the surplus and this is also one part which we vote on today.  This is a good mechanism for revenue corrections.  So, we are very precise, hopefully, with the budget and what we spend, but the income is not always clear because the amount of new members is an unknown.  So, if we actually have more new members than we predict, then there might be a surplus and then the question is what do we do with it.  There are two options. 

We put it to the reserves and pay tax on it or we give it feel back to you.  We did that, I don't even know the last, three, four, five years, and the board is quite confident that the reserves are adequate right now, so we do not have to add them so we actually suggest that we give it back to the members to you.  Like the years before, no big change there. 

The ongoing work.  Something we always do is developing the strategic direction of the RIPE NCC, so where do we go?  What do either the financial impact or, you know, the change in the landscape mean for us? 

We will, as I said before, finalise the activity plan and the budget for 2019.  We do quite a lot of community and member engagement, so like, of course, for example, this week or at various other event, where you can find us and tell us what you think about us or what we should do or ideally tell us what we did successful for you and why you like us. 

We keep up to date with the RIPE policies and the membership discussions on the mailing list or in the Address Policy.  And of course we supervise the RIPE NCC management. 

But we are also a liaison to various other corporations and other RIRs. 

As I said before, we can just be as good as we actually know what you want.  We are the ones representing you.  You elected us.  So, you can let us know either in the GM today or more in general during the week whenever you see us in the hallway, or on the members discussed mailing list or actually send us e‑mails directly which became a little bit more trendy in the last weeks, what you think and what you want. 

And then, of course, we can take that into account and act accordingly. 

With that, any questions, comments, so far before we go to the activity plan and Axel?  Nope?  Good.  Then, Axel, it's all yours. 

AXEL PAWLIK:  Hello again.  So, I don't know about you, but I am terribly hungry so I'll try to be concise.  I have talked about our activities and our plans for next year already, this is a look at the document more or less and, as we promised, what sort of grows and what shrinks a bit and what stays the same. 

The activity plan and budget is the most important document we produce for your comments.  We understand you want it to be as clear and understandable as possible, or even more so.  So, yeah, we have worked on it quite a lot. 

We put key statistics in it, information, we hope in a way that is easily to understand and of course, budget is on the title as well so some financial figures for each of the activities or the major activities. 

We tried to improve the thing all the time.  So, you might have seen a couple of changes there or improvements.  An overview of plans for increased efficiencies, we have been asked to do that, so there it is.  Information boxes, the new layout, easier to understand.  If you don't have that much time you can leaf through it quickly and find the same layout of the pages.  And a sort of summary section 2019 at a glance. 

You have seen this slide before.  Like I said, I will be concise, I won't go into too much detail here. 

Efficiencies, and we'll see a little bit about that also from Gwen in a moment, so, yeah, there is lots of new members coming in.  We want to treat them and deal with them and allocate resources as efficiently as possible, so we are looking at simplifying automating processes for new LIR applications, billing, transfers, stuff like that.  Also, I mentioned web content earlier, that's something we want to arrange in a way that is easy to grasp and people can find their bits quickly and then we can maybe save a couple of tickets in terms of, can you please explain this or that.  And of course enabling our staff to focus on the more complex requests. 

What I didn't talk to, and I won't talk to in great detail now, but I'll mention it, we are looking at our organisational ‑‑ our organisational structure.  So that we can configure ourselves, the RIPE NCC, as your membership association, in a way that makes it, of course, efficient, agile, so that we can put as many ears on the ground as possible and maybe more so than an account configuration, so we understand what's going on in the world and I hear about the changing landscape; if you look out the window it looks the same, but some underground things are changing, possibly, and the easier we hear that, the easier we understand that, the better it will be for us.  We are looking at that as well and maybe next time around you see you have some more things to report there. 

Otherwise, figure, clarification, FTEs, full‑time equivalents.  It's not warm bodies on the job, it's slices of warm bodies on the job and that sounds not too pretty, but yeah, that's what it is. 

OPEX, Capex, the usual disclaimers. 

So, key activities that we are doing that are new and/or expanding in 2019.  And you'll see the budget goes up by 15%, that's the proposal.  So, there is quite a number here. 

Registry maintenance, the one new, really new thing here that brings a bit of work is the abuse‑c validation.  Otherwise, we do more assisted registry checks to keep the registry up to date and correct.  And more brain power goes into investigations, seeing what's coming in, what type of documents are they all valid or not and dealing with disputes and hijacking. 


We had a nice presentation by Rumy, so that's the big main thing there, the credentialing.  Thank you for the positive comments.  We want to look at more modular online learning, do more sort of, content‑wise, more courses and workshops to spread our knowledge around, so that's growing as well. 

The K‑root, to withstand sort of more stronger attacks, that's the main thing here. 

Looking at information security and IT membership growth, infrastructural growth in general, but also security, like I mentioned earlier, looking at that and being prepared and organised in a way that makes everything more safe. 

Outreach and engagement.  Again, broadening outreach to our members and stakeholders, in specific countries, in various sectors, strategic partnerships, and safeguarding the influence that we have in Internet governance and defending the bottom‑up model. 

In legal, again, there is so much stuff coming in that is of dubious quality, especially sort of as we see IPv4 scarcities are happening and hopefully not for that much longer.  We need to put our legal heads and minds to that and look at those things.  Also, we have seen GDPR falling upon us, that took quite a bit of resources, and we see sort of similar or new and different legal initiatives coming on the horizon, so we need to be prepared for those as well and track those and prepare when that happens. 

I mentioned RIPE Stat being a very, very, very popular service.  So, looking to the user interface, they are faster access to data and extending the data sources that are available through RIPE Stat is one thing we have. 

Analysis, data analysis and support.  Having data is great.  Relying on others to work on that and interpret that, that's also a good thing, but also doing some of that ourselves.  And also, getting people together more actively, getting people together from various organisations to look at this and have a collaborative effort is a good thing, I believe, so we are investing in that. 

RIPE meetings, I mentioned that, you see them, they are getting bigger.  Next year also we go to Reykjavik, which might not be the cheapest place on earth, but it's a place to go to as well. 

Management and human resources in general, we are for quite a while already but will continue to look at policies in HR and things like that, and streamline them, make them easier to administer and organise ourselves again.  And training workshops to develop staff, skill‑set development, management there as well. 

Finance administration, I won't talk much about that at all because Gwen will do much more than I would do. 

Integrated risk management is a new thing there as well, again in your interest, making sure what we know what we are doing and what our risk appetites are in various areas.  It's also good for the board to know, of course. 

Then there are other things that we are doing that are not growing.  Ongoing and/or decreasing things, these are the ongoing things.  All is important but they don't happen to grow next year or not significantly.  Those are those.  

We have a couple that we still find very, very important to do.  But incidentally, next year, we invest less or just attribute less FTE slices to those, so they go down in cost for next year.

I am sure you have seen all that in the document already that you have memorised. 

The summary for the budget for 2019, 24,000 LIR accounts, increase in income probably 23% or maybe more.  Budget increase of 15 or hopefully less.  But budgeting for 15.  The surplus of probably around 10 million, or we'll see, maybe slightly more.  And the cost per LIR, that's the number that I love is going down again, and that's my aim and that answers also I think Alexander's question from earlier. 

Any questions for now?  We also can take them sort of later on, but I see somebody moving.  

AUDIENCE SPEAKER:   We have a major event happening in Europe next year.  Have you rated any impact of the Brexit on the RIPE NCC, if there is any? 

AXEL PAWLIK:  Brexit.  I am sure Nigel is happy to speak about that.  I don't think it will have a terrible impact on us because we have so many candidates that are not part of the EU and we are dealing with them rather efficiently.  But I don't know, that's me. 

REMCO VAN MOOK: If I can say a little bit about that.  Compared to some of the other events that we have had to deal with in our service region, like the trade embargoes with Iran, I would hope that Brexit will have less of an impact than that sort of thing. 

AXEL PAWLIK:  We very much intend to serve our members in the UK, in the years to come. 

Thank you. 


CHRISTIAN KAUFMANN:  Thanks, Axel.  Probably the word you will hear today most and it started in the Services Working Group is the word 'efficiency'.  And that is mostly triggered ‑‑ well, not just, but quite a bit triggered by you and some of you, and probably a short disclaimer before Gwen comes.  What we did in the past was, we always looked at the efficiency component, but we probably looked at it more on a case‑by‑case basis for the various activities.  As there was quite some feedback in the last General Meeting, we reacted and made an initiative out of it.  So we are not just looking at it on a case‑by‑case basis, but we also have initiative for it, and today we have the first parts which we will report on it, and Gwen will do that with the rest of the financial update.  Thanks, Gwen. 

GWEN VAN BERNE:  Good evening everyone, also to the members online.  My name is Gwen van Berne and I am the CFO of RIPE NCC. 

Further to Christian was just saying you have asked us to give you more transparency on the efficiency gains, and also the RIPE NCC Executive Board and senior management find it very important to explicitly steer and monitor cost savings throughout the organisation, especially in the upcoming year, where there will be lots of talk about the IPv4 transition period.  We will dive deeper into our general financial strategy through a full financial update later in this presentation, but first we would like to start with giving you some more transparency on the efficiency gains that we aim to realise. 

Efficiency gain is of great significance because what we want to do is balance the quality of our service with the costs that are attached to providing the activities. 

So, in 2019, we expect what Axel just explained, to raise 32.7 million, and that is actually linked to three reasons. 

Laborious due diligence processes, execute new and ongoing activities and an increased workload as a consequence of the growing LIRs.  Because we are asking for more funding, we find it extremely important to be completely transparent about the efficiency gains that we realise.  And also, we firmly believe that membership growth and prudent cost control go hand in hand. 

But just to be clear about the purpose, indeed also was Christian was mentioning, the purpose of this efficiency project is really to give transparency and laying the ground work for the future, but the financial strategy is really a lot broader than cost savings only.   I think it's very important to clarify that. 

So what we want to do here is to put into a place a structure where we can effectively respond to the membership needs, to your needs.  Also, we plan to simplify and automate our processes where this is possible.  Simplifying billing procedures, simplifying transfer requests, Filippe spoke about that in the Services Working Group, and also optimising internal IR processes where it's defendable we will definitely automate and improve and simplify our procedures. 

Through this we want to ensure that our staff can focus on the increased workload that is attached to the growing complexity of our work. 

Other examples of the efficiency gains we would like to realise are for example in the IT infrastructure department, where we are investigating whether we can change our configuration management systems and whether we can standardise the interaction between our DNS and K‑root service platforms and in cooperation with other operators.  Also, what we are doing, we are investigating whether we can optimise our co‑location model for other IT services such as RIPE Atlas and others. 

And lastly, we would like to improve information security to create long term efficiencies. 

The last part, the last area where we would like to create efficiency gains in the coming period is communications and we plan that to further stream line web content, to better meet user needs, and also, with that, we think that we can reduce complexity for you for the members and we find that is very important. 

So what you have also seen actually on the slide before, there was a range of the efficiency gains, I think that also that question came up, I think Alexander asked a question in the Services Working Group, so how much money is attached to the efficiency gains per LIR, per member and we are working with a range between 300K and 600K, we think that it's feasible to do that, so ideally you are talking about an increased capacity of, that represents also €25 approximately per member. 

We find it important to work, because quantifying is one of the things we want to show to you what we are doing. 

The biggest area where we believe we can create efficiency are the administrative processes so we're looking there at a range between 150 and 250K and one of the most important areas there what we would like to improve is the billing procedure.  What we plan to do is to move to yearly invoicing only.  And also, we want to reduce the amount of tickets through other measures, I think also Filippe mentioned a lot of examples in his talk in the Services Working Group and through that again we would like to reduce also the workload of staff and also would like to reduce the workload of support staff for example in HR. 

So to share some more details about the efficiencies we would like to achieve, let's take up our current billing cycle.  

In 2019 we would like to move to yearly invoicing only, what I just explained and we have good reasons for this line of thinking. 

The payment behaviour of you, our members, is really good, and we appreciate it very much by the way, and we feel that we can reduce the complexity to serve you in a better way.  We are very conscious that the economies of our service region are different, and also individual members are very different.  And we know of course that in certain parts of our service region, for example in Russia, and the Ukraine there are very specific requirements for invoicing. 

We definitely believe we are confident that we can tackle all these needs and issues on a case by case basis.  We believe also that it is better to allow for payment exceptions for particular situations, instead of offering a very wide variety of invoice possibilities upfront. 

Because in general, what we have seen over the last years, is that most members do not really complain about the height of their fees but they do complain of the inclarity and complexity of quarterly payments. 

Let me show you some statistics to underpin my story.  From 2014 till now, the amount of invoices grew with 51%.  So we're talking about 22,000 invoices in 2014 and now, of course, with the enormous growth of LIRs, we have almost reached the amount of 35,000 invoices. 

For your reference point, this summer, almost 20% of LIRs, 19% to be exact, pay us quarterly, of course if you invoice them four times a year, that is an enormous amount of invoices, and together that's being shown in this graph, it's a lot of work. 

Also what you see, quite a large proportion of this particular group, so the 20% of LIRs again, almost 4,000 LIRs, received reminders that their invoices are due, and what we estimate that, on top of the normal invoices, we'll send out 21,000 reminders.  And again, in 2018 almost 40% relates to the quarterly payment cycle.  It's a lot of work, almost 8,000 reminders in April, July and October combined. 

So, again, we really feel that the work that is attached to that in customer services, in the finance department, also for you, because sometimes you miss invoices, if we charge on a quarterly basis, so again, we really believe that we can reduce complexity here, reduce workload if we move the whole billing cycle to a yearly scheme. 

So, this was the update for efficiencies, I don't know whether we'll take answers now or at the end of the presentation. 

CHRISTIAN KAUFMANN:  I think let's go through all of them.  Then it's more context.

GWEN VAN BERNE:  So further to the efficiency gains, I'm also presenting a full financial update today.  And my aim here is to give you a more understanding about our financial strategy. 

Of course, finance is a very important topic of conversation if you want to secure that RIPE NCC can continue to create value.  So this presentation will explain our position and our financial reserves in more detail.  And also what we would like to do is to use this  opportunity to share some financial strategy thoughts to ensure that our funding model and our future activity plans are sustainable and that the expenditures continue to be aligned with your motivations.  And also, of course, with our mandate in the Internet ecosystem. 

So what I'd like to share with you is that I have three key messages in my financial update.  And the first one is, if you look at our financial statements, and I will show them later on, you can see that our objectives are being secured by very strong accounting position.  So that's good news, beautiful news. 

Also, the second key message is that if you compare our budget trends versus the value we create, I'm also proud to say that we're doing well.  There is clear recognition for this on multiple levels and we are happy also with the ongoing support for our activities.  The expenditures are in line with your motivations and with the mission. 

However, as a third key message, we do acknowledge that there will be volatility and consideration on the income size as a consequence of the IPv4 runout.  And we believe that you, our members, will continue to appreciate our service range and we know that RIPE NCC's mission is also very relevant for the future of the Internet community. 

So, as a CFO, I have no doubt about our prospects.  In our position, we see all the important trends and we are in the midst of revising our mission and vision to be ready for our next phase. 

And also, I think with all the IPv4 talk, let's not forget we are very flexible and we operate in a yearly cycle.  So we can and will amend our service to fulfil our role in a sustainable way.  I think that was also the message from the board.

So, to the agenda.  So thanks to your contributions, we were able to invest money where it can do a lot of good for the Internet and we fill services for you and for a larger group of stakeholder holders.  What we want to do is to be open on how we spend and utilise your money.  This talk will highlight some aspects which have a direct financial consequence for you individually and also for the membership base in general.  So we will start, also Christian already explained, with this year's financial surplus and our redistribution proposal.  

This, of course, is linked to our overall performance for 2018.  Then I will move on to our financial reserves, indicated by the balance sheet and to our budget trend and forecasts.  We will share some worst‑case scenarios, and I will speak about generic membership trends and then we will end this presentation with a summary of our financial strategy. 

So, every year, you, our members, can vote at this October GM meeting, whether you would like us to return excess paid fees by redistribution to the membership.  The board and senior management of RIPE NCC would like to propose to redistribute the excess surplus from this year.  With our expected financial reserves for 2018, and thanks to the enormous growth in new LIRs, we expect that we can present a positive fiscal surplus of almost 10 million for 2018.  So, last month, we crossed the 20,000 LIR milestone and let's assume we will have 21,000 LIRs in the end of the year.  Then this will mean that each member, each LIR, will get a potential redistribution of €475.  Again, we fully stand behind this proposal, and I think also as said in the three key messages of this presentation, 2020 will bring more volatility and will bring more uncertainty, so maybe next year we do have to reassess whether we can then redistribute the financial surplus or whether we have to add it to our reserves to better fulfil our long‑term obligations, but let's see also how next year will unfold. 

So let's go through some indicators.  The good news again, the income growth in 2018 of approximately 17%.  A cost growth of between 6 and 7%, which, luckily, is lower than the income trend, which is very good.  Again, we find it extremely important to be prudent with the income growth.  So, again, you can see here there is the surplus trend, it went up from almost 4 million in 2016 to 6 million last year, to almost 10 million this year.  And also what Axel explained, we also project that next year is going to be a comparable amount. 

And indeed with the latest Q3 closing date, that we now assume that our LIR membership base will reach 21,000 at the year end.  

And the latest average cost per LIR numbers are €1,311, which is a bit lower than you have seen in some other slides, but that is because it is the latest available information.  

So this also visualises the profit and loss trend between 2016 and 2018.  So again, 2018 is the estimation with the numbers that are now available.  Faster income growth and expenses.  Also, what you see here actually is the strong relation between our surplus, that's the yellow box, and the income from signup fees, which is the orange box.  And I think it's very good that also underpins that we are very prudent with the excess money. 

I think further to this again, we have discussed the status of the financial reserves and I think also what is good to know, currently we are also investigating if we maybe have to define more explicit metrics to have a good benchmark for our financial reserves, that is in the future. 

Our budget activities are becoming larger in scale.  So, yes, that is an underlying trend.  On the other hand, what we will show also later on this presentation, we are of course flexible to change accordingly and we will do that if it's necessary. 

One of the important elements that we always would like to be very transparent about is indeed the average cost per LIR.  And what is important about this graph also that you can see what happened since the last introduction of the existing membership fee of €1,400, and also, actually, you see here, this is actually quite an interesting point, because that's, in theory, where we become independent from our income stream from signup fees from new members. 

Again, with the latest estimations, we expect to reach a level of €1,311, which is a good trend, the trend line is good, and we hope that we can continue with this. 

Our balance sheet has been very stable over the last years, and we expect that, with the redistribution of this year's surplus, again that the balance sheet of 2018 will be comparable to this overview. 

Two financial indicators from the balance sheet that I would like to highlight here and that also again clearly underpin that our mission is being secured by a strong accounting position.  That is, the first one is our ability to meet short‑term obligations.  If you look at total assets and divide it by total liabilities, you can see we're in clear shape.  For the entrepreneurs in this room, we are of course a not‑for‑profit and therefore this position, I feel, is very appropriate. 

And also the second indicator I would like to highlight is of course our ability to meet longer term obligations.  Our clear in‑house position also reflects a very strong value and our solvency rate at the moment is 70%.

Budget growth versus LIR growth.  We did not exaggerate the scale of this graph because the Y axis both start at 0, both on the right side and on the left side.  On the left side, you see the LIRs, on the right side you see our budget growth, that's the blue line with the dots. 

Again, what we want to show in this picture is that the picture growth is not so high as the growth in LIRs, which is a good thing.  But of course, it is very clear that there has been enormous movements in our membership basis and also that the work that is attached to that that it has been quite substantial. 

Because if you look at the amount of LIRs, for example, in 2015 and you compare it to 2019, you see an enormous leap.  From an operational point of view, we're almost doubling our size in five years. 

And again, luckily the expense levels didn't go so fast, but still of course that has an effect on your budget size. 

I think also again, what we're looking at as we speak, is the net increase of nearly 4,000 LIRs per year and for next year again we expect the same amounts, 4,000, 5,000 LIRs. 

So budgets are becoming larger in scale.  Growth seems to be a bit structural, but again we are also investing now to respond in the future. 

I think also I can assure you that we are really working on it and we feel that we are ready for anything that might happen. 

This is a sensitive slide so I find it very important to clearly explain the context of this slide. 

Why are we showing this to you?  We want to show this to you because again, we fully acknowledge that there will be volatility and consolidation on the income side as a consequence of the IPv4 runout.  But again, we do believe that also in the future that you will continue to support us and that you appreciate our service range.  But we are showing the slides because we do want to indicate that we are really ready and that we're also closely monitoring what is going on with the income from additional LIR accounts that is mostly related of course to the exhaustion of the IPv4 pool.  

In red, what we have done is visualise the income that is attached to the additional LIRs since 2016.  So we have initiated the 24‑month waiting period in 2015, and since then, we have been tracking the amount of additional LIRs and also the income that is attached to that. 

Of course, this income is sensitive to consolidation of things because some of these LIRs will merge and then the income streams will be reduced.  The income stream is fluid in that sense. 

Again, we don't know, it's very hard in this particular stage to predict how much of this worst‑case scenario can be compensated of course by new organisations that also might join us, that's triggered by the transfer market or triggered by the ambitions from this community, or triggered by other needs, because what we have seen is that 70% of the new LIRs are not related to existing groups.  So there are still also a huge underlying trend also of influx of new members. 

What we do know is, the uniqueness of public Internet resource is also very valuable and we know there is an ongoing need for our services.  That was also clear in the Services Working Group, where presentations were also given, and also Rumy, about new initiatives and also the growth, for example, of information requests that we get through RIPE Stat, there is an enormous growth there. 

So let's see how that's going to develop in the future. 

Also, of course, we want to be realistic about the expense trend.  And, I think what's also very important, if you look at the slides, so the first numbers, and the bit in the darker blue I would say, that is already an historical trend.  That was the budget growth over the last years.  For next year, we're asking for a budget growth to almost 33 million, that is a rise of 15%.  And after of course, we have to adjust our plans and also see what's going to happen.  So, are there new initiatives that will gain a lot of support or are there things that we need to reduce and what is the exact effect of the IPv4 runout in the coming years? 

We don't expect of course the 15% is really an outlier, we don't expect that we are going to repeat that.  Definitely not.  But also of course we are realistic in the sense that already personnel expenses and the developments in the market, etc., etc., I mean, reducing budget will also require that we really prioritise and that we also make choices about the things that we do. 

I think also the 15% again, Axel explained it, the reason for that is really that the work has become more laborious and also the really the fact that we are serving more members and also of course we are investing in new services like K‑root, training and risk management and we believe they are all important and we believe that we can create value through doing it. 

So what we can influence of course is our financial model.  So it's maybe hard to influence the exact influx of new members but our financial model we can tweak, there are a couple of things we can do. We can adjust membership fees, we can adjust our expenses and I think if you talk about adjusting expenses, adjusting activities, of course we can initiate new things, we can stop doing things, there is a lot of possibility there.  And in the end, also, of course, we have financial reserves, we have the clearing house position, and if it's really necessary, we might consider using that.  

So, again, the adaptability is there so we feel we are confident also for the coming period. 

The big question of course remains membership development.  And there are many factors of course that have an influence on the composition of our membership base.  And again, a large chunk of course can be explained by the allocation of IPv4, but we also see the other trends.  So we see a growth in sectors like finance, banking and other enterprises.  And also of course, there is also an interest, I would say, in resource holders and also the number of resource holders of course is clearly expanding.  So I think, historically, the RIPE NCC's focus was on the technical community alone, but also we see that the uniqueness of IP address space, I would say, and the need for neutral information are also strongly valued outside our traditional community. 

So for the coming period, I really would like to invite you to share your opinion about our future membership composition, to ensure that our funding model and future activity plans and budget stay healthy and aligned. 

In the end, of course, it's simple because there are two options:  either the membership base will grow or it will shrink.  Again, I'm not concerned about the potential financial possibilities to create value and I also think that we can ‑‑ actually, I think it's very wise that we respond at the right time.  Because also I'd rather have that we react to things that we really see than to steer a future outcome in the wrong direction. 

So, again, I would like to repeat what I have said at the beginning.  We're flexible and we operate in yearly cycles.  We can and will adjust the service to fill our role.  Please share your opinion, how you foresee that this will develop further and what journeys there are. 

So, what are those membership needs for the future?  Some things of course are very clear also for us, the uniqueness of number resources, the need for neutral information, strengthen due diligence procedures, build an efficient and automated processes, prepare for the volatility and the consolidation of the membership growth, prepare for the migration to IPv6.  So those are needs that we'll definitely address. 

And then also to summarise in the financial strategy, what we will do out of our financial responsibilities.  We'll continue, of course, to be a not‑for‑profit funding model and we also will continue with authorised spending in line with an established mandate.  What we are going to do a bit more explicitly is indeed being very transparent in our reporting not only the activity plan, not only the financial report, but also a bit more about the efficiency gains, also I think we have always done it but we'll condition with the average cost per LIR, but we are also going to be a bit more explicit about the risk appetite.  And if you talk about risk appetite, what do we mean about this? 

I think there it's also really important.  What is the amount and type of risk that we are willing to take in to meet our strategic objectives?  Can we accept the consequences and where do we make choices?  I think that amount is also very important to us for the future.  

And on the funding side, so the RIPE NCC funding strategy aims to generate sufficient income so that we can fulfil our obligations in a stable and predictable manner.  Of course a reasonable fee level is also important for us, because we want to ensure that businesses and consumers across our service region can continue to get access so Internet resources. 

We believe that it is appropriate to have a good discussion about the composition of our membership base and also of course, together with the other regional Internet registries, we have to maintain a healthy ecosystem and therefore will continue to build strong relationships with our direct and indirect stakeholders. 

So to summarise it:  In my role, I have no doubt about our prospects.  In our position, we are knowledgeable, we see the trends, we are also in the midst of revising our mission and vision to be ready for next phase.  And I think with all the, we are ready, we are flexible, we operate on a yearly cycle, so what we will see here also, together with you we will change and adapt our financial strategy to continuously fulfil our role in a sustainable way. 

That's it. 

CHRISTIAN KAUFMANN:  Thanks a lot, Gwen.  Any questions?  Comments?  Erik was faster, clearly. 

ERIK BAIS:  Gwen, thanks for the update.  I have a question.  Currently, we have about 6,600 /24s left and about 5,000 members that still haven't requested it.  Did you calculate that model as well, what if they request it tomorrow? 

GWEN VAN BERNE:  That's an additional income of also approximately 15 million, so that's not even included in the chart, so it will have a positive effect. 

ERIK BAIS:  No, that will mean those are existing members that have not requested their final /22 yet.  So, in that model, you will lose 5,000 members.  So the worst possible outcome that you had on the slide will not come to that point, because you know, in that case, if they all request it tomorrow, it will not go to 43 million.  Did you run that test as well and what will ‑‑ what is the effect on that? 

GWEN VAN BERNE:  Yeah, maybe I can respond to it, but yeah.

REMCO VAN MOOK:  So, I fully take that in.  At the same time, if you look at the demographic of that group, these are the same people who have not requested that address space for six years, the chances of them asking for that space tomorrow all of a sudden are, I would suggest, slim.  Of course, we take into account in our planning and to an extent in our worst case planning, that doesn't happen.  I do think that what we represent here in terms of worst case is a realistic scenario with a maximised consolidation and that's what we mean by the worst case scenario.  I hope that answers your question. 

ERIK BAIS:  Okay. 

AUDIENCE SPEAKER:   Kurtis Lindqvist.  Could you go to slide 15.  It's very colourful, I want to know how you made that slide. 

This ‑‑ I have the greatest respect for the very wise men and women up in the front and the RIPE management team, but the chances that anyone will predict the exact estimated runout and manage to time that with the cost‑cutting is quite optimistic.  When this happened in 2001, we missed it by a little bit more than that.  And that's what worries me if you are going to have to take the cost out, which is essentially staff cost, which will be pretty expensive, that graph won't look like that.  You will have a much higher cost running in as the revenue is actually going down much deeper, unfortunately not to the same graph, it's very hard to compare the revenue compared to expenses but I think this is a very optimistic view of a fast cutting of expenses.  It's not really going to look like that, and I'd like to encourage you to run that model, not necessarily to disclose it to us, but I'd like to be ensured that the board has done that modelling and have prepared a plan for how to run it, because that's the real risk here if the cost of the time it takes to actually run a wind‑down if you have this, because your following slide said that your choices are to raise membership fees or to cut costs.  In 2001, we raised membership fees, because that's all we could do, and if I look at this, this is the pretty much the only thing we can do here as well. 

GWEN VAN BERNE:  I think it's a very good comment and I think the difficulty of this slide, of course, is that also what are we going to show?  If you talk about rundown scenarios where you have to reduce staff levels, of course potentially there might be an enormous cost attached to that.  So, yes, we are, of course, investigating every, you know, scenario that we have to take into account to stay sustainable, but also, adding that to the graph is going to be a bit difficult, and also, to be honest, it's also a bit like this, because ideally, again, the membership influx is really hard to project, and we will not run down if it's not necessary. 

KURTIS LINDQVIST:  I'd like to make sure that the board tell us and assure the membership that this has been modelled and well run.  If you don't do that, you might risk the stability of the association, right, which is ‑‑ because if I run this in a worst‑case scenario, you'll barely have enough cash reserves to survive, right? 

REMCO VAN MOOK: In addition to Gwen's comments, there is a couple of things.  As you indicate, we have a clearing house, we have a reserve that we can use.  At the same time, if the worst‑case scenario happens, which is the lovely coloured graph that I'm also keen to find out how Gwen did that, is no level of, like, cost‑cutting across the board is going to help us take that curve down, and we fully accept that.  There is two ways we can do this.  One of them is cutting activities, which we will then discuss with you in a timely fashion in an activity plan and budget for a future year.  The other one is if a core component of that cost is related to the core, core, core services of running the registry and keeping the registry accurate, then we're going to have to talk about raising membership fees, and I fully understand that that's not a popular subject, but if I look at where a large part of the cost growth on ongoing activities is going right now, it is in that exact area, it is in people trying to do fraudulent behaviour, trying to take what's not supposed to be theirs.  We are evolving into a new world where initially the RIPE NCC was a loving and trusting place where, well, if you sent a fake copy, we'd send you a kind e‑mail back saying, please send us a better fake copy.  To the modern 2018 place where we are right now, where we do have to check and verify and we are evolving our risk management, we are our trust models, and we are implementing the abuse‑c stuff and all of that doesn't come for free. 

AUDIENCE SPEAKER:   Peter Koch.  First, I would like to respond to Remco's previous remark regarding the demographics of the LIRs that didn't request address space so far.  I wouldn't be completely optimistic as you are in that direction, because some of the governing bodies of these entities might just, to avoid the risk, have to ask for the addresses not to violate the fiduciary duties, depending on how the value of the remaining addresses is actually growing.  By the way, the same thing that's going to happen if text authorities, if they didn't do that already, have started determining that, that might be determining assets to texts. 

My question is actually two questions.  One is, we have had cost per members given on various slides on average, but that averages out new members and old members and everybody.  We have also heard that the rigour applied to new applications is increasing because of acts of fraud or looking like fraud or something like that.  Is it that still the signup fees in total cover this additional burden or is that averaged out?  And maybe you can't tell the difference.  Probably not individually, not after individual members...

REMCO VAN MOOK:  Well, so, I don't think we have looked at it ‑‑ so of course we look at it on an aggregate basis.  The signup fee is ‑‑ I mean, as you probably know, is one of the few things that has been unchanged since pretty much time immemorial for various reasons.  And my personal view on this is, it's still comfortably high.  So, it will cover the additional costs we're running right now.  But will that be the case in the future?  I do not know. 

PETER KOCH:  Okay.  I'll take it from there.  My second question is regarding the worst‑case scenarios again.  Since we have heard there is additional burden on checking members and so on and so forth, now a collapse scenario, whether that's in 2020 or 2019 or 2021, we don't know, a collapse scenario might actually lead to a situation where some of the paying members just vanish, which would maintain or even increase the cost on the side of the RIPE NCC for going after these members, while, at the same time, the budgeted income would have to be written off.  Has that been catered for in these scenarios, if that happens in bigger numbers? 

REMCO VAN MOOK: I am happy to speak to that.  So, what you are saying is, we would be, if I understand your question correctly, you would suggest that we might see a higher rate of delinquency in payments as a result of running out is that correct? 

PETER KOCH:  Yeah, defaulting LIRs, or members. 

REMCO VAN MOOK: Taking your previous point where address space becomes worth ever much more money, not paying your bills and getting your address space revoked is probably the single most stupid thing to do.  So we didn't really take that into account, because we expect that people value the address space and numbers resources they hold. 

PETER KOCH:  Okay.  Fine.  Thank you. 

AUDIENCE SPEAKER:   Hans Petter Holen.  If you go to the next slide again.  I think the comforting news here is that, speaking as a member, is that you do have some time.  Now, Erik created a scenario where that could be seriously shortened and you do have some research or you do have some time to turn around.  What I read from this graph is the potential build‑up for cost in 2019 is something you probably shouldn't do with permanent resources. 

And the other thing here that we have discussed in the past is not necessarily adjusting the membership fee, but maybe look at the membership fee structure.  Because after runout, as Remco pointed out, the important thing for the members or for the resource holders is to maintain an accurate ‑‑ or proof of ownership or have the registration, so how should the model be to make sure their address space is registered in the future and making sure that matches the workload of the organisation?  I think that's a very interesting problem to look at and I'm not going to suggest the task force to look at the membership fees but actually we need to invest some thought into what the future fee structure should look at.  And

And I am a bit scared by saying that because I promoted the one‑member‑one‑fee in the past but maybe the future after 2021 is very different so we need to have a different model then. 

CHRISTIAN KAUFMANN:  As a matter of fact, actually, we promised that, for May next year, we would have an additional charging scheme to choose from, and suggest another one, so, whatever the suggestion will be, it will incorporate data like that. 

GWEN VAN BERNE:  And further, also to answer your questions about the flexibility for next year, indeed we will work a lot Working Group consultants, we're not going to use the full increase to hire permanent staff, so we are not doing that. 

AUDIENCE SPEAKER:   Cloud service, there are a couple of points I want to make here.  The first is, in the next couple of years we're going to see a huge amounts of mergers from the last /8 resources holders, we all know why and that's a loophole in the policy and their membership will be gone for you know after two years after they merge the account, we might want to take that into account.  That being said I don't think we should be worried too much about the whole thing.  I mean, RIPE, when I joined the RIPE, RIPE had 4,000 members, something like that.  Let's say if we bring down the membership to 4,000 and everybody stays the same the membership would still be well below $5,000.  I was a small ISP back then and I can afford it, a couple of thousands dollars a year, especially for some of the members, those members are rather affordable for infrastructure and I believe for nobody ‑‑ it's in nobody's best interest to see the RIPE NCC bankrupted.  So I don't think we should be that much a conservative about the future fees because, you know, the RIPE NCC is going to get paid one way or another, and the telecoms ISPs active in this vast region will keep paying the RIPE NCC for this keep part of infrastructure and operation of the registry, so I don't think we should be that much concerned or worried in that matter of sense. 

And I mean we can even go back, in old times we have different category of members that people pay difference depending on how much resource you are holding.  That might even work in the future.  So it's very much, you know, a non‑worriable question.  But as all financial planning, we do need to look at the next couple of years, the runout of this last /8 where people merge and a lot of this membership will dismiss or will be disappear, so as a financial person you got guys should really look into that.  That's it.  Thank you. 

CHRISTIAN KAUFMANN:  Thanks a lot for your comment.  

AUDIENCE SPEAKER:   Paul Wilson from APNIC.  I hope you don't mind a question from a non‑member.  I'm thinking ‑‑ I think it was the previous slide about your projections forward of revenue growth based on membership growth.  We are obviously thinking about this at APNIC.  I am wondering have you done any modelling or scenario planning on exactly what happens after the exhaustion date, because, I mean, the question is that, once there is no more v4 address space left and someone comes along and wants some and finds they don't have any, that they can't get any, are they going to go away and change their plans and do nothing else or are they going to realise they have to go out to the market to get the /22, or probably not on the first day, but eventually they'll say, well, actually, I'll have to stick with IPv6 instead.  But in either of those cases whether are they going out to the market to receive an allocation, a transfer or sticking with v6 only, then they are still becoming members, right.  So this idea that the day of exhaustion is the last day of a new member, is something that's clearly, you know, not going to be the case.  But what will be the ‑‑ what's the modelling, what are the scenarios, what will be the options and how many people will take the options on that day and then what that will have its effect on your revenue forward. 

GWEN VAN BERNE:  We definitely have to investigate that also further, but we have seen the trends and we are also looking at possibilities to quantify that further and then to also really have the numbers right for ‑‑

REMCO VAN MOOK: If I may add something.  That's exactly why this is a worst‑case consolidation scenario.  It's not reasonable to expect that nobody will become a new LIR after that cut‑off date, for exactly the reasons you have just described.  If people want to acquire address space on the market, they will still want to have it recognised in their name.  So that's going to keep going.  This scenario puts that at a big fat zero. 

AUDIENCE SPEAKER:   Fergal from the RIPE NCC.  I have two comments from Pascal from CHLAN.  He says following up on the question regarding Brexit, the only impact I can see is that, for RIPE NCC employees, they might lose their right to work in the Netherlands.  My comment is that the NCC should make contact with the NL authorities regarding this potential issue. 

Secondly, he says thumbs up to Gwen for the great work. 


CHRISTIAN KAUFMANN:  Thanks a lot, Gwen, and all the people who commented.  Now we come to something completely different. 

We have the tendency to update and precise our articles, and, as I already said, we have three, I believe, yeah, which we want to present today, and Athina will talk you through and say what we will do, or intend to do and why. 

ATHINA FRAGKOULI:  I am head of Legal from the RIPE NCC.  Indeed, this time, we went through the articles, we are trying to have a house‑keeping, see what we can clarify, what we can update.  And today, we propose three changes. 

These three changes add to the clarification of the wording.  They provide alignment with the Dutch law, and there are some provisions that update some obsolete procedures we had that were not taking into account in participation at the GM. 

So, the first amendment has to do with Article 12.4.  This is about the appointment of the arbiters, for the arbiters panel.  The current text says that "The Executive Board may appoint new arbiters," which is not exactly how it's done, because it's the GM that approves the arbiters.  So, this may give the impression that it's not the GM that approves the arbiters but the Executive Board, therefore we propose to get rid of the word "appoint" and replace it with the word "propose" that makes it more clear.  

That was the first change. 

The second proposed change has to do with the submission of the financial report and the audit report for the approval of the General Meeting. 

According to the Dutch law, the audit report does not have to be approved by the General Meeting.  So, in order to align with the legislation, we propose to keep both the financial report and the audit report as submissions for the General Meeting, but then have only the financial report for the GM's approval. 

Which leads me to the third and last amendment. 

This amendment has to do with a situation where the Chair pronounces the verdict after a voting of resolution at the GM and someone wants to challenge it.  What happens then?  According to the current text, a new vote shall be taken if so desired by the absolute majority at the meeting, or if there is a vote by ballot by someone present at the meeting.  This setup is really outdated and it comes from an era where we had no remote participation, where decisions could be made by acclimation and where only physical attendees could vote for the resolutions of the GM. 

Also, this provision wants the new vote to take place at the same GM, which may take sometime and it's not efficient. 

So what we propose is to get rid of this old text, and introduce a text that takes into account those that are physical attendees and voters and the moment voters, so, a new vote shall be taken if so desired by the absolute majority by those registered at the meeting, physically or remotely.  Also, we introduce the following sentence" a decision about the new vote cannot be challenged" so that we avoid a situation where a decision is challenged again and again and again and we create a loophole there. 

Finally we propose that the new vote will take place at the next GM, so that we can create certainty for those that are not there at the GM that can vote for the next round. 

And these are the proposed amendments.  Any questions? 

PETER KOCH:  I want dinner too, but I can't resist.  So only arbiters, the change of appoint to propose, does that change anything with the practice?  My understanding was that the board appointed people pending approval?  

ATHINA FRAGKOULI:  Exactly.  It doesn't change the practice, the practice is that the board actually indeed proposes.  Only we use the word "appoint" in the articles which may create misunderstandings in the process.  So we want to make sure that the process is aligned with the wording. 

PETER KOCH:  And with current practice. 

ATHINA FRAGKOULI:  Absolutely.  

PETER KOCH:  Thank you.  

CHRISTIAN KAUFMANN:  Sorry for coming so late to the mic.  I have a question about challenging the vote.  You said the absolute majority of those registered to vote.  However, the practice shows that much more people register to vote than those who cast votes at all, even counting the abstained ones.  So have you considered rephrasing that or would it be too complicated? 

ATHINA FRAGKOULI:  I'm not sure we can really exclude those that have the right to vote from challenging the pronouncement of the results.  So that's deliberate, that's my answer actually, it's deliberate that those that are registered to vote that the ones that we know have the right to vote at this particular GM. 

AUDIENCE SPEAKER:   I see.  But in practice, that will mean that it will be close to impossible to challenge a vote, because those who haven't cast a vote at all, will not participate in challenging it, I guess. 

ATHINA FRAGKOULI:  Just a comment.  In the previous text also had this challenge you are mentioning, it was like the absolute majority of those that are at the meeting, and they're entitled to vote. 

AUDIENCE SPEAKER:   Wolfgang, a question for clarification about the change in Article 13.  You said, you proposed that to get in line with Dutch law, and does Dutch law only not require that corporations approve ‑‑ get the approval for the financial report or are we not allowed to do it?  Or the audit report, excuse me. 

ATHINA FRAGKOULI:  So, no, it's just ‑‑ the Dutch law is very clear about the financial report. 


REMCO VAN MOOK: Actually we're not allowed to approve the audit report because that's up to the auditors. 

ATHINA FRAGKOULI:  In practice it's also a little bit difficult too, it's a third party that gives the audit. 

AUDIENCE SPEAKER:   Okay.  Thank you. 

AUDIENCE SPEAKER:   Fergal again from the RIPE NCC.  Mathia Nalis and Pascal again, they want to know what happens to the original vote between the current meeting and the next meeting, is that suspended? 

ATHINA FRAGKOULI:  It's not taken into account if it's challenged. 

CHRISTIAN KAUFMANN:  Any other question?  Good.  Thanks, Athina. 


So before we come to the best part of my evening, and I read all of the resolutions, Alan will give you a quick rundown how it actually works to vote on them. 

SPEAKER:  Thanks.  Okay, I am Alan from the RIPE NCC, and as per usual, at this point in the meeting I'll give you a quick run through of the voting procedure. 

Before we jump into that, just a quick overview on some of the figures for registrations at this GM. 

We have, of the total, 16,751 eligible voters.  We have 1,211 of those registered at present.  That's 7% of all eligible voters, all told.  Now, as you see from the plot at the bottom of this slide, that's kind of a dip from the last October GM, and it kind of interrupts a pattern we have seen of persistent growth.  So that's kind of interesting, but it's not too far out of kilter from what we have seen in the past. 

Overall, there are 74 countries represented in the voting at this General Meeting. 

To give you slightly more detail on that.  These are the countries that we have seen registrations from for today's meeting.  The top five are Germany, with by far and away the top one with 152 votes registered, the UK has fallen down a bit from previous years to 100, Russia, France, and 70 voters registered from Iran. 

Okay.  So, those points aside, let's look at the procedure itself. 

So, there are two main ways to vote at the GM, most of you are aware of this.  Those of you who are here in the flesh in this room at the meeting today can vote by paper ballot if you opted to.  For the alternative, or the many of you will have taken, it's also available to remote participants is electronic voting.  Voting starts at agenda point 7 at this meeting, so I'll hand back over to Christian in a moment, and he will open voting. 

There are four resolutions, as Christian mentioned, to be voted on at this meeting.  The first resolution needs a 50% of yes votes to be approved.  Resolutions 2, 3 and 4, as amendments to the Articles of Association, need more than two thirds of yes votes to be confirmed.  Okay. 

Just to note as well, abstentions are noted but they don't make any difference to the final count. 

Here is what the paper ballot looks like, just a couple of notes.  Only mark one box for each resolution that the vote on.  If you mark two your vote is void.  We'll take ticks, crosses, scribbles, whatever you like, as long as we can see that you are ticking that box. 

Those of you who have opted for the paper vote, please don't leave this room with your ballot in hand, okay.  If you do that, the vote is voided. 

Electronic voting.  Those of you who have opted for this method of casting a vote will have received an e‑mail by now.  As you see here, you go to the top link on that e‑mail and that will take you through to the voting software where you can cast your votes on each resolution.  Electronic votes can be cast until 9 a.m. local time, that's UTC plus 2 Amsterdam time on Friday, 19th October.  Friday morning, 9 a.m. Amsterdam time. 

Counting of votes we use a third‑party BigPulse system for voting.  The paper ballots are stored in the hotel safe until 9 a.m. on Friday morning.  After the voting deadline passes, paper votes are added to the electronic votes in the BigPulse system, and just so you're aware, there are independent observers from the other RIRs who take part to oversee that's all done properly. 

Announcing the results at 10:45 local time on Friday morning UTC plus 2, the GM will reconvene in this room.  Christian will then announce the results, and that announcement will be broadcast as per the rest of the GM for remote participants.  Just follow the link on the slide there.  

That's all from me.  If you have any questions, feel free to ask right now, otherwise those of you dealing with electronic voting, do feel free to come and ask us at the registration desk if you have any further questions. 



So, my favourite part of the evening as promised.  Before I open the voting, we go through them and I read them.  

Resolution number 1: 
The General Meeting approves the redistribution of the excess contribution paid in 2018 by the redistributing the RIPE NCC's 2018 surplus to the membership in 2019. 

Resolution number 2:   
The General Meeting adopts the amendments to Article 12 of the Articles of Association. 

Resolution number 3: 
The General Meeting adopts the amendments to Article 13 of the Articles of Association. 

Resolution number 4:
The General Meeting adopts the amendments to Article 18 of the Articles of Association. 

And, with that, I open the electronic voting.  I was told it takes like 30 seconds, so for the people who click immediately you might want to give it a moment. 

And with that, we actually adjourn the General Meeting ‑‑ oops, we are not adjourning, question?  No?  Good.  With that, we adjourn the General Meeting ‑‑

AUDIENCE SPEAKER:   Sorry, I want to make a last comment in the General Meeting.  As I instructed by Filiz actually, so we have a problem with ‑‑ we have a problem as ‑‑ so we being a consulting CTL customer to you membership on their behalf and we are told we can only register one membership at that time.  And we understand this year to slow down some of the people who abuse the last /8 policies, it's been going on for a very long time, somebody I heard trying to open, 10 or 20 memberships, but for a situation like that, I don't think it's fair for my customers being slowed down just because they choose us as a consultancy company to open a membership and do the consulting for them.  And I don't think that makes any sense to them as well.  And I have been told by some of the management in RIPE to raise this in the General Meeting to the Board, it's a board decision.  I would appreciate the board to reconsider that decision and to ‑‑ what I understand is that there is a reasonable thought to prevent abuse, too much abuse at least, we can't prevent abuse in a loophole that was outlying the policies there ‑‑ we shouldn't also create unfairness amongst the customers of us or for the matter of any other people who share us mailing address or same post address, which is possible if let's say you register an offshore company and that registration company probably do the same address for all their customers.  So, such restriction or one by one ‑‑ you know, you are limited one customer to another which each of them don't even know each other at all, is not really fair to the customer themselves.  It doesn't really work as well because, for us, we can just ask each of the customers to provide us additional e‑mail address and additional mailing address to have a work‑around, but then it creates additional layer of communication comlexity which is totally unnecessary and doesn't really work as well anyway.  Sorry about my English, but is that clear to the Board? 

CHRISTIAN KAUFMANN:  Yes, it is clear to the Board.  Thanks for your question and your comment.  Maria, do you want to comment on that? 

MARIA HALL:  Let's see how that works.  Thank you for the comment.  Actually, at the last board meeting, we had a lengthy discussion about this.  But after this discussion and trying to elaborate alternatives, we actually came to a decision to keep the existing procedures as it is.  And of course there are many reasons for doing that, but that is regarding, for instance, the policies we have, but also regarding how much is left of the address space and also want to protect the resources we have.  But it's also regarding to the diversity of the membership, so of course we want all the policies to be kind of able to catch up as many needs as possible for as many members as possible.  So, after the discussion, we want to do it plain, we want to do it easy and we want to do it fair.  So that is actually what we discussed and came to a decision. 

AUDIENCE SPEAKER:   Yeah, but this decision came with a few problems.  For example, if we go to one company, there is company ‑‑ there is people who specialise in setting up offshore companies and offshore companies as acceptable membership.  You have the same mailing address for all their customers and then two of you go to the RIPE NCC to open a membership then you are being told you need to line up for the other guy you never heard of to finish the membership application just because you share the same mailing address or legal address.  I don't think it's really in the board to protect the resource, it's lining the RIPE NCC as a secretariat to distribute the resource according to the policy words by words, not by an actual interpretation of it.  But as I understand, of course, I was part of all the policy development process of the last /8 as well, I was aware there was a loophole there and I was also aware people was abusing that loophole to the very original intent of the last /8 policy which had changed to IPv6, but I would appreciate if the board do in give more consideration that not like doing a one policy to cut everything with one knife, that's what we say in China like, you should be more distinguished to the people who actually abuse the system, or people like us, who are just providing a consultancy service to our customers to go through the process more smoothly, because if you really force my customer one by one it's also an unfairness to them and it's nothing to do it with diversity as well.  My customers is not any less diverse than any of the other customers which was in line in the process at the same time.  So, I think there must be a better solution to the Board.  Or we can put up a member resolution to that problem if that would be what other members ‑‑ I can put that forward in the member mailing list that you further discuss the issue.  But I think there must be another solution rather than just cut everything with one knife and say that's the end of the day, that's not going to help anything.  Thanks. 

CHRISTIAN KAUFMANN:  Thanks for your comment.  Actually, I guess we would appreciate if you bring it back to the members' list and have a discussion there, and see what the other positions are.  So...

AUDIENCE SPEAKER:   Sure I will do that.  Thank you. 

CHRISTIAN KAUFMANN:  Thanks a lot.  Oh, one more. 

AUDIENCE SPEAKER:   I am sorry.  You have previously showed a screen‑shot ‑‑ Rob ‑‑ you previously showed a screen‑shot with the electronic voting ballot.  What's the link or is it ensured that the link is not usable for the productive voting?  Of course it's not obvious from the screen‑shot if it's just from a trial or... yeah, if it's a productive mail. 

CHRISTIAN KAUFMANN:  Fergal apparently knows. 

SPEAKER:  We had the same question on the chat facility.  So, I am glad you asked.  No, when we set the ballot count we used the own e‑mail addresses and accounts to set it up.  And then we cleared the system.  So the final electorate is sent to BigPulse and that link won't be included in the electorate.  So only members who have registered will get an active link. 

CHRISTIAN KAUFMANN:  Perfect.  Thanks for the clarification. 

Good.  Then I guess now I try again.  With that, I adjourn the General Meeting till Friday morning, and at 10:45 local time I will then announce the results.  Thanks a lot and have a good evening.