New York University Skip to Content Skip to Search Skip to Navigation Skip to Sub Navigation

POLICY

Signature Authority Policy

CLICK HERE for Policy PDF

 

It is the policy of New York University (the “University”) that appropriate internal controls and accepted best practices be utilized in the approval of Transactions that bind NYU.

Purpose of this Policy

Entering into Transactions can create legally binding obligations and affect NYU’s financial control environment. The purpose of this policy is to promote the University’s internal control environment through specifying the persons who are Authorized to approve a Transaction, the criteria for delegating Approval Authority, and the limitations on Approval Authority.

Scope of this Policy

This policy applies to any member of the University Community who seeks to approve a Transaction. This policy does not apply to externally sponsored agreements that are governed by the Sponsored Programs Administration Handbook and administered by the Office of Sponsored Programs and Post Award Administration. The Chief Financial Officer of the University (the “CFO”) may exempt University Affiliates and divisions from this policy where the CFO agrees it is appropriate, including that the CFO is satisfied that the policies and/or procedures governing Approval Authority of any such University Affiliate or division are prudent. The University Affiliates and divisions shown on Exhibit I to this policy have been exempted from this policy by the CFO. Exhibit I will be updated by the CFO as the CFO adds or removes University Affiliates and divisions from exemption.

All existing delegations of Approval Authority not otherwise revoked will be deemed revoked as of the effective date of this policy. Any action taken under a proper delegation in effect at the time of the action will not be invalidated because of the subsequent issuance of this policy. All delegations of Approval Authority and Delegation Authority made on or after the effective date of this policy must be made in accordance with this policy.

Procedures for Implementation

I. AUTHORIZED PERSONS AND APPROVAL LEVELS

A. All Transactions must be approved by an Authorized person in accordance with this policy unless otherwise Authorized by the Board of Trustees of the University (or its Executive Committee).

B. Each Authorized person is designated as Level 1, Level 2, Level 3, Level 4, or Level 5, as follows:

Level 1:  President of the University (“President”)
Provost of the University
The Executive Vice President of the University (“The Executive Vice President”)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Executive Vice President for Health of the University (“EVP for Health”)
Secretary and General Counsel of the University (“General Counsel”)
Chief Financial Officer ("CFO")
Executive Vice President for Operations of the University (“EVP for Operations”)

Level 2: Senior Vice Provosts
Vice Provosts
School Deans
Senior Vice Presidents
Vice Presidents
Treasurer of the University (“Treasurer”)
Vice Chancellors
Persons delegated Approval Authority by Level 1 persons

Level 3: Persons delegated Approval Authority by Level 1 or 2 persons

Level 4: Persons delegated Approval Authority by Level 1, 2, or 3 persons

Level 5: Persons delegated Approval Authority by Level 1, 2, 3, or 4 persons

C. Level 1 and Level 2 persons have the Approval Authority set forth in Table A. Level 1 persons may delegate such Approval Authority to any of the above levels of person; Level 2 persons may delegate such Approval Authority to persons who report directly or indirectly to them; in both cases, up to the maximum levels set forth in Table A based upon a person’s level.

D. All delegations of Approval Authority must be expressly granted in writing. A delegation of Approval Authority also may grant Delegation Authority (i.e., provide that the person to whom Approval Authority is delegated has the right to further delegate his or her Approval Authority), provided that Delegation Authority by Level 2 and below persons is permitted only to persons who report directly or indirectly to the person delegating, such Approval Authority may not exceed the limitations set forth in Table A based upon the level of the person to whom such Approval Authority is delegated, and Level 5 persons are not authorized to grant Delegation Authority to any other person.

E. Delegations of Approval Authority may be indefinite or for a limited period of time, as so specified in the writing granting the Approval Authority, but in any case will automatically terminate if the Authorized person either ceases to be employed or engaged by NYU or ceases to hold the position specified in the delegation or a position that includes the duties contemplated by the delegation.

F. During an Authorized person’s absence there may be insufficient Authorized persons available to conduct necessary business. It is important for Authorized persons and their supervisors to assure that there will be adequate coverage during such times (e.g., a temporary delegation of Approval Authority may be appropriate).

G. The CFO or the General Counsel may revoke the Approval Authority or Delegation Authority of any Level 2, 3, 4, or 5 person at any time. Persons of a higher level can revoke Approval Authority or Delegation Authority of any lower level person who reports directly or indirectly to them (e.g., a Level 2 person can revoke the authority of a Level 3 person who reports directly or indirectly to that Level 2 person).

H. Table A specifies limitations on Approval Authority based on a maximum dollar amount for types of Transactions depending on the level of the Authorized person. A person is not Authorized to approve Transactions involving amounts in excess of the threshold established for his or her level (or any lesser threshold amount that may be specified in the applicable written Delegation Authority). Where a Transaction is denominated in other than U.S. dollars, the exchange rate as established by the CFO effective for the fiscal year in which the Transaction is approved (known as the “Budget Rate”) will be utilized in determining whether the approval is within the Approval Authority. The CFO may from time to time designate a revised Budget Rate for a specific currency in unusual situations, such as where there is extraordinary inflation resulting in a substantial currency devaluation.

I. There may be situations in which the Approval Authority and/or Delegation Authority established in Table A is further limited for certain persons or more generally by a unit. For example, a unit may decide to limit acquisitions Authorized by specific Level 3 persons or all Level 3 persons up to and including $5,000 rather than $25,000.

J. Unique situations within units or departments may require limited or short-term exceptions to this policy. Exceptions, including the American Express Card Program, must be specifically stated and must be approved in advance in writing by the CFO or the General Counsel.

K. The Academic and Administrative Fiscal Officers will serve as the Unit’s Delegation Steward.

II. APPROVAL PROCESSES AND ENFORCEMENT
A. Each Authorized person is responsible for ensuring that he or she has the appropriate Approval Authority to approve a Transaction, and that such approval and the Transaction itself complies with other policies of the University and of the applicable school, college, institute, operating unit, Global Network University site, or University Affiliate, including the following:
 
1. All purchase requisitions must adhere to the policies and procedures of the Purchasing Department Manual
 
2. All vendor payments must adhere to the policies on Business Expenses and Expense Reimbursement.  This also applies to recurring payments made during the normal course of business (e.g., payroll taxes and similar withholdings, recurring lease payments established through Purchasing and student refunds).

3. All activities involving accounts with financial institutions also are governed by the Bank and Securities Account Policy
 
4. All activities involving investment of the combined endowment fund are also governed by the Combined Endowment Fund Investment Policy. All activities involving investment of working capital are also governed by the Working Capital Fund Investment Policy. All activities involving investment of pension funds also are governed by the Staff Pension Plan and Retiree Health and Welfare Plan Investment Policy. The Combined Endowment Fund Investment Policy, the Working Capital Fund Investment Policy and the Staff Pension Plan and Retiree Health and Welfare Plan Investment Policy are on file in the office of the CFO.
 
5. All petty cash Transactions must adhere to the Petty Cash Funds Policy
 
B. With respect to the policies set forth in Subsections A.1. through A.5. of this Section II, the applicable policy will govern to the extent there is any inconsistency between such policy and this policy.
 
C. Each Authorized person approving a Transaction must affix his or her own signature (physical or electronic, as permitted) to any documents that are required to be signed. Signing or affixing someone else’s name is strictly prohibited except in special circumstances where permission is granted in writing for an express purpose by the person whose name is being affixed; provided, however, that a copy of the written permission must be submitted to the Office of the Controller of the University (the “Controller”) prior to the delegated person affixing the signature of the delegator to any document.
 
D. Each NYU school, college, institute, operating unit, Global Network University site, or University Affiliate is responsible for ensuring that the persons under its auspices comply with this policy and the terms of any delegation of authority given to them, including the limitations set out in Table A and any special restrictions specified in a particular delegation.
 
E. Where the University or a University Affiliate provides Transaction-related services to another University Affiliate, the policies and/or procedures of the former in approving the Transactions will apply, unless otherwise agreed in writing.
 
F. Please contact the Senior Director, Budget and Financial Planning at (212) 998-6143 for information on budget modifications.
 
III. MAINTENANCE OF MASTER LIST OF APPROVAL AUTHORITY AND DELEGATION AUTHORITY
A. Each school, college, institute, and other administrative unit of the University, each University Affiliate, and each Global Network University site is responsible for advising the Office of the Controller of each person under its auspices with Approval Authority and the authorizations granted to such person, including (i) the types of Transactions, (ii) the maximum approval amount for each type of Transaction, (iii) any other limits or specifications placed on such person’s Approval Authority, (iv) the cost centers for which such person has Approval Authority, and (v) the extent to which such person has Delegation Authority; and for promptly notifying the Office of Controller of any changes to this Approval Authority.
 
B. The Office of the Controller will maintain and make available a master list for each school, college, institute, operating unit, Global Network University site, and University Affiliate of each person under its auspices with Approval Authority and the authorizations granted to such person, including (i) the types of Transactions, (ii) the maximum approval amount for each type of Transaction, (iii) any other limits or specifications placed on such person’s Approval Authority, (iv) the cost centers for which such person has Approval Authority, and (v) the extent to which such person has Delegation Authority.
 
C. At least annually, the Office of the Controller will require each school, college, institute, operating unit, Global Network University site, and University Affiliate to certify that its master list of Approval Authority and Delegation Authority is complete and accurate.
 
D. The Office of the CFO will annually review delegations of Approval Authority and Delegation Authority in effect in connection with budget meetings.
 
_________________________________________________________
                                      EXHIBIT I
       UNIVERSITY AFFILIATES AND DIVISIONS EXEMPTED FROM POLICY

The following University Affiliates and divisions have been exempted from this policy by the CFO based on the CFO agreeing that such exemption is appropriate, including that the CFO is satisfied that the policies and/or procedures governing Approval Authority of any such University Affiliate or division are prudent:
 
International Art Fund;
La Pietra Corporation;
New York University in Abu Dhabi Corporation;
New York University in France;
New York University School of Law Foundation;
Niu Da Education Information Consulting (Shanghai) Co. Ltd.;
NYU in London;
NYU Langone Medical Center (or its component parts: NYU Hospitals Center, its affiliates, and New York University School of Medicine);
NYU in Tel Aviv, Ltd. (PBC);
NYU Shanghai; and
NYU Tisch School of the Arts, Asia, Ltd.

This listing was last updated on: January 1, 2014

Click Here for Table A- APPROVAL AUTHORIZATION LEVELS (Note 1)
 
 
Notes
  1. Dates of official enactment and amendments: 09/01/13
  2. History: Supersedes NYU Signature Authority Policy dated October 2012
  3. Cross References: blank

About This Policy

Effective Date: September 01, 2013
Supersedes: Policy dated October 10, 2012
Issuing Authority: Board of Trustees
Responsible Officer: Chief Financial Officer; General Counsel; Treasurer

“Approval Authority” means the authority to approve a Transaction, including sending any written communication or signing any document, instrument, or agreement relating to such Transaction that may be binding on NYU.

“Authorized” means, with respect to a Transaction, that a person has been granted the authority in accordance with this policy to approve such Transaction (and sign the related documents, instruments or agreements, where applicable) and obligate NYU in respect of the amount in question (where applicable), and to charge the relevant NYU cost center for such amount.

“Delegation Authority” means the authority to grant Approval Authority for a Transaction to another person.

“NYU” means the University and all University Affiliates, and includes the schools, colleges, institutes, and other administrative units of the University, all University Affiliates, and the Global Network University sites, as such terms are defined in the Policy on Policies.

“Transaction” means a commitment by NYU involving the exchange of money or property, an obligation to perform services requiring payment or use of NYU resources, or the assumption of a liability (e.g., indebtedness) or potential liability, currently or in the future (e.g., NYU agreeing to indemnify another party).

“University Affiliate” means each of those entities controlled, directly or indirectly, by the University through (a) ownership of more than 50% of the ownership interests in the entity or (b) the power to appoint or elect a majority of the entity’s governing body (e.g., directors or trustees).

“University Community” means all NYU faculty, including visiting faculty; researchers, including persons participating in research at or under the auspices of NYU; employees; professional staff, including medical, dental, and nursing staff; volunteers; fellows, trainees, and post-doctoral appointees; students; and consultants, vendors, and contractors. 

Bank and Securities Account Policy

Business Expenses Policy

Combined Endowment Fund Investment Policy

Expense Reimbursement Policy

Petty Cash Funds Policy

Purchasing Policies and Procedures Manual

Staff Pension Plan and Retiree Health and Welfare Plan

Investment Policy

Working Capital Fund Investment Policy

NYU Footer