Tom West is an investment banker.
A very successful one, apparently, for he is on a first-name basis with a considerable number of powerful people in both the financial and the governmental worlds. Speaking more than a couple of languages with expertise, West is able to talk their language literally and figuratively and if there is one clear cut impression he invariably leaves people it is that West is a very intelligent and powerful man himself.
He was not always in that business. His major credentials are summed up rather nicely in one of the recorded adventures when the then American President, asking him to do a job for the nation, explained his qualifications by saying, "Tom, you’re an expert counter-terrorist specialist with the FBI, a highly trained CIA black ops agent, a Naval aviator and an international banker. I have no idea what you do with your all your spare time, but I know you travel extensively all over world, including Russia. You rub shoulders with a number of their high-ranking people, speak their language and a few others fluently."
That comment about the Naval aviator does not quite do justice to the fact that before he got involved with the alphabets, he had served a few years in the U.S. Navy as a jet fighter pilot and had reached the rank of Commander. Even back in civilian life he was part of the Naval Reserve. Quite an impressive resume.
His line of work will change rather drastically back to his black ops days as the series progresses. Considering all the very nasty things that happen to America during that time, it is not surprising that West would feel finance to not be as important.