Coopetition has received increasing attention in the academic literature. Prior research has examined the benefits and risks of coopetition as well as its potential impact on innovation in many different contexts, including large companies and manufacturing industries. Surprisingly, despite the omnipresence of small- and- medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and the growing relevance of service industries, coopetition in these contexts has not yet been widely explored. This study seeks to broaden the present understanding of coopetition by finding an answer to the research question "How do small- and medium-sized trust companies apply coopetition in the Liechtenstein trust industry and how can this strategy facilitate innovation?" As such, the presented work investigates the application of coopetition by small- and medium-sized trust companies operating in the Liechtenstein financial centre. The qualitative expert interviews with major actors in the Liechtenstein trust industry reveal that coopetition is a frequently applied business strategy among Liechtenstein trust companies, members of the Liechtenstein financial centre and international competitors. The trustees' conservative attitude, however, is found to be a typical barrier to coopetition, since it induces trustees to give priority to the protection of their own business. Nevertheless, coopeting partners recognise their ability to derive crucial benefits from their cooperative interactions with rival organisations in terms of possibilities to share resources, costs and know-how. Moreover, coopetition enables coopetitors to innovate their current business models.
Keywords: Coopetition, Service Industry, Financial Industry, Innovation