Tie-in special promotions, no matter how gimmicky, can help a mutual fund company sell. That is the conclusion of a recent report on promotions, or "affinity programs," from kasina, an electronic-commerce consulting firm in New York that specializes in mutual funds.

How beneficial a tie-in promotion, such as with a hotel or a credit card, can be depends on the program, said Lee Kowarski, a consultant with kasina.

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