Manohar J. Pherwani was a Chairman of the Unit Trust of India for almost a decade until November 1989. He was also the Chairman of the National Housing Bank.
Under his tenure the asset base of the UTI grew from Rs.4.6 billion to almost Rs. 176.5 billion.
He headed the 1991 "Expert Study Group into establishment of new stock exchange" (also known as the M J Pherwani Committee) into stock exchange reform which resulted in the formation of the National Stock Exchange of India (NSE).
He quit as chairman of the NSE and Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services Ltd (IL&FS) in 1992, in the wake of the 1992 securities scam.
While serving as Chairman & Managing Director of the National Housing Bank, Pherwani had exposed the bank to high volumes of re-purchase option (repo) based security trades through Harshad Mehta, a broker who was charged with 72 criminal offenses, in 1992.
Pherwani died on 21 May 1992. The death was reported by the press as due to a heart attack.