Is your employer obliged to provide a reference?
An employer is generally not obliged to provide a reference to a departing employee, whether the request comes from the employee, the employee’s prospective new employers or any other party.
If you are an “approved person” regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, then an employer is expected to provide an appropriate reference that meets FCA requirements as soon as reasonably practicable.
An employer would also be contractually bound to provide a reference if they have agreed to this in your settlement agreement on the termination of your employment. Usually a draft of the reference would be attached to the actual agreement.