I completely agree, waiting for money for which you are entitled to can be really frustrating!
We’re working on automating the dividend processing as much as possible to ensure dividends are paid on pay date. As mentioned above by Rob, we’ve elected to receive dividend distributions via Crest (the electronic system used for settling shares and cash). Providing there are no reconciliation issues, these should be received and allocated to beneficial holders on pay date.
From an operations perspective, there are some fairly legitimate reasons for delays in dividends posting……
It’s hard to believe but some companies still insist on sending out cheques rather than allowing for some type of electronic transfer. In these cases, a dividend might take a little longer to process as we are at the mercy of the postal service.
There are other factors that can cause delays in payments such as agreeing market claims for unsettled trades over the record date or having to FX a foreign currency into GBP.
Crest depositable interests (foreign stocks with a tradable line in the UK e.g Apple, Verizon, IBM) will nearly always distribute a day late as the payments are paid in the local market first and then sent on to Crest.
2-3 days delay in some cases may not be that unreasonable but I think it’s important that any delays can be justified and are the exception.