The Edward Jones model of one broker per office will continue to spread across the states and around the world. The company intends to double the number of U.S. offices in the next four years, bringing the total to 10,000 by 2003, according to a February announcement by the firm.

Edward Jones also says it will expand its international presence. The firm plans to open another 115 offices in Canada and add 60 to its fledgling United Kingdom operations by year-end.

According to Jones chief John Bachmann, the expansion plans do not represent a quickened pace. The firms commitment to growth has been constant for almost two decades, he says, adding that the goals are noticeable simply because of the sheer numbers involved.

Any firm that is talking about 10,000 offices is bound to garner some attention, Bachmann says. The growth plans do not signal the firm is looking to go public, to buy into a larger group or to be acquired, he says.

Although the Jones model of offering what many call plain vanilla products to plain folks has served it well, the journey across the Atlantic may put the company in relatively uncharted waters, observers say. Only a very small percentage of the British population invests in the stock market and of that group, most have long-term relationships with old-line, private firms.