Tiger 21's ultra-high-net worth members increasingly are selecting public equities as their favorite investment option, according to a new survey.

Public equities were named as the favorite investment alternative by 39 percent of Tiger 21's more than 200 members, up from 31 percent in 2011, according to the organization. Tiger 21 members each have at least $10 million in investible assets and a total of $19 billion in assets.

Within the public equities category, 43 percent say individual stock purchases are their favorite investment, a decline from 50 percent last year. Members listing investments in ETFs/index funds grew by 4 percentage points, to 23 percent this year.

For the second year in a row, Apple was named as the most popular individual stock, with SPDR S&P 500 ETF, Berkshire Hathaway, Exxon Mobile and Microsoft Corporation rounding out the top five.

The most favored public equity sectors for investments were, in order of importance, ETF's, financials, energy, healthcare and consumer staples.

"The generally positive stock market performance over the past year may be partly responsible for the increase in the percentage of respondents who said public equities were their favorite investments in the past year," said Michael Sonnenfeldt, Tiger 21 founder and chairman.

Following public equities as the most favored investments, hedge funds were selected by 19 percent of members and private equity by 15 percent, an all-time high for the three years the study has been done and a 5 percentage point jump from last year.

Real estate was selected by 11 percent, who favored commercial property such as shopping centers and office buildings.

Fixed income was the favorite of 8 percent, with municipal bonds being the top pick. Cash and cash equivalent were selected by 4 percent. Commodities fell 4 percentage points to be a favorite of only 3 percent this year.

--Karen DeMasters