Bank of China received approval from Hong Kong's listing watchdog Thursday to include a large parcel of pre-float shares already sold to strategic investors as part of its proposed US$54.6 billion initial public offering, the South China Morning Post reported. According to listing rules, at least 25% of the issued share capital of companies making new offerings should be held by the public. Strategic investors including a consortium led by Royal Bank of Scotland, the Singapore government investment arm Temasek Holdings, UBS, the Asian Development Bank and the National Social Security Fund, have already secured a combined 20.74% stake in the mainland's second-largest lender. The exchange had questioned whether these shares should be counted in the public float. The listing committee's decision in the affirmative clears the way for a launch next month.