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Fifty-six percent of RIAs say growth is their main strategic objective this year, according to a survey released Monday by Facet Wealth, a financial services company.

Yet many advisors serve unprofitable clients because they know these clients still need and deserve financial planning services, Facet Wealth’s chief financial officer Lisa Rapuano said in a statement.

Forty-four percent of survey respondents said they did not enforce their firm’s stated minimums, and 17% had no minimums at all. Not only that, 52% said they had no formal process for segmenting and then transitioning clients who do not meet their minimums.

“At the end of the day, advisors want to do right by their clients, and some who might not be considered ‘ideal’ from a business growth perspective may also be among their earliest and most steadfast relationships,” Rapuano said.

“As our industry trends toward professionalization, a majority of advisors are reluctant to let these clients go or relegate them to inferior tiers of service, even as the same advisors face flatlining growth and loss of their time.”

Canam Research conducted the survey via email invitations in which some 360 U.S.-based financial advisors participated.

Forty-five percent of respondents said time constraints were one of their biggest pain points in managing their practice, while 42% cited growing their book of business.

As to how they allocate their time, advisors in the survey said 40% goes to servicing clients and 24% to portfolio management. More than three in four said they spent 10% to 20% of their time on unprofitable accounts.

In another survey finding, half of advisors said they served more than 75 clients. Only 7% said they managed fewer than 25 clients.

While many RIAs segment their client base to solve their time and growth challenges, 71% of those who do so said they segmented in order to provide clients different tiers of service.

Client segmentation offers RIAs a way forward, but tiered service can sacrifice client experience and brand integrity, according to industry analyst Bob Veres.

“Advisors can maximize their profits when they commit to high-quality services for accounts that fit their profile and develop a process to replace the revenue of non-strategic accounts without sacrificing the high-touch, human service they’ve come to expect,” Veres said in the statement.

“Recent advances in machine learning and productivity-boosting technology have created a way for RIAs to segment their books both profitably and responsibly.”

— Check out The Best Minimum Account Size: Zilch on ThinkAdvisor.