The plan didn't work in 2006, when the Russell 1000 Growth Index lagged the market with a 9.07% return. In 2007, however, Calamos' move paid off when that index topped the market with a return of 11.81%.

Now, in a financial environment Calamos says he has never seen in his 40 years in the investment business, the fund is still weighting in favor of large-cap growth. "At this point, it seems like growth is priced like value," he says.

In this shifted landscape, large-cap growth investors are frequently shunning sectors that are usually in favor, such as health care and consumer staples. Technology continues to draw interest, along with consumer cyclicals, particularly those U.S.-based companies with global marketing reach.

With an eye toward valuation, large growth managers are paying a lot of attention to the battered financial sector, where companies such as Charles Schwab, JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs-viewed by some as the most likely to thrive after the sector stabilizes-are appearing on growth holding lists. Raw materials and energy, once seen as core components of the value universe, are also drawing interest from large-cap growth investors looking to get returns on the global economic recovery-whenever that may be.

In a broad sense, growth investors say they are doing what they always do: searching for companies with exceptional growth potential. What have changed, it seems, are the time horizons and earnings expectations.

Jim Tierney, manager of the W.P. Stewart & Co. Growth Fund, says low leverage and positive cash flow are key metrics in the current environment. "We are looking at the highest quality companies-businesses built to perform in any environment," Tierney says.

Schwab is one of the fund's largest holdings. Tierney has steered clear of traditional financial holdings, such as banks and insurance companies. He views Schwab in a different light-as a dominant player that can grow earnings consistently through growth in sales volume.

He also feels increased savings rates will play into Schwab's hand, saying, "There has been a meaningful shift in how consumers save going forward."

Motola also feels Schwab will be one of the "survivors" of the financial meltdown, and he puts Goldman Sachs in that category as well. Both companies, he says, have placed themselves in a strong position without being overleveraged. Goldman Sachs, Motola says, continues to have a "pretty robust and valuable asset management business" that continues to be held in high regard by high-net-worth clients.

Bronzo says he started buying up financial stocks for his own fund in the fourth quarter of 2008. One of these was JP Morgan, which he feels strengthened itself with the acquisition of Bear Stearns without overleveraging itself. That, he says, puts the bank in a strong position as the sector recovers.