The award for least surprising news item of the day goes to Bank of America’s (BoA) decision to sell 13% of its stake in China Construction Bank (CCB). BoA is the second foreign bank to exit one of China’s Big Four lenders, following UBS’s sale of its 1.3% stake in Bank of China last week. UBS made a US$335 million profit on its investment, while BoA is sitting on a paper gain of nearly US$14 billion on its total 19.1% holding in CCB. Other foreign investors are also expected to sell up, and why not? The lock-up periods on their holdings are expiring and they all need the money. And, although the banks refer to these investments as strategic stakes, BoA was never likely to become more than a bit-part player at CCB in terms of influencing operations. What makes all this interesting is that, at the same time, foreign banks are busy setting up brokerage joint ventures in China. Deutsche Bank is the latest to receive approval. Clearly, overseas lenders see more potential in active participation in China’s underdeveloped securities industry than remaining passive investors in the banking sector, where the territory is already carved up.