As meteoric as their rise to prominence in the definedcontribution world has been, the best may yet be to come fortarget-date fundproviders.

Analysts' numbers vary, but by most accounts, TDFs' aggregatevalue is in the vicinity of $700 billion: Morningstar claims totalassets were about $760 billion at midpoint last year.

Analysts at Cerulli Associates have predicted TDF assets will hit $1.7 trillion by2018, and will account for 90 percent of defined contributionassets.To compare, in 2012 TDFs had only attracted about13 percent of plan assets.

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Nick Thornton

Nick Thornton is a financial writer covering retirement and health care issues for BenefitsPRO and ALM Media. He greatly enjoys learning from the vast minds in the legal, academic, advisory and money management communities when covering the retirement space. He's also written on international marketing trends, financial institution risk management, defense and energy issues, the restaurant industry in New York City, surfing, cigars, rum, travel, and fishing. When not writing, he's pushing into some land or water.