Giant US stockbroker Edward D Jones is planning a massive launch into the IFA market in a bid to become a top 10 broker in the next five years.
The firm is aiming to set up 400 UK branches by 2002 with the first eight due to open in January.
Jones has 4,000 branches in North America. It has a total of $140bn in funds under management and it expects turnover this year to exc eed $1bn.
The UK offices will be one-man high-street operations offering independent advice on share dealing, investment trusts, unit trusts, insurance and pensions.
The firm is keen to recruit IFAs and stockbrokers. IFAs who join the firm will receive a salary in the first year and then will be paid commission based on sales. They will also be paid profitability bonuses. Last year, the average income for the company's US brokers was $120,000.
UK subsidiary Edward Jones managing director Allan Anderson says: "We are offering a different and unique distribution method in the UK as we will provide advice on individual shares as well as advice on products which IFAs specialise in.
"People will be able to get their financial services through one relationship."
But some brokers fear that such a move could put enormous competitive pressures on established IFAs in this country.
Yates Investment and Pension Services director Brian Hallam says: "This is another thorn in our side. Some IFAs have got stockbroker link-ups but a lot of customers do not want to mix the two types of business."