David Balchin

David Balchin joined Cleveland & Co in May 2022 as its first Chief Operating Officer. David has over 15 years’ experience in operational and delivery roles across a wide-ranging management consulting career, with his last role prior to joining Cleveland & Co as the Global Business Operations & Risk Management Director at Baringa Partners LLP. In his role as COO David is responsible for the day-to-day administrative and operational functions of the firm, enabling the legal team to focus on client delivery and ensuring the operational team provide the full range of services the company requires as it continues to expand.

Dedicated and driven, David is widely recognised as an experienced operational executive, and has a wealth of experience across a number of sectors, leading teams focussed on: core business operations strategy, risk management, HR, finance, and other key business functions. David has a proven track record of successful business-as-usual and project delivery as well as business value enhancement. His focus is on operational management optimisation: building and delivering real world results across both front and back-office functions, supporting businesses to achieve and surpass shareholder and market expectations.As COO, David provides day-to-day leadership of all non-legal functions across Cleveland & Co. He also provides support to Emma as the CEO in the definition and implementation of company strategy. He brings a pragmatic and results-orientated approach to the Cleveland & Co leadership team, ensuring practical focus on achieving both short and long-term goals.

When David’s not ensuring that Cleveland & Co continues its journey on improving legal services provision to its clients, he likes nothing more than building complex Lego models (which now take up every square inch of his home office!) and spending time with his wife and young daughter in the great outdoors.


David has a strong track record in operational leadership and delivery across a wide range of Corporate functions. He has significant skills and experience in:

  • Team leadership & development
  • Strategy definition and delivery
  • Programme management
  • Process optimisation
  • Professional Services business development
  • Risk management
  • Facilities management
  • Core HR & Finance operations
  • IT architecture & infrastructure
  • International expansion and business operations
  • Client engagement & stakeholder management
  • Resource staffing & optimisation
  • Budget management & forecasting


  • Baringa Partners LLP: Global Operations & Risk Management director for a fast-paced 1500 person management consulting business with operational activities across 4 continents and a blue-chip client base.
  • Reckitt Benckiser: Global director for a highly complex multi-programme change portfolio. Managing and improving project management, programme and corporate governance processes as well as implementing advanced resource, environment, and change management capabilities.
  • Save the Children:Operations SME and programme lead for a full replacement of an operating model for a $2.2bn turnover equivalent NGO. Led the development of internal capability through feasibility, process and procedure development, and deployment to field locations across more than 50 countries.
  • Trafigura: Global Head of Business Analysis for a $200bn+ turnover commodities trader with complex financial and physical operations across the commodities supply chain and in multiple complex legal and financial jurisdictions.
  • Baringa Partners LLP: Wide range of complex management consulting projects delivering in excess of £500m of realisable commercial benefit, including roles in programme management, change management, systems implementation, M&A, and strategy development.


  • PRINCE II Practitioner
  • PMP Certification
  • BCS Requirements Engineering
  • BCS Business Analysis
  • Bachelors degree in Politics & American Studies (University of Nottingham)

Leela Fair has grown with Cleveland & Co and quickly proven her capabilities becoming the Acting Managing Director of our UK office in early 2021. She oversees business development, client relationships, and all staff needs as well as supports the CEO on the day to day working of the business.  

Leela has risen to senior management very quickly through her drive and invaluable experience in financial service. Leela’s experience covers private equity, traditional fund, and hedge fund sectors and includes advising and assisting a range of services providers within the asset management industry including investment managers, investment advisors, administrators, brokers, custodians, introducers, regulatory platforms, pension funds and placement agents.

Leela is a determined and ambitious professional who is adept at working in varied and fast paced environments. Leela’s motivation, versatility and unflappable attitude, make her a highly valued member of the Cleveland & Co team. When she’s not inspiring us running the day to day at Cleveland & Co, you can find Leela reading through a cookbook and planning the weekend menu!


  • Leela has developed a variety of skills namely in relation to:
    • ACD Arrangements
    • Administration
    • AIFs
    • Appointed Representative Arrangements
    • Authorised funds (ACS, AUT, ICVC, UCITS and NURS)
    • Broker Agreements
    • CISs
    • Commercial Contracts
    • Custody
    • Distribution
    • EIS/SEIS
    • Hedge Funds
    • HR & Employment
    • Institutional
    • Intra-group Agreements
    • Introducer Arrangements
    • Listed Investment Companies
    • Pooled Pension Funds
    • Private Equity
    • Real Estate
    • Regulation, including: Capital Adequacy, Competition Law, FCA Rules & Guidance, GDPR, MiFID II, Prudential Requirements, SM&CR.
    • Research Payments
    • Service Agreements
    • Sponsorship Arrangements

    Qualified in England & Wales


  • Border to Coast Pensions Partnership Limited: reviewing all documentation related to prospective investments (private equity, infrastructure, private debt, alternatives), managing side letter and MFN processes.
  • Capital Group: carrying out an impact assessment, advising and updating legal documentation for MiFID II.
  • Commodities World Capital: preparation of marketing documents, negotiation of all legal documents entered into between service providers and the AIFM, and liaising with Cayman and US counsel in relation to the launch of their Cayman fund.
  • Fullerton –creating a global travelling portfolio policy and an assessment report advising on the impact of Capital Adequacy Requirements.
  • Hambro Perks: reviewing investment documents for EIS/SEIS investments.
  • Investment Association – reviewing member guidance, advising on regulatory issues such as MiFID II, Benchmark Regulations and the Market Abuse Regulations, and assisting with the launch of the IA’s Velocity FinTech Accelerator.
  • J Stern: carrying out an impact assessment on research arrangements, advising and updating legal documentation for MiFID II and GDPR.
  • Kin Capital: assisting with reviewing and updating appointed representative agreements, custodian terms of business and subscription and shareholder’s agreements.
  • Mainspring: managing all custody agreement negotiations with their EIS/SEIS and private equity clients.

Professional Appointments/Memberships

  • Association of Women Solicitors
  • Mentor, Amos Bursary Programme


  • The Professional Skills Courses (Kaplan Altior, London)
  • Litigation Programme (Kaplan Altior, London)
  • Legal Practice Course (BPP Law School, London)
  • Bachelor’s degree in Law (King’s College University, London)


  • English
  • French
  • Conversational Italian


We'd love to hear from you, please get in touch with us if you have any questions.


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