The Treasury Department did not respond to requests for comment.

Her opposition puts her at odds with the White House, which defended Weiss and other nominees as hard-working individuals [who] will help us tackle the important challenge facing America.

Warren was selected on Thursday for a newly created spot in the Senate Democratic leadership as a strategic policy adviser, a position that will include outreach to liberal groups.

Warren is known for castigating Wall Streets close relationship to many in Washington. She worries that Weisss background only furthers that revolving door, her office said.

She also has concerns about his advisory role on tax inversions, a practice that allows companies to pay fewer taxes by relocating their addresses overseas. Weiss serves as the global head of investment banking at Lazard, a financial advisory firm that is technically headquartered in Bermuda and has worked on tax inversion deals.

TED JENKIN: We are just in the swing of most companies beginning the season of open enrollment.  It's that time where most families get the two-week window to consider what benefits they will elect for the upcoming year.  In my experience, most people spend more time planning their family vacation than they do closely analyzing these important benefit decisions.   One of the most common misunderstandings people have about planning their medical insurance needs and minimizing taxes is the difference between a health savings account (HSA) and a flexible spending account (FSA).

While I won't have the opportunity to expand in detail about each of these programs, it is paramount that you understand the highlights.  At their core, both of these accounts have the ability to allow you to put away pretax dollars that can ultimately be used tax-free to pay for qualified medical expenses.  FSAs are often used for dependent care, which is extremely common as well.  FSA contributions are 'use or lose' which means you typically need to use the contributions by yearend or you can lose them. HSA contributions can be carried over from year to year.

HSAs are tied to selecting a high-deductible health insurance plan.  FSAs are not tied to a particular health-insurance plan.  Even though the acronyms are only two letters apart in the alphabet, they continue to be extremely misunderstood by most families who are making changes during open enrollment.  Pay close attention and do your homework on the individual and family limits within these plans because some wise financial planning could save you considerable money on your bottom line.

Ted Jenkin (@tedjenkin) is the co-CEO and founder of oXYGen Financial, a financial advisory firm focused on the X amp; Y generations. He also blogs at

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A local financial firm looked 300 miles away for its latest expansion - and it still landed on Broad Street.

Glen Allen-based Capitol Securities Management, a steadily growing financial advisory brokerage and investment firm, is opening a new office in Red Bank, NJ The location will be the firm's second in the state.

Capitol Securities President Mark Hamby said the company has leased space on Red Bank's Broad Street and looked to that market after luring a financial advisor over from a larger national firm.

Its latest venture into New Jersey marks the company's second new outpost this year. Its first move of 2014 was in January when it opened an office in Wilmington, NC, after nabbing a team of advisors from Merrill Lynch.

Hamby said Red Bank fits Capitol Securities profile: a medium-sized market that's close to larger markets.

"We're looking to the Richmond-sized cities," Hamby said. "It's just so much easier. People are typically easier to work with and things are typically more affordable."

The expansion into Red Bank keeps Capitol Securities on track for its goal of two new markets a year, Hamby said.

Capitol Securities was founded in Washington, DC, and moved its headquarters to Richmond in 2006. Its model is aimed at attracting financial advising talent from larger firms.


Financial analysts are concerned by the continued depreciation of Malawis national currency. The kwacha is trading at about 520 to the dollar, down from 410 in September.

Economists said this largely reflects sustained uncertainty about whether donor aid to one of Africas poorest countries will resume. Many donors had suspended support in the wake of last years Cashgate scandal, in which more than $30 million was looted from government coffers, the British auditing firm Baker Tilly concluded in a report released last month.

Economists also linked the decline to the end of marketing season for the countrys main cash crop, tobacco, which contributes more than 60 percent to Malawi#39;s foreign exchange earnings.

Prominent Malawi economist Thomas Munthali told VOA he was troubled by the rate of decline, saying there was a strong chance of a very high inflation level that would erode the purchasing power. And this would escalate into pressure of workers asking for higher wages.

And at the same time, he said, the industry will be faced with tough times because the interest rates are likely to go up.

Prices are climbing

Prices of some goods and services already have started rising. For example, private traders have increased the price for Malawis main food crop, maize. Recently, the immigration department tripled the cost of processing Malawi passports.

The Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority has attributed its recent 6 percent increase in the price of fuel to the kwachas depreciation.

But Finance Minister Goodall Gondwe told VOA there was no need for Malawians to panic because this is not the first time for the kwacha to fall.

During much of 2012, Gondwe said, there was much faster depreciation than we are experiencing now. Do not forget that. We started from 160 [kwachas to the dollar] to about 460. So this is not new for Malawians themselves.

The kwacha has been unstable since 2012, when the administration of former President Joyce Banda floated the currency to let market forces determine its value.

It is more stable during tobacco marketing season, between March and September, when the country generates a lot of foreign exchange from tobacco sales.

Solutions considered

Gondwe said the government is considering short- and long-term solutions to slow the depreciation.

The short term is that we are looking for resources and we are about to get them to bring into the market to increase the demand for the Kwacha, Gondwe said. In the long term, Malawians will have to work hard, to diversify and produce more products to export. Everybody knows that.

Gondwe denied media reports that the government is planning to revert to fixing the currency to the dollar, as was the case during the late President Bingu Mutharikas administration.

In its latest report, the countrys leading financial advisory firm, Nico Asset Managers, predicted the kwacha will continue to depreciate until February of next year.