Former Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) chairman Antony Neoh yesterday dismissed speculation that he was a possible candidate for financial secretary. 'Nobody has contacted me [about the post]. I'm very busy at the moment and will start teaching at Harvard University next year. I don't have time to take up any full-time job,' Mr Neoh said, adding that he was busy with his own business and advisory work with the China Securities Regulatory Commission, the mainland securities watchdog. He said the new financial secretary should be familiar with Hong Kong's economy, the government's operation and 'must love Hong Kong and China'. But he said the post did not necessarily have to be filled by a civil servant as some academics and legislators were also familiar with public administration. Speculation has been rife over who will replace Antony Leung Kam-chung and take on the mammoth task of tackling the budget deficit following his resignation last Wednesday. The list of possible candidates includes former secretary for financial services Rafael Hui Si-yan, Securities and Futures Commission chairman Andrew Sheng, Monetary Authority chief executive Joseph Yam Chi-kwong and former treasury secretary Denise Yu Chung-yee. Business executives such as Airport Authority chairman Victor Fung Kwok-king, DBS Bank (Hong Kong) chairman Frank Wong Kwong-shing and those from the academic sector, including Lingnan University president Edward Chen Kwan-yiu, have also been tipped to take up the post. Speaking at another function, Executive Councillor Tsang Yok-shing, who is chairman of the Democratic Alliance for Betterment of Hong Kong, said the next financial secretary should make a concerted effort to establish a good relationship with civil servants. 'When Mr Leung delivered his first budget speech he aroused discontent among civil servants, thus increasing difficulties for the government's attempts to cut expenditure,' Mr Tsang said. Although he believed there were suitable candidates in both the private sector and the civil service, he said they might reject the post given today's difficult economic environment.