ETFs have grown enormously over the past 20 years, and 401(k) plans have grown over an even longer period of time, and yet the twain have hardly met.

There are some small companies like Invest n Retire that specialize in providing ETF retirement platforms. Yet in a panel discussion of the 900-pound gorillas in the ETF space held at IndexUniverse's InsideETFs Conference, State Street Global Advisors' global head of ETFs, Jim Ross, identified the retirement space as a prime target of future growth.

AdvisorOne asked David Mazza, State Street's head of ETF investment strategy for the Americas, why penetration of the retirement sector has been so low. Part of the reason, he said, was the shared history of 401(k) plans and mutual funds.

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